10 Ways to Bargain Like a Professional Negotiator (i.e. Auntie Level)

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Bargaining professionally is an important skill, and it’s not limited to just aunties. You will need to apply it when you go to wet markets, night markets, or just any kind of markets. And that’s not all.

You will also use it at the workplace because how are you going to ask for better pay or budgets if you can’t bargain like a true professional?

If are facing problems in this area, then this is the article you shouldn’t miss.

1. Don’t look enthusiastic

If the seller knows you really want the item in his stall, you’ve lost. There’s no way you are gonna get what you want at your desired price.

The same goes to when you’re negotiating for something in a formal occasion. If you look like you really want the business deal or budget, then the other negotiator will gain the upper hand. This is because he knows you’ll accept whatever is given because you are hungry for the deal.

In other words, don’t look needy. Look like a boss instead.

2. Shop around, look around

Did something catch your eye? Warning: Don’t dive into it!

Take a walk around the bazaar or market and compare the prices of the same item. After doing your “market research”, haggle away!


If the seller knows you have done your research, chances are he will give you what you want. This is what we call an “informed decision”, eh?

3. Hold your horses

Time waits for no one and the seller knows this idea very well. There are so many people touring the area and by focusing on you alone, he could be losing business.

So be chill and let the seller realize you are not in a hurry. In a bid to close the deal, he may give you what you want at your desired price. Who knows?

4. Find out if bargaining/negotiating is the norm

If bargaining is frowned upon at the place you are at, then no matter how good you are at bargaining, you will not get the item at your favoured price. I mean, are you going to a supermarket and tell the cashier that you’ve a budget?

Same goes for the company you intend to negotiate with. If the company uses a top-down management approach, then your negotiation skills will not come in handy. Don’t waste your time; go back to #2 instead.

5. Create a win-win situation

Which seller would want to hold on to his stocks for a prolonged period? So, try not to buy just one item. Instead, get a few, and bargain away! The seller knows if the prices are favourable, you will get a couple more items and in this way, he hits his goal too.

But of course, you must pretend that you have no intention to buy the second item, and is only buying because prices are low. Yeah, mind games.

6. Do your research

Know friends who just returned from the place you are intending to go? Be sure to ask them about their experience at the bazaars and the prices they got their items for.

This way, you will know whether you are getting ripped off. Alternatively, Google first before checking your wallet. Who knows, your BFF Google might refer you to places where you can shop at lower prices!

This can be done in the workplace too; find out the culture of the company you intend to join and decide if they are open to negotiation. If they aren’t, its time to ask yourself whether they are suitable for you. Or if you’re suitable for them.

7. Shop at the right time

At times, the person attending to you may be a salesman hired by a store owner. He may have been given a quota so if you approach him when the store opens, he is more likely to sell you the item at a discounted price.

Prices of items also begin to drop by the end of the day, so try to go during closing.You might just get what you want since the merchants all want to make a fast deal before packing up.

8. Don’t rush into buying what you saw

Take a walk around the shop and scan through what they have to offer. Keep a poker face on even if you spot something you like. Remember #1?

Once you are ready to bargain, then ask the seller what the price is. Again, don’t be overly enthusiastic. I can’t stress that enough.

9. Learn to walk away

I am not asking you to walk away from a toxic relationship. I am asking you to walk away to “trick” the seller.

If the seller refuses to lower down the price, put down the item and walk slowly to the exit. The seller may run after you agreeing with your price or giving you a greater discount. OR, he may just let you leave.


It’s a bet, but its worth trying because often what can be found in Stall A can be found in Stall B too. So, if you don’t get what you want at the first stall, don’t be disheartened. Try again at the next stall.

Just don’t go back and be needy all over. You’re going to burn a hole in your wallet if you do that.

10. Don’t answer every question posed to you

Common question sellers will ask is, “What is your best price?” or “What’s your budget?” Don’t answer this question because it is a trap. You can trust me on this because I have fallen into this trap countless times.

Let me explain why. After you have stated your price, you will never be able to go below it. Instead, force the seller to state his price, and work on lowering that price.

Remember: if they don’t know a number, they’ll be desperate to come out with one that’s suitable for you…even if your budget is much higher. Try it.

Now that I have imparted my skills to you, go out there and practice it. Remember, bargaining is a skill and you will not learn it overnight. It takes time and practice makes perfect.

A final tip is to be nice and not go overboard with the prices (i.e. be a low-baller). If the merchant senses you are trying to slash his prices or is just fooling around, he will not take you seriously. Just ask anyone who’s selling anything on Carousell.

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Isabelle is an educator and a self-professed foodie. When she is not teaching away in school, she is either out looking for interesting foods, at the gym or reading at home.