An Introvert’s Guide to Haggling

by Emily Guy Birken · 7 comments

Introverts get something of a bum deal. They’re urged to “get out of their shell” when they’re perfectly happy listening to conversations rather than participating. They’re more likely to be told to smile by strangers. And they’ll often lose out on saving money when given the chance to haggle — especially considering the fact that even extroverts find this particular type of social interaction challenging.

But introverts have some decided advantages in negotiations that they can use to become successful hagglers, without feeling overwhelmed.

Here are some ways that introverts can get the most out of haggling while staying (mostly) in their comfort zone:

Do Your Research

While every negotiator ought to spend time researching the appropriate prices and available deals before haggling, extroverts are more likely to attempt to haggle on the fly. Introverts, on the other hand, may actually enjoy this aspect of their negotiation. It gives them the opportunity to really educate themselves on the product they want, and it allows them to step into the store or showroom feeling confident about their knowledge.

In addition, carrying printouts of the information you’ve found will give you valuable evidence of less expensive pricing, as well as give you something to focus on if you feel overwhelmed while talking.

Plan Out What You’ll Say

Extroverts may have trouble believing this, but introverts are well-served by pre-planned “scripts” for any number of social situations. Just as you might plan out what you’ll talk about at that fancy cocktail party, you also want to create a script for how you’ll ask for a discount.

Think through all the possible responses you might receive, and decide what you’ll say and do for each one. If necessary, go ahead and write it down. Thinking it through ahead of time will help to keep you from feeling too flat-footed in the moment.

Carry Cash

Depending on what you’re negotiating for, you may find that you can get farther by offering to pay cash in exchange for a discount. Small businesses prefer cash because, unlike credit cards, they pay no fee to accept it, and unlike checks, they know for sure that it’s good. Also, having the cash available when you walk into the negotiation shows that you’re serious about the purchase.

Be Willing to Walk Away

In some ways, this seems like the part of haggling that introverts will be better at than their extroverted brethren. The real secret to successful negotiation is being willing to walk away. The vendor needs your sale far more than you need to make the purchase — but it’s often easy to fall in love with the purchase and lose sight of the importance of walking away.

For introverts, however, very few items are worth the pain of haggling, so it’s pretty easy to walk away from a deal (since going home, getting into a hot bath, and avoiding people for the rest of the day sounds heavenly anyway). Use your ambivalence about haggling to your advantage by walking away if you feel at all pressured or overwhelmed. That will help the salesperson see they may lose the deal if they don’t meet you in the middle — and they might start offering you exactly what you want.

The Bottom Line

Haggling is a difficult skill to master, and for those of us who are enervated by dealing with people, it can be tough to get the necessary practice. But even introverts can successfully haggle on their purchases. They simply have to work with their strengths and plan around their quirks to get the deals they deserve.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? How do you feel about haggling?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Alex February 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

We’re a funny bunch in the UK. We tend not to haggle because we don’t like to create a fuss, when really we should do it more like out middle eastern friends and refuse to pay the full amount.

My ‘excuse’ is I find myself to be agoraphobic and just want to ‘get the hell out of dodge. The literal translation of agoraphobic from ancient Greek is “fear of the market place”.

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property marbella February 19, 2014 at 2:22 am

The art of haggling is to have time – knowledge – needs; take lots of time from the seller (time costs the employees) he wants to get a deal after a while. Have knowledge of what you’re buying so you can argue and compare with other similar products. And finally, do not talk about how much your needs are of the product but was just a bit interested in it. Now you can get a good price in the end.

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Karik February 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm

I find that because I’m more of an introvert than most people, that I tend to get to the point quicker . I do my “homework” before I buy anything and I do haggle, but not for long if I find that I’m not getting the price and deal of something that I want not what they want. I walk away from people that tell me to smile or give me other unsolicited advice as to how I should be. I’m extremely comfortable in my own skin and actually prefer to be alone more than with people.

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lana February 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I do a little haggling, but not in a way that is offensive. If I see say a purse from a street vendor, I might subtract about $5 – $10 from the price and ask if that is ok for the item. I was just in the EU and bought two scarves and a purse, the vendor offered to knock 5 eu off the price. So I didn’t ask for more.

On the other hand, my spouse will totally low ball a vendor to their dismay. It is embarrassing.

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Jamie V February 24, 2014 at 7:11 am

I am an introvert and during the times that I have haggled, because I never know what to say and I get overwhelmed, I don’t say much of anything and sellers don’t like silence. This usually causes them to lower their price. Once my eyes start wandering (trying to not panic), they take it as a sign to really lower that price! I have been able to talk some down 50%. I’m also very good at walking away because I’m fine with either not getting the item, or the vendor believes the “bluff” and will lower the price even more. I think being an introvert has actually helped rather than hindered me in most cases.

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Alex @ Credit Card XPO February 24, 2014 at 8:36 am

“Walking away” is the one I use the most when I’m trying to the best deal possible. I’d say it works 70% of the time!

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Much Cheaper April 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Great advice. Developing a strategy before you commence the haggling process is essential. It’s also worth remembering that the worst that can happen is you’ll receive a polite “no” in response to your haggling attempts. To take some of the hassle out of haggling we recently launched a free “beat my quote” service for holidays and cruises. It enables you to submit your best price and have travel agents compete against each other to win your booking.

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