Negotiation can save you money, no matter the shopping scenarioDecember 5, 2017 10:46pm

Dec. 05-- CHICAGO-We've all been there-at the register with an item for purchase and wondering, 'Can I get this for even less than advertised?' You may not hesitate to pose the question when buying an appliance, but experts say the art of negotiating for a better price extends to a variety of scenarios.

ART

You've perused galleries/studios for that one piece of art that speaks to you. You've found it, but can you negotiate with the gallery owner/artist for a better deal? Yes, says Victor Armendariz, owner and director of Gallery Victor Armendariz in River North.

"A collector interested in an artist's work always has the choice to ask the dealer if there is any negotiation on the price," he said. "If there is flexibility in pricing we certainly do our best to accommodate the client, either by offering a break on the price or allowing them to pay the artwork out over a couple payments."

Galerie Waterton owner Francois Grossas agrees that the leverage is always on the side of the collector/buyer when it comes to art.

"Art is not an essential thing, right?" he said, and negotiating in this realm "regularly happens." "Of course, it depends on the price of a piece of artwork-if it's affordable (in the $500-$1,000 range), typically there's no discount, no argument," he said. "But if you're talking about several thousand dollars, then yes, buyers typically expect a negotiation on discount or some kind of reduction in price."

CARS

Perhaps the best-known place to negotiate is the car dealership. Tips on how to finesse deals through negotiating/haggling are plentiful, but are they doable and impactful? Yes, says Washington, D.C., resident and Easy Money podcast host Elisabeth Leamy.

Before you go to the dealership, she said, do two things: get outside financing, and reach out to dealerships' internet departments. Car financing is another moving part that complicates negotiations. "After you've negotiated a price for the vehicle, you can see if the dealership's financing is any better than your own," Leamy said.

Internet departments at dealerships can deal with negotiations via phone and email and are often quicker to reveal their best price for a vehicle. "Plus, they frequently strive for volume sales rather than milking each transaction. This can make for a lower-pressure experience," Leamy said.

Other details to remember: No need to talk price when you first get to the dealership and ask for a test drive; talk price after the test drive, and know what to pay. (Researching on Edmunds.com can give you insight into setting your opening offer and your maximum offer.); talk price, not car payment.

And mention your trade-in after the entire deal has been negotiated. "Reason being, if you mention the trade-in at the beginning, just like with financing, it's one more number the dealer can use to make the transaction confusing," she said.

RETAIL

It would appear retail purchases can be negotiated too. In addition to firms that exist to help consumers with their car negotiating (e.g. Carjojo), there are companies to help you haggle with other retailers (e.g. Treatail).

When trying to get more off from the ticketed price, remember loyalty programs. Knitwear retailer Nic + Zoe, for instance, opened a Highland Park location in October and just started its loyalty program, which will include deals and offers.

"We're extremely mindful of the fact that our customer wants value in her product and she wants to feel like she's getting a deal," said Zoe Chatfield-Taylor, Nic+Zoe's merchandising director (and namesake).

A loyalty program coupled with an in-store promotion and a simple query to an employee about matching a competing store's sale could get you a lower price. Don't be afraid to ask for that which is not overtly promoted. Case in point: Lane Bryant gives extra discounts to teachers who show a valid school ID or pay stub during checkout. But again, the ask is part of it.

"As long as you're polite and respectful, you can ask nearly anyone for nearly anything, whether it's for a big purchase or a small purchase," said negotiation consultant Devon Smiley. "You may not get it, but you can have a discussion about it. The customer doesn't always have to be right, but they have a voice."

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