Is now the time to trim that whopping cable bill?
Looking for a strategy to talk your way to lower cable or satellite bills? Just ask, says John Ogilvie, a professor of management at the University of Hartford.
If you notice that Rogers is offering a special promotion to new subscribers, for instance, see if you, as a loyal customer, can get the same deal.
Find out what new competitors like Netflix and Hulu (still blocked here for the moment) are charging and get your provider to justify its prices. Media companies here are feeling threatened and want these new entrants to be subject to the same rules as Canada-based companies.
According to Ogilvie, assuming you’re actually more willing to walk away from a deal than the guy across the table, these are three tactics to consider before entering into any negotiation:
Set an anchor: Know the price point you're aiming for. This way, all discussions can center on that point. Be sure that your anchor is reasonable, though. Asking to pay $25 for cable service that normally costs $100 is just a waste of time.
Throw in a nibble: If you're close to reaching an agreement with your provider, ask them to throw in one last thing. Maybe that's a reduced price on a PVR or an additional premium channel. Most adversaries, if they think that a deal is at hand, won’t walk away over one small item.
Finish with a crunch: This is the demand. Something along the lines of "You've got to do better!" Certainly not the best tactic right out of the gate, but if you've got a stubborn agent on the line, this may work best in the end. Still getting nowhere? Ask to speak to someone else, specifically a supervisor, and be prepared to start all over again.
Have you been able to trim your cable bill recently? What did you learn in the process?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
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