Negotiating in Asia: Don’t get 20% off, get 75% off what you want
Learn how to save up to 75% on goods when you visit Asia. When I stepped into Asia for the first time I was aww struck by the different buildings and the way people dressed. How many motorbikes there are and how no one paid any attention to traffic signals. I was even more amazed the first time I went to buy a coke at a little convenience store and there was no marked price. Huh?. “How much?” I asked, they said 25k rupiah. Without batting an eye, I whipped out the 25k rupiah and was off. A day later I came up to another little store selling the same soda and asked how much? She replied 15k rupiah. I was taken back a bit. In the same town just a few blocks away and the price decreased that drastically? This is when my wife and I started to have some serious discussions on how to negotiate.
On our second day in Bali we went down to the beautiful Seminyak beach for a day of fun in the sun. As soon as we sat down three separate people asked us to buy sarongs, jewelry, food, and who knows what else. We shooed them away for the time being. Then Bridgette and Cierra started to talk about how they wanted a sarong for the beach and temples. 1st error… As soon as the sarong lady came back around, the girls were going through dozens of different sarongs. 2nd error. After picking out their favorite sarong they asked how much? 3rd error. She goes 200k Rupiah ($15usd) for each one. They look at her well can “we do 300k ($22usd) for 2 sarongs?” 4th error. She looks at them like she doesn’t want to do it and says ok I’ll do that on good faith. 5th error. After the lady walks away the girls start to talk about how they felt guilty that they didn’t pay her more because the ladies expression. 6th error. Too bad the lady was actually laughing all the way to the bank.
If you buy anything in Asia on emotion you will end up paying the highest price for that item. If you’re ok buying items at twice the price, go for it. But this post is about saving money on the same exact product. “You’re not in the West any more Dorothy.”
When someone approaches you with items or you go by a shop to buy an item that interest you always ask for the price of all the items in that group. Do not specify exactly which color or model you want. For example, if you see a bracelets you want ask “how much are these bracelets” instead of the exact one you picked out.
If you have picked out exactly what you wanted and don’t have a price yet, a little voice in your head should be saying “I’m about to pay too much”. Once you have the item you want in your hand and negotiating leverage has gone to the seller.
I know you’re thinking how did they get a bad deal when they got 25% off after buying two. In Asia, the rule of thumb is that the person will start at twice the currency number of what they are willing to charge. Instead the girls would have been able to get 2 sarongs for 200k (50% off) or even less.
5th & 6th Error
Time after time I have had Asian locals give me the look like “Aww ok I guess we can do that price” this is a tactic. Remember this is not the first time they have sold an item. They are professionals at this and if they are not making money on the deal they simply will say NO to you. Trust me I have had no said to me a few times. But usually when they say No, as I was walking out the door they would give me the price I wanted.
Didn’t do any research. Little did the girls know that sarongs in Bali sale for $5-7 USD almost anywhere else except for the high end Seminyak Beach. Remember that the local item you want can be bought on almost any street block. If someone is not budding on price, the same place is around the corner with the same goods.
Recent Travel Post’s:
Steps to the best deal in Asia: Up to 75% off.
1.Once you know the item you’re interested in buying instead of picking up the exact item ask in general how much an item like that costs. For example, if you want a shirt ask how much for a large (always say the size) shirt. Don’t ask how much for the specific blue and white Hurley shirt.
2. Once they say a price, look at the shirts again scoping them out and say, “What’s your best price for these?” They may go from 200k rupiah down to 180k rupiah.
3. Here is the tricky part. Never say a price that you are not willing to pay. The sales person will try to talk you into saying a price, but stick to your guns and keep quiet. Instead say “aww to much”. Or “that’s to high of a price”.
4. Start your walk to leave. Once you are about to exit the place the sales person will be right behind you, guaranteed. He might even start to lower the price as you walk to the door. As your about to walk away let him give you one last price. You will notice he has gone down at least 40% by now. Probably in the range of $120-140k.
5. Great now you know where to start with the next guy you talk to about the same item 1 block down the street. Or now you can say your final price that you would like to pay for the item. If they say no then head to the next store. Now you have your price point.
6. Now at the next place you have knowledge of how much you will pay at the first store. Start back at step 1 now. Get this guy/lady to negotiate. If I was buying something over $20 USD I always checked three places that sold the same thing close by one another.
7. Once you have the sales person down around half the price, go get your item. Make sure you have exact change so you can take out what you are willing to pay for on the spot. If the person is down to 100k Rupiah for the same shirt now, tell them you have 80k Rupiah right now. Stand firm. In most cases the sales person will take your money. Congrats you just got 60% off.