This post is sponsored by Lexington Law.
I mention negotiating so frequently in my financial pieces but how do you actually go about doing that?
In today’s post, we’re diving deep into a few of my most-used negotiating tactics and several scripts I’ve had success with when it comes to negotiating. From talking to a customer service representative at a hotel or your cell phone company to your landlord, this is how to come prepared to ask for a lower price or a better deal.
What you’re able to do with the money you save can help you pay off your debt, improve your credit score, and your financial life — and it all happens with one conversation at a time.
The debt you have plays a large role in your credit score because of how it impacts your utilization ratio. This ratio is calculated by dividing the amount of credit available to you by the amount of credit you’re using. You can learn more about how this number works right here. The less you’re using of your available credit, the better.
Reducing your debt to credit ratio as much as possible, or in the very least to below 30% of your total available credit, can help improve your credit score. That can feel hard to do when your budget is tight already. One way I suggest to make more money is to find “hidden income” in your expenses. These negotiating tactics will help you do just that!
If you’ve checked your credit report and are have found unfair negative items, I suggest reaching out to the credit repair consultants at Lexington Law. Your credit is extremely important and isn’t something you should put off improving. If you have extra money in your budget from negotiating a fixed expense, that’s extra you can put towards debt repayment or towards your emergency fund (so that you won’t have to dip into emergency lines of credit if need be in the future).
Related: How To Budget To Improve Your Credit
5 Negotiating Tactics and Scripts To Save You Money
1. Just ask.
Sometimes just asking “Is this the best you can do?” can get you a better deal. If you don’t ask, then how can you know if they would offer you something better or not?
You’d probably be surprised at how many people don’t ask if there’s wiggle room in the price. And sometimes there isn’t, but many times there just might be. And of course, it’s worth asking if there’s anything they can do.
Other ways to phrase this are:
- “Is there another deal or package that would suit my needs better?”
- “Do you offer any loyalty or membership discounts?”
- “Is this the best deal available?”
- “Could you do $X price?” (If doing this one, ask for 10-20% lower than what you actually want to pay because they will likely come back with a number that is 15-25% higher than your target price.)
Of course when it comes to negotiating, you have to realize that you will still have to pay for goods and services but there is wiggle room for the final cost.
For example, my brother was able to get a reduced price on his storage unit but going to a locally owned place and asking if they could do $40 less per month than the advertised price. They agreed in exchange for a longer lease. Everything worked out for both parties.
2. Quote and compare.
Another way to negotiate is to pit one pricing option against another.
For example, take the plan you have now for your car insurance. Go to other car insurance company website and get a couple of quotes for the same coverage you have now.
Does another company have a significantly better deal for the same coverage? If so, you can take this to your current provider and ask them to match the rate. If they are unable to, you now have a better option to consider when it comes to your insurance plan.
If they can’t match the deal completely, see if they can give you a few extra bonuses and a small discount to get you to stay.
I was able to do this with a friend’s car insurance. She was paying almost $300/month for her plan. In an effort to help reduce her fixed expenses every month, I got a couple of quotes from other companies. One company was able to match the coverage for $80/month. No, that’s not a typo. She literally saved $220/month just by doing a comparison and having a conversation. She ended up leaving the first company in favor of the second and hasn’t regretted it a bit.
3. It might pay to wait.
This is a negotiating tactic I discovered accidentally.
My landlord sent out a rent renewal notice. I had a couple of weeks to sign it and return it but I kept forgetting to do it (I know, I know). But then a few days before the deadline, they sent out another notice that had reduced the rental increase by half. Just by waiting I saved over $50 a month. This has happened to me twice now so I know it wasn’t just a fluke.
Will this happen all the time? Probably not. But there’s really no harm in waiting if you can. Don’t let the deadline pass, though. If it’s a day or two before the time to sign is approaching, reach out and ask if they can offer you a lower price if they haven’t already. They may or may not be able to but you aren’t losing anything by practicing patience and just asking.
4. Consider what else is valuable to you.
Maybe your internet provider isn’t able to reduce your internet bill but they’re willing to throw in TV for free. Perhaps you could get extra insurance coverage at a reduced price. You could even get a discount for merging plans or adding additional lines on your cell phone plan.
There are a lot of options when it comes to the final price you pay for things. And as a customer, you have the ability to ask for things.
I’ve had my landlord offer a longer lease at my current (and lower) rent because I asked. You might be able to get delivery fees waived on items or a discount if you’re willing to wait longer for delivery. At hotels, you could ask for free breakfast to be included or call and ask for a lower rate. Don’t forget to also quote and compare when it comes to these things too. It gives you more leverage in a negotiation.
When bringing it up say something like,
“Hi [name], I’m calling about [X]. I saw on the website the deal listed is [X price for [details]]. Is this the best deal available?”
You’d be surprised at how far that simple sentence can get you. If they offer you a deal you’re happy with, feel free to accept.
If you think you can do better, ask them if they can throw in something else like breakfast or extra data. Once they respond, you can say something like this to continue the negotiation,
“Hm, is there anyway we could bring that down a little more? I would love to [be a customer/stay here] if possible. I saw at [X place or X company] they offer [X service/stay/benefit] for the same price. Is that something you do too?”
If they say yes, then great! If not, that brings me to my final point…
5. Be willing to walk away.
Ultimately you have to be willing to walk away if you aren’t happy with the service or goods you’ll be receiving for you money.
You do have the ability to negotiate a better deal but negotiations are a two-way street. The vendor/service provider also needs to be happy with the contract with you as a customer. If you don’t feel like the deal is fair then you need to be willing to walk away from the conversation.
Knowing that you will leave could get you the final offer you’ve been hoping for, but if not, you need to be happy with leaving.
Like I said before, negotiations are two-way streets. It’s a give and a take for both sides. And both parties need to be happy with the final outcome.
There is usually room for negotiating but it’s up to you as the paying customer to bring it up. Going in prepared can help you feel better about standing your ground. Use these negotiating tactics and scripts to help you reduce a bill this month! You’ve got this.