How to Bargain Like a Pro
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Are you tired of being robbed by traders and marketers on a regularly basis? Then you need to rev up your negotiation skills like the expert hagglers.

To haggle or bargain at times can be difficult for some and so they end up paying more for cheap or fairly priced items.

I learned how to haggle from my mother in-law. She was a State Security Service (SSS) officer, who retired in the 90’s. She ventured into business afterwards, until she again retired. My mother in-law is never afraid to haggle, she is talented at it. A true gift!

Before my wedding, my mother in-law and I visited the famous Lagos Island market, to shop for some of the items I needed for my introduction. It was August, 2018. But I remember like it was yesterday, because of the lasting impressions I got.

I needed a Jorge (wrapper), so we met a marketer who convinced us into following him to his shop. When we got to the shop, the shop owner received us warmly. We told her what we came for, and immediately she instructed one of her sales girls to show us some of the designs they had in stock so that I could make my choice. I had a particular design in mind, but I couldn’t find the picture on my cell phone. I had to choose a design that was close to what I wanted.

When my mother in law saw that I had made my choice, she asked for the price. The shop owner replied that it was N40,000.

“What?” I yelled.

Well, I thought the Jorge was overly priced and way beyond my budget. Not that the money was coming from my pocket, but I felt that it was outrageous.

This was what my mother in-law did: She cut the price into four. (Most hagglers divide the quoted price by two.) “I would pay N10,000,” she started. The woman who owns the shop refused. She even said that the offer was not up to the cost price at which she bought it. She also claimed she got it for N38,000, and that she was the only seller with that particular design.

I fell for that. But my mother in-law didn’t. She challenged the seller’s assertions. The woman repeated her words. At this point, I wanted her to pay so that we could leave. For one thing, she has the money: she could afford it.

Few minutes into the business of bargaining, my mother in-law offered to pay N12,000. I was getting upset for the shop owner; however, I sat quietly.

Her son–my husband–had told me that his mom is a professional bargainer; she never pays full price for anything. The shop owner who claimed she bought the fabric for N38,000 now said she could pay N20,000. (No seller would tell you the cost price for their goods. Don’t be deceived.) Well, my mother in-law refused. They went back and forth until the woman gave up. The shop owner asked her to pay N13,500. That was when I realized that the act of bargaining wasn’t a big deal. You can be successful at negotiating if you are tactful and patient.

The shop owner eventually accepted the amount my mother in-law was willing to pay. We bought the Jorge for N13,000. Also, we bought head gear and other fabrics from the seller.

This isn’t a fairy tale. My mother in-law was able to haggle because she was bold, tactful, patient, and had mastered the act of negotiating.

This is what I mean:

1. Be Bold

Sorry, if you are a shy person, you won’t succeed in this act. A lot of people fail to negotiate/bargain successfully because they weren’t bold enough. If you are in an open market where the prices are not fixed, don’t be shy to haggle. Most traders inflate the price of goods without mercy on the consumers.

Stand up tall and look straight into the eyes of the seller and bargain. Trust me she will yield to your side if you are confident.

2. Be Tactful

When you haggle, know when to back down or when to give in. If the trader does not reduce the price or gives a discount, act like you have changed your mind. Keep the goods and pretend to take your leave. He will definitely call you if the initial price was not the last he could go. This is when you can now decide to buy that product for the said price. Sometimes it’s better to compare the price before buying. This tip has worked for me for years.

3. Be Patient

Negotiators are very patient. If my mother in-law was the impatient type; always in a hurry, she would have ended up buying that fabric for that amount. So never be in a hurry when you are going out to purchase anything. Devote your time for that purpose. Haggle patiently and watch yourself win.

4. Study the Market

Do your research. First compare the price of goods before buying. If you have an idea of how much a product is sold in the market, you will easily work your way through. Most times it’s not advisable to buy from the first store. Try to find out the price from different stores before making your decision.

Also know when the market is booming with customers. There are days when traders sell fewer goods. If it’s a market you visit frequently, do your shopping on these days. Sellers would persuade you to patronize them instead of the opposite. No one wants to return home empty handed. So, why not use this opportunity to haggle.

5. Master the Act

To be a successful haggler, you have to master the act of negotiating. The above tips have been tried by thousands of people and have worked for them. Be bold, be tactful, be patient and study the market. Mastering these tips, you will definitely conquer the market.

Bonus Tip:

One of my friends shared a tip with me which works for her mother.

She said her mother always dresses simple when going for shopping. This might work for you. I have observed that some sellers hike the price of their goods based on the way you are dressed. I always dress simple when going to the open market, although I must confess that my mother in-law does not obey this rule. She always dresses beautifully. Nevertheless, you might want to give this tip a try.

Read More: How to Haggle by Wikitravel

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