Last updated: Sep 20, 2009
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“Everythings negotiable in America,” even the cost of a haircut, says Michael Soon Lee, author of Black Belt Negotiating. Heres how to haggle (nicely, of course).


Do your homework. If your ultimate goal is to get a discount at the salon you regularly go to, find out who has the power to offer you a deal. Another prenegotiation must: “See how much the service you want costs at other salons, “ Lee says. After all, you need to know what youd have to pay if you went elsewhere.

Point out the positives. “The key to getting what you want is framing your negotiation so the other person sees whats in it for them,” Lee says. In this case, by giving you a discount the salon retains you as a customer, so stress that. You could say: “I love Rozs haircuts, and I spend about $500 a year at this salon. But Im on a tight budget now, and I might have to find a less-expensive salon.”

Never make the first offer. After explaining your situation, begin the negotiation by asking an open-ended question, like “Is there anything you can do?” Then—this is the hard part—just be quiet and wait for an answer. “People tend to babble about the kind of discount they want. Dont do that,” Lee advises. “The other party may offer something even better than what you had in mind!”

Push your luck. If their offer isnt great, ask again—without naming a specific number. “Just say, ‘I was hoping for something better,” Lee advises. Even if the salon says it doesnt discount further, you might end up with free products or a recommendation for a great stylist who charges less than yours.

Be super polite. Regardless of the outcome, “Never threaten or bully,” Lee says. Not only will it end the negotiation, he notes, but also the salon owner might decide its not worth it to keep you as a customer.