4 Tips on How to Negotiate for Anything

You can haggle for a better price on just about any product or service. You just need to know how to approach these conversations.

Concept art showing a person looking at a store and seeing multiple discounts
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Julia Beck, 53, regularly visits the same salon for a blowout of her hair. When the economy tightened, she didn’t want to lose this small luxury but needed a break on the price. She asked the salon: “What if I agreed to get my hair done on a weekly basis. Do you think I could get a better rate?”

The answer: a 20% discount on the price.

Think bigger than negotiating for cars and houses. Beck and consumers like her have discovered that you can negotiate a better price for just about any product or service. “Your cable bill, cellphone bill, credit card interest rate and even your rent or student loan payments, these are things that are often negotiable, especially now,” says Ramit Sethi, the Los Angeles-based author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich.

“Everything is flexible,” says Kwame Christian, director of the American Negotiation Institute and author of Finding Confidence in Conflict: How to Negotiate Anything and Live Your Best Life. He is also a business attorney at Carlile Patchen & Murphy in Columbus, Ohio.

Most people are afraid of haggling and mistakenly think that extroverted, loud personalities are better at talking sellers into a good deal. In fact, anyone can master negotiation skills. It’s not an in-born talent, just learned behavior and a dollop of courage. “The best things in life are on the other side of difficult conversations,” Christian says.

Contributing Writer, -

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is an award-winning journalist, speaker and author of The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever – And What to Do About It. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Fortune, Medium, Mother Jones, The New York Times, Parents, Slate, USA Today, The Washington Post and Working Mother, among others. She's been an EWA Education Reporting Fellow, Fund for Investigative Journalism fellow and Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good. Residencies include the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Ragdale. A Harvard physics graduate, Katherine previously worked as a national correspondent for Newhouse and Bloomberg News, covering everything from financial and media policy to the White House.