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.
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?