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Asking for a lower price can work, if you know how

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Allan Stark goes to bat for those who shy away from negotiating. He'll try to strike a deal with anyone -- cellphone provider, car dealership, credit-card issuer, even a physician -- and split the savings 50-50. His top negotiating tips:

Suck it up. "Some people would rather have a root canal than negotiate," Stark says, "but it's easy." All you have to do is ask. And if you're turned down, ask again.

Negotiate over the phone or in person. It's hard to negotiate over the Web because you can't make a personal connection. Pick up the phone.

Be a mirror. If the person on the other end speaks loudly, speak even louder. If he talks softly, talk softly. Stark says people are more comfortable around folks like themselves, so you'll be able to get further with your requests.

Keep it light. "Like sex, humor sells," Stark says. Keep the conversation light, and don't get upset when you're talking to clerks and customer-service reps trained to follow scripts. They'll be more willing to work with you if they feel relaxed.

Know when to fold 'em. "More can get you less," he says. If customer-service reps aren't willing to budge, don't push them until they get hostile.

-- Kiplinger's Personal Finance


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