Negotiating, or to be terser, haggling in India is like second nature to her citizens. When you travel to any part of India, one of the most prevalent things that you will notice regardless of the region is that when you’re availing transport, food & water, any form of service, or buying souvenirs, you will notice that people all around you are deeply involved in haggling. We Indians never settle for the first-named price. Even if the price can be reduced by a rupee, we bargain. While this might seem strange to foreign travellers, making deals and getting what you want at the price that you deem is right, is what makes our haggling into a class form of negotiation.
Read on for tips and tricks that would help you get comfortable in negotiating while shopping in India.
Negotiate Like An Indian
What Is Negotiation?
Negotiation is a strategy used where one tries to convince the other why they should get what they are asking for, why their product is the best, why you should give them your time & money, etc. The whole idea of negotiation revolves around convincing the other person with tactful communication skills. We negotiate similar forms of deals, in relationships, with parents, clients, for many things in our day-to-day lives, and sometimes even with ourselves.
Pro Tip: Research the currency rates prior to departure for your destination. Bring Indian Rupees with you or exchange them within the country.
- If the product is labelled with an MRP (Maximum Retail Price) price tag, the prices are fixed and there is no point in bargaining.
- Don’t always haggle to get what you want. Seek a win-win situation. The ideal situation is where you and the other person can mutually agree.
- Don’t feel awkward as it is a part of the game where you are asking for a reasonable price for an unfair amount. Also, it is your hard-earned money, so you have no reason to feel embarrassed.
- Be confident and patient. Don’t be shy/afraid to express your opinion and ask for something that would lower the fee.
- Do not give up easily when negotiating. It’s okay if people say “no” at least three times. You not giving in is crucial to finally get them to say yes.
- Before you walk into a store, check the fares online to get an idea of the price range of the product. But remember, they depend on the quality, quantity, and brand.
- Don’t make it apparent that you are definitely going to buy the product or have too much interest in your desired product. Just ask the price as if you are curious.
- Never make the first offer. This is how Indians operate and will lead it from what is being quoted.
- The crazy look – When the seller tells you the cost, cringe and say “too high”. This does the first trick!
- Know the max you’re willing to pay, and the least you’re willing to accept. When it comes to shopping, there is no point in negotiating for more than 15 minutes as it usually ends up putting you on the lower moral ground as time goes by.
- Ask for half or even a quarter of the price. For instance, ask for Rs.200 for an Rs.500 worth product and Rs.400-600 for an Rs.1000 worth product.
- If the seller knows you’re a tourist, the prices are quoted 5x or even more than 10x times higher. It is advised you tag along with your friend who is familiar with the region or the language. Bargaining works like a charm and you can save more if you know the language. If not, here are some tips to ensure that you don’t look like a tourist in India.
- Be kind, polite, and respectful throughout the entire negotiation process. Bargaining almost never has to be rude. Be mindful of your actions and words while haggling. You are looking for a reasonable fair price, and the merchant is looking for a quick profit. There is no reason for it to get aggravated, and ruin the vibe of your trip.
- It is okay to settle for something in-between, not the quoted and your target price, settling in the reasonable middle ensures fairness for both the parties.
- Knock off to rounded numbers. If the seller says Rs. 430, round off to Rs. 400.
- If the price is discounted, pick an extra item and ask for an extra 5-10% discount on each of the products. Lock those prices and drop the expensive item. It’s an underhanded, and outdated trick but we swear by it to date.
- After a few rounds of haggling, at the appropriate moment ask for the last & the least price that the shopkeeper is willing to offer. By then he knows you are not going to pay what he is asking for, and he would be more inclined to settle for a fair price.
- Be persistent, aloof, and firm. Have a conversation but do not be afraid to walk away or step back as it is well within your rights. You are the buyer. This provides you with a lot of leverage, and control. Ensure to employ it properly.
- If you walk off, some shopkeepers might call you back and offer you a discounted figure. But not all of them!
- When you tell a vendor you can get what you want in the neighbouring shops for less, you’re insulting them. You’ll instantly become unlikable. These things annoy them easily and they say, if he/she offers at a lesser rate, go buy from them! To avoid that, use tact. Say something like, “Wow! That’s a surprisingly high price. My friend recommended this place for this item, mostly because it was affordable here.”
- Never settle for an unfair price. Be firm enough to say that this is what you are willing to pay or else you don’t need.
- Don’t let emotions influence your decision. Merchants might say you are the first customer and that you have to buy. It is up to you to buy or leave. Also, it is best to avoid shops like that, as it’s better if you have the upper hand in the “drama,” if there is to be one.
- If you are buying in bulk or from the manufacturer, you are more likely to get a significant discount. Also, tell them you would buy only one item if the price is that much.
- Try 2-3 similar shops and ask about their rates. Don’t hesitate to go back to the same shop that you visited earlier.
- If the person isn’t willing to give you what you want, then politely say no thank you and leave. On the other hand, if you are happy or settle for a great deal, ask the vendor to keep the change. It’s a friendly token of gratitude.
- If they make an offer that is reasonable but not as low as you were hoping for, then go ahead and buy the product at that price. More often than not, they live on their sales wages.
Tip: Instead of hunting brands try local stores. Even one purchase goes a long way in making a difference to the upliftment of the community.
You only get good with practice. These bargaining tips are to ensure that you have a good start to becoming an Ace at this. Comment below if you have tried any of the above or other crazy ways you convinced a seller that needs a pat on your back! Most of the time, even the most trivial of items purchased after bargaining, have a great story to go with them.
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