How to bargain price

Recommendations for successful ways to bargain on price, from retailers, private dealers, or in a store ? Do you bargain ?

Also, when is it acceptable, and when does it cross a line ?

Mate do it during the middle of the week. Call the store or appear in person. When sales dry up they can cut you a deal. I bought my Roland TD50K2 in the middle of the week and the store worked a package deal where I got Drum hardware at a price I couldn’t refuse. If I didn’t buy it then there would be a horse’s head on my bed


I give discounts to my customers 99% of the time without them asking for it.

Sometimes a customer comes to the till to pay and they’re like: ”Can I have these two for 20€?” Most of the time that really ticks me off, especially as the things they’re trying to bargain cost something like 35€ together. Some people have no class and their attempts to bargain are just plain ugly & offending. I’m always up for some bargaining unless its crass and uncool.

I also have a lot of stock that does not have a price tag on the cover. I bought the shop 18 months ago and the inventory contains products measured in the hundreds of thousands. We haven’t had time to put pricetags on everything yet. The ”funny people” usually come to the till with such an item and ask me: ”This one has no price tag. It must be free then?”

Sometimes I feel like giving a good slap on some of my customers.


I am not aware of “retailer and in-store” bargaining tactics, some retailers can provide 5-10% discounts depending on overhead but there are less tricks than ever, especially under pandemic complexities.

For private dealers, the best thing you can do is understand what the going rate is and demand of a particular item. Understand trends, what the value is in general, and what the value is for you.

The best way to understand seller psychology is to… regularly sell items.

You will get a fine perspective on what is a reasonable offer and how to politely frame them.


Great stories Wolf-Rami ! So i obviously need to add negotiation as a seller, as topic for this thread.

I’ve got to tell you i have the best memories of sellers that spontaneously offer me deals, without me asking,-AND- especially the buyers who saw i was in financial straits and offered me more than i asked.


Well as someone who had a stall at a flea market in NYC for around 15 years and did really well for myself for a while let me chime in even though I was selling vintage fashions and not something like synths. My advice is likely only applicable to private dealers but still… it’s all about approach and attitude, or it was for me. I was happy to give a discount to people who were polite about it but rarely to those who came off aggressive or with a sense of entitlement. If you wish to rely on one key phrase in asking for a discount it would be “can you do any better?” The inverse of this would be “I am willing to pay x dollars for this” which I would immediately shut down.


If that were to happen to me I’d immediately think “scam”. :smiley:

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Personally I just purchased an AR MK1 for 500€ from a seller that noticed that the device has a weak LCD screen. I told him, that I’d have to let the LCD be changed by a professional and got him down from 700€ to 500€ for the unit…
I read some posts about broken LCD screens and knew that I’d just have to take apart some pieces and turn a screw in the interior of the machine. Did that and the LCD works just as good as new…
I think this might already cross a line, but I’m also a really low earning student and couldn’t afford the machine otherwise.
Also I can at least say, that I repaired the machine…


I have a lot of sympathy for people struggling financially. Been there done that. I price my stock in a way that it’s usually the cheapest available in my country and I’m always up for negotiation. Many people’s style of bargaining is just too harsh and that annoys me very easily.

I always pay well for the things we buy from our customers too. And I try to be very very fair. Just a week ago a dude brought me a pile of vinyl and I paid him a fair amount (240€) for them. He was happy with my offer but after he had left with the money, I noticed that one of the records (an italian rare jazz album) was a different one that I had made the offer on and was a lot more valuable than I had estimated. I went through some trouble to get the guys phone number and texted him that he has an additional 30€ store credit at my shop. He was very thankful.

I expect my customers to treat us with the same amount of dignity and respect.


There was a homeless woman at the library, throwing away the libraries $1 headphones, because they broke. I offered her a buck for them, ( i use the TSR plug ). She liked to watch movies for free in the library. It did take some negotiation, as the headphones were already in the trash.

A buck is nothing, but there is also pride too.


Try asking for the “good guy” discount. It was on an episode of This American Life. Apparently it works 15-20% of the time.


That’s really the thing. There needs to be an understanding that this is a main income stream and thus you can’t use the same approach with businesses that you would with individuals who don’t mind losing money on the “deal”.

Self-proclaimed “good guy” or “nice guy” framing makes me feel really uncomfortable, even if 60% of the time, it works every time.


Back in the 90s before barcodes and databases ruined everything, you could always get a discount by paying cash. I would never have suggested that off my own back, so I assume a shop must have extended the offer originally. But once I knew to ask, it always worked. I expect nowadays it’d just make you look like some kind of conspiracy nutcase with a suitcase of fivers under your bed.


A lot of my (older) customers use that too. ”I pay cash, I don’t need a receipt, you don’t have to use the cash register!” And what they mean by that is that they’re giving me a chance to cheat on taxes.

Taxes are what pays for this Finnish welfare state and I like to do everything by the book. I want to pay taxes, I want to give my share to the common good. It’s a deep rooted thing in elderly people to try to cut corners wherever possible.


I’ve seen a couple restaurants offer discounts if paying by cash, usually around 10%, which coincidentally is also right around what the sales tax is here.

Don’t shop owners have to pay something like 2% of every transaction for credit card fees?

If it’s a locally owned shop, I would never bargain. The bit of kit I do buy I always try to do so from the one (really very excellent) synth shop in the city where I live. The owners are really knowledgeable and courteous, and they have a ton of floor models of high-quality instruments and modules all set up. Having that kind of place in the community is worth whatever small premium I might pay them for the little gear I do get. That said, when I lived in a town with no local electronic music store and bought from Sweetwater, I didn’t mind asking if they could “give me a deal”, which seemed like a fair to ask if they had wiggle room on price.


I think another fair way to ask for a discount is to plan to buy multiple things from a seller, and ask, considering that you are buying X, maybe they could give you a deal on Y?


A few thoughts:

  1. If you don’t ask, chances are you won’t get it. And if done politely there’s little harm in doing so. So first rule to self should be — always ask, no matter the response.

  2. Don’t ask yes/no questions, eg l”can you give me a discount?” — such questions are easy to dismiss with a simple no, and that’s that.

  3. Instead ask open questions that require the other side to consider, eg “what discount can you give me on this?” or “what can you do with the price here?”

  4. Never make it just about price — give them the opportunity to meet you differently also…the bigger the space of possibilities, the bigger the possibility that they will be able to meet you. That’s why I like open questions - it also puts the ball in their court, ie “your problem” is more likely to become “their problem” (or replace problem with need/wish). See the next point to help with that further.

  5. Once you asked, shut up. Let the other side process your question. If they answer “sorry can’t do anything” just stand there for a moment and don’t respond…in other words “hold the question”, ie keep the question on them. Obviously be decent still, but this is important to help the other side actually consider your question/engage with the possibilities.

  6. Always be cordial and respectful. People tend to think of a negotiation as a battle of wills — i think that’s a misguided way of looking at it. A negotiation is a fantastic way to build relationship when done in a joyful, lively and genuine way. I always remain an air of playfulness when I engage and while I hold the space / don’t give up easily, I never try to leverage the other side with emotionality or threats (“give it or I walk!” — that sort of stuff is rude).

  7. Remember: no sales person in the world will sell you something if it doesn’t make sense for them. No matter how big the discount, if they do it, they did it cause it worked for them. So remember, when you get a 10% discount and you end up buying, it’s not just you who “won”, both of you “won” because you got a deal done that was beneficial to both of you.

  8. Learn to “lose” with joy. I’ve asked for discounts, ended up not getting them, still bought the thing, and enjoyed it all regardless. And what is more, I tend to get to know the sales person better and build rapport — so the next time I come in, they already know the spiel. And the more I do it, the more positive I can be with it and the more it works out to my advantage in one way or another.

I had a period in my life in my twenties, where I encouraged myself to always ask for a discount, no matter where or what. I did that because I felt so uncomfortable doing it and almost ashamed to do it…but intellectually I knew it’s nothing to be ashamed of…in some cultures it’s even an insult if you DON’T ask for a discount/negotiate.

During that time I really built my confidence, relational skills, emotional discipline AND I got a bunch of great deals in the process as well :slight_smile:

I remember buying a Kawai MP11 at justmusic here in Berlin years ago. Price was 2500€ new, just the digital piano. I had a good chat with the sales person about it, tried a few other ones in the process (even though I knew I wanted the MP11)…eventually I turned to him and said “so what can you do on the price to help me buy it today?” And at first he was like “sorry price is fixed.” And I just stood there, held my question, held my open ears, my concentration and didn’t say anything…so he said again “it’s a new device, price is what it is…I could MAYBE add a stand for it, but that’s it.” So then I went “what kind of stand?” And he’s like “I probably could do a K&M one, they are really good.” So then I asked politely “could you add a bench to this and a set of headphones?” And he went “maybe a bench.” So I was like “ok, so piano + stand + bench…not bad, so how about the price? Anything you can do on that?” By then he was invested in getting the sale so he told me “let me ring you up and see what I can do…if I give you an acceptable price you buy today?” And I told him “if the deal is right i’ll buy it now!” …so then the guy sits down in front of his computer, throws around some numbers and ends up giving me an additional 20% discount on the device! So bench + stand + 500€ off a brand new Kawai MP11…he asked me “how do you feel about that price?” And I was super happy, gave him high five and told him “you got me, I take it!” And he was real happy, I was real happy and the funny thing is: to this day, every time I’m in the piano section of the shop and he’s there he greets me and we have a brief friendly chat.

Ok long story, just wanna say, it can be a beautiful thing to negotiate and make deals :slight_smile:


I have got some great discounts at pawn shops by asking what they could do on the price, got some pretty good bargains on gear.

I’ve even got gc to drop the price on some used items by asking which surprised me, if it’s been sitting for a bit they may be looking for a way to get rid of it

The deepest discounts are locked out on the computer and require a manager to override
I got a somewhat rare find of a reasonably expensive bit of kit at a pretty steep discount after having a chat for a while in the managers office

So don’t hesitate to ask and always be polite and personable, this thread is spot on


I don’t work at a gear shop but I do work at a small, family owned retail business. We set our prices fairly and according to what will keep our business open. We aren’t a flea market, there is no room to haggle. The price is the price.

Edit: I don’t mind if people ask nicely but it isn’t going to happen.

I had a guy try to get a discount recently because “I might make a big purchase in the future.”