Many of us think of complaining as a bad thing. For the most part, that’s an accurate assessment. Other people don’t want to hear your problems and resent the unsolicited negativity. However, it is important to know when to speak up and how to do so effectively – especially when it comes to dealing with service providers. If you don’t ask for what you want, you can lose out and pay a lot more than is necessary.
Whether you’re shopping for clothes at a boutique, getting your car repaired at a local garage, or negotiating a cable package from a large conglomerate…knowing how to politely question, persist and even insist, can make a huge difference regarding how much money you can save each and every month.
Prepare to Engage:
· Choose your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. However if there’s a large sum of money at stake, or you feel a business is overcharging you repeatedly, speak up.
· Have all bills, receipts and relevant information close at hand. This not only provides proof of purchase, but is also good for referral purposes, during your discussions.
· Research, compare and know what competitors offer. Be ready to provide evidence to back your claims (i.e. copy of an advertisement, website address, etc.).
· Decide what type of compensation you expect prior to any discussions. What’s a fair solution (i.e. future discount, partial rebate, or full credit)? Work toward that goal.
· Keep cool, logical and don’t stress. Never swear, belittle or raise your voice.
· Use friendliness and humour (sparingly) to bring others onside. People tend to help people that they like.
· Questions are less confrontational and yield more information than statements or accusations. Honey attracts more bees than vinegar.
· Leverage past loyalties to the brand, as well as your future commitment to the business.
· If you sense that your kindness is being mistaken for stupidity, calmly and gradually move to a more firm stance. Escalate where necessary.
· Persist and always ask what more they can do for you. Be relentless.
Avoid Future Issues:
· Still no joy? Shop with your feet. If they don’t care about your business, go to a provider that does. It may seem like a hassle on occasion, but it’s well worth it in the end.
· Regularly review prices, rates and offers, wherever you shop. Stay on top of what you’re being charged for services and don’t get complacent. Otherwise, it could cost you.
· If you get stellar service, be sure to comment and provide referrals. Let good businesses know they are appreciated and reward them with your loyalty.
Most of us would rather avoid confrontation. We often find it easier just to let things slide – but that can get expensive. Getting your fair share needn’t be unpleasant. Simply incorporate the tips above and you’ll be amazed at how much money you save.
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