So far in our “The Haggle” mini-series of posts, we’ve covered some really basic haggling techniques. The “can you do any better?” and the “2 for less” will get you pretty far, but there is another technique that can yet be employed. And that technique is the “heart string”. It can work everywhere from garage sales, to flea markets to a Ft. Lauderdale pawn shop.
Now, this won’t work on everyone or for everyone, but you may get some surprising results as a last-ditch effort. Basically, you want to make the seller feel for you a little bit so that they cut you a break. If you have just come off of trying the other two techniques in succession, then this may not work well as it will be apparent that you’re just willing to do or say anything to get a better price. But let’s say you’ve only used one, and no dice. Well, then you can try to “guilt” the person into giving you a break. I don’t mean that you should try to spin and sell some sort of hard luck story, but instead, level with the person. Tell them that you really want the item, but you just don’t have enough. Be as honest as possible and give them your reasons for having your heart set on the item. If you have a kind soul in front of you, you may get somewhere.
Three things can now happen. They may be unmoved and not change the price. Game over then. Or, if they ask you what you can pay for it, then you’re in a crucial position. They are obviously willing to budge a little. If you go too low and they don’t meet you, you’ve just sold them on the idea that the MOST you can pay is the rejected offer. Increasing your offer will cost your story credibility, and if the seller feels you are lying to him/her, they may not give you any price cut at all. If you are willing to pay their price, then the solution is to ask, upon rejection, of what they were thinking they could sell it for. Once you’re told, tell them you need to make a call and go pretend to call someone to ask for a loan. Finally, they may just accept your offer in which case, congratulations! You haggled successfully.