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5 tips to get a better deal through negotiation, from an expert negotiator

Posted at 5:00 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 10:50:41-04

(WXYZ) — There is no doubt that people are feeling the cost of inflation, the pain at the pump, and much more. Last month, the Consumer Price Index rose 7.9% for the 12 months ending in February, the largest 12-month increase since 1982.

While you can't haggle over the cost of gas or groceries, you can negotiate bigger ticket items. I spoke with a professional negotiator to learn five tips on negotiating prices.

Andres Lares is the co-author of "Persuade: The 4-step Process to Influence People and Decisions." He's also a managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations, which has been training people to negotiate for 27 years. Here are his five steps to negotiation:

1 – Build rapport

“The key really is to be positive. So, try to kind of – you know – ‘Is there a way we can do that?’ rather than ‘This is what it’s going to take.’ Or by asking questions, too, is the best way to do it rather than making demands," Lares said.

So, a little small talk as you gather information about the item in question works really well.

Also, don't interrupt the person, keep an open posture, mirror phrases and mannerisms, and smile.

2 – Ask about discounts or incentive programs

You can always ask if there are any discounts or incentives available. You never know if you don't ask.

“At a hotel, [ask for] an upgrade or a free breakfast. They’re already making breakfast hypothetically. They could add a free buffet. Or they could increase or improve your room to the top floor with the view of the water," he said.

If you're a veteran, teacher, first responder, pilot, or senior, there may be discounts or rates designed specifically for you.

3 – Do your research

Yes, you have to do some work.
If you're house hunting, make sure you understand the current market. If you're asking for a raise, research salaries, and know your worth to the company.

"There’s another phrase we like to say which is: ‘Nothing convinces like conviction.’ And so, if you prepare, you feel a lot more confident going in," Lares said.

The more confident you are, the more persuasive you'll be.

4 – Role-play key phrases

Role-playing can be extremely helpful in figuring out what you want to say.

“How do I want to open? What are some key points I want to say? You know, If there’s going to be some objection that you expect to face, how will you overcome those? And then, how will you close?" Lares said.

Practice the night before or the morning of your negotiation. Role-playing out loud can reveal awkward wording or phrases you realize don't work.

5 – Compromise

You can't always get exactly what you want, but you may be able to compromise.

If your landlord is set on raising your rent, ask if you can get free utilities or parking for a year. That provides real value to you that will help your overall budget.

If you're booking a vacation rental, see if you can get a better rate if you, for example, you stay longer. Many vacation rental owners would rather book you longer than have to pay for a cleaning service to come in more frequently.

Once you figured out what the other side really needs or may want, and where they're willing to give, you may be able to strike a deal.

The bottom line, Lares said, is to stay as even-keeled as possible during the negotiation. Don't be confrontational.

Remember, you can't control what the other person will do or say, but you can control yourself.