Haggling, like bartering, is almost a lost art in the United States. In many countries, haggling is the norm but in the US it is often considered rude. Less so in non-traditional markets like yard sales, farmers markets, and swap meets but even in these venues you will find people very put off if you haggle with them.
That is if you haggle with them the wrong way. Haggling can be fun and playful it can also save you money.
You just need to know how to judge the person you are haggling with. Some people will not come off their prices even a little bit and will feel very offended if you haggle with them. Some are happy to deal with you and feel relieved to let go of their items, even at lower prices, so that they can make some money and get on to their next gig.
If you aren’t a great judge of character, that’s okay, you can still haggle just follow these tips.
- Always smile. A good, genuine smile goes a long way. If you aren’t smiling, they aren’t smiling.
- Introduce yourself by name and get their name. Use their name in conversation casually. People like to hear their own name.
- Make a connection. Talk with them for a bit, find a common thread. Were you in the military? Were they? Do they collect stamps? Do you? Oh, they have a lot of rooster-themed items, you love rooster themed items… etc. Connect and talk small talk for a while. Find something you have in common and chit-chat.
- Don’t dominate their time with the chit chat though. If other customers come along, step aside and let them do business. Look interestedly at their items and tell them to go ahead and help someone else while you keep looking.
- When you are ready to buy, identify the one thing you really want and 2-3 things you also like but could do without that are at a lower price point.
- Make a lower offer for the first item, remember, smile. If they say no, offer to buy 1 or more of the other items too but offer a lower overall price for all of them. This means they move more items at a discounted price instead of just one item at a discounted price.
- They will likely say yes at this point. If not, tell them how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’ll have to think over the purchase. Ask them to remind you when they close and walk away.
- Shop somewhere else for a while and come back a bit before closing. If the items are still there, make your offer for all of the items again. If they still say no, you have to decide if they are worth what the seller is asking.
- If they said yes, ask for a business card or contact information. Especially if they deal in items you are interested in. Making contacts is important for homesteaders. You may not ever call upon them again, but the information will come in handy if you meet another Army veteran who collects rooster-themed paraphernalia.
That’s really all haggling is. The art of making the deal is in connecting with a person and coming to an agreement on a price that you can both be comfortable with. We believe that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. That philosophy works well for us here.
Hopefully, the connection between buyer and seller becomes a long-term one, often-times it doesn’t. Many of our transactions both with customers and sellers have become long-term relationships that have gone both ways. We’ve also had referrals from both customers and sellers to our farm.
What haggling experiences have you had? Share your stories with us.