Talk your way to more savings

07/02/2018   Chani Unger, Marketing Coordinator

Every year, about a week or two into January, I will get a note from my car insurer letting me know my policy is up for renewal. Without fail, this reminder usually comes with a rate hike.

This isn’t a shock – it’s a yearly occurrence after all – and bills and price rises are a pretty standard part of life as you become a “grown up”.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t challenge the status quo every once in a while.

So each year I take up arms and contact my insurer to challenge the price rise they give me. And every year so far, it’s a battle I’ve won.

It isn’t difficult to do – all you have to do is ask. So this year, I challenge you to do the same – it’s time to channel your inner negotiator and save some money!

How do you ask for a better rate?

“Hi there! I’ve just received a letter about my car insurance renewal and I’ve noticed that the price is going up quite a bit. Just wondering if that’s the best rate that I’m entitled to?”

That has been my opening line with my car insurance company for the last few years and I’ve saved up to $9 a month with it.

Surely there’s more to it than that – what else should I know?

Okay, I concede – there is a little more that goes on before I make contact.

The first thing you’ll want to do is work out what you’re willing to pay (acknowledging that whatever you end up paying going forward, after the discount you negotiate, may still be more than what you were paying before the price rise). Once you have this figure in mind, be prepared to negotiate below that figure – you want room to move.

To help you better understand what you’re negotiating, shop around online and see what other providers are offering. If you see a better rate, you have two options; switch providers (but be sure to consider of any terms and conditions of your existing relationship/contract in case there are fees associated with an early termination), or use the better rate as a bargaining chip with your current supplier.

Don’t forget to check out your current supplier’s website as well – you may notice a deal they’re offering new customers or a new package that wasn’t available when you first signed up. I find the line “I see you’re offering x deal to new customers. Can I get in on that as a longstanding, loyal customer?” works well in this context.

Once you have your research done and bargaining chips in hand, it really comes down to making contact and asking for what you want.

Do I have to pick up the phone to get what I want?

Not always.

I’m a classic millennial. If I can avoid talking on the phone with someone, I will. I’m an online chat kind of girl. For me, it isn’t necessarily a time thing – really, it takes just as long to pick up a phone to type a conversation with someone – it’s a small talk thing.

I don’t feel as weird avoiding small talk and getting to the point in a typed conversation. I can be cold, calculating and direct without worrying about how I sound. It’s the perfect place to be the tough negotiator, particularly if you’re not used to those kinds of conversations. You don’t need to get agitated by what someone’s voice sounds like or the tone they use or listen to monotonous hold music. If you need to repeat yourself, you can copy and paste or the next agent can instantly look up what was said in the conversation with the previous one; it ensures you’ll have a written record of what was discussed to draw on when you need it.

That said, online chat facilities aren’t always available, sometimes aren’t run by the department that can help you (sales vs support) or, as is often the case, they’re run by chat bots that may not be able to escalate your request appropriately. That’s when picking up the phone is a necessity (and it’s what I do with my insurance company each year).

At the crux, it’s about what you’re comfortable with. Maybe small talk and building rapport over voice is important in your negotiation tool kit – in that case, a phone call is your best friend. If you’re not confident on the phone, and your voice betrays that, perhaps an online chat facility is for you.

But whatever you do, try to play nice. Remember you’re dealing with people and kindness goes a long way. If you’re not getting your way, ask to speak to someone else before tensions flare and you lose your cool.

What are some of the things you can negotiate your value on?

The sky’s the limit.

So far I’ve successfully negotiated:

  • A reduction in my car insurance
  • A waiver on the monthly account keeping fee charged by my bank (and received a refund for previous fees charged)
  • More data for the same price on my phone plan
  • A 40% reduction in a monthly software subscription that I’ve had for years
  • A lower interest rate on my car loan

If you’re being charged for something, it’s in your best interest to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. And if you do win the battle of fees with your provider why not consider contributing the money you’ve saved into your savings account? If you weren’t going to miss the money paying someone else, you won’t miss not spending it.

What fees are you being charged that can be challenged? Is there a service that you can get more out of, for the same price?

If you need help in reviewing your finances, or perhaps finding a better interest rate on your loan, please contact one of our advisers today!

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