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The Art of Negotiation

Cathy DeWitt Dunn discusses “The Art of Negotiation” with KDFW Fox 4’s Jenny Anchondo.

The Art of Negotiation Interview Transcript:

Jenny Anchondo: Many of us negotiate when we buy a house or buy a car but financial professional Cathy DeWitt Dunn says the negotiations should not end there. Apparently, there’s all kinds of things we should negotiate. But first, Cathy, how should we go about the haggling? How do we do this in a classy and tactful way?

Cathy DeWitt Dunn: First of all, set some time and take a look at what you want to haggle about. When you’re asking people for a special discount or prices or renegotiating your current levels of service, ask a couple of questions and wait. Don’t say anything and let them go first when they’re answering the question. Sometimes silence really helps as well when you’re talking to people.

Jenny: That’s an interview technique. I like that as a negotiating technique.

Cathy: It works fantastically.

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Jenny: Let’s talk about the different things we should haggle on. There are costs associated with things that we think are fixed that truly aren’t. Fist of all you say dry-cleaning.

Cathy: Exactly, with dry cleaning you can go in and talk to your local dry cleaner. It’s really easy for them to negotiate deals maybe a prepaid card, refer your friends and family because they don’t want to lose a customer. It’s really hard to get a customer once you’ve had them.

Jenny: My dry-cleaner will always let me use coupons from another dry-cleaner too. That’s nice too. I just keep bringing in the competitors coupons and keep going to the same place. The other thing is credit bills and this is one that could really save people a lot of money.

Credit Card BillsCathy: A lot of money. The credit card companies want their money back. Right now most of the credit card companies will reduce your rates if you’ve been a good customer. You can also say hey I’ve talked to this other credit card company and here’s their rate will you match it? You’d be really surprised what you could do right now with your current credit card.

Jenny: So, they’d keep you as a customer. It just requires a phone call.

Cathy: Exactly.

Jenny: Okay, that’s simple enough if you’re willing to wait on hold for a few minutes, it could work. The other thing you say is furniture and I found this interesting because this is something people definitely think is a fixed cost.

Cathy: Absolutely and it’s not. Nothing’s fixed by the way. Think with all the different social media outlets if you’re out with furniture and you’re looking to buy something look in the area and see what the competitor is offering. They will usually price match it. Also delivery, how about free delivery? That’s pretty interesting. This past weekend I was able to utilize this and save some money on a purchase myself.

Jenny: I love that. A tip you guys, too, is she took a screen grab to show on her phone. If you have a smartphone and can look it up. It keeps you from going across the street. It keeps you from going to the competitor and they’ll say okay, fine we’ll bring the price down to whatever they’re selling it for.

Cathy: Right, and it helps the salesperson as well, to be able to document the reason why they we’re matching it or having to lower the price.

Jenny: This is another thing my mom taught me. She’s so good about this: phone, internet, and cable. When there is a contract and you know it’s going to be up in six months, she puts up on the calendar and calls and makes sure she’s getting the same rate or an even better rate.

Medical BillsCathy: Even a better rate, exactly. One of the things you can do is call your current provider but also call the competitor and see what they’re offering for new clients and ask if they’ll match it and often they will.

Jenny: I love that. Then finally, medical bills. Explain what you mean by that.

Cathy: If you are private pay, that means if you really don’t have insurance, you can often negotiate that. It’s a really hard thing when you’re in the emergency room trying to negotiate at that point in time. Sometimes if you’ll take a look at your bill, call the hospital or call the clinic or call the facility. They might work with you and reduce it as long as they know they’re going to get their money right away.

Jenny: Okay, sound advice. Cathy DeWitt Dunn, thank you.