Power of Negotiating with your Cable Company: How I got Premium Channels and DVR free for 18 months (savings: >$800)
Negotiating doesn’t need to make you feel queasy and slimy. When you think of negotiating you think of salary negotiation, buying a house, or the dreaded car salesmen tango. All are stressful processes that cause even the most macho to feel uncomfortable. Everything else we pretty much take at face value. So all the non- realtors, car salesmen, HR managers get a free pass and are singing Hallelujah! But hold up! There’s other areas that you can practice and get results with negotiating. Learn tips for negotiating with your cable company as I learned!
Cable/Satellite companies are probably near the top of many people’s “most-hated companies” list. I feel bad for them because they get ripped apart all day everyday. I guess when it is something people use every single day, you have the best chance of making that list i.e. banks, telephone companies, list goes on….
This actually can work towards your advantage and is how I got to work some negotiating magic. Part of your success is going to depend on the salesman’s attitude/mood. Working in a call-center is stressful, and when it comes to cable/satellite, some people can get downright nasty. So, you don’t know who you are getting when you call, so that could affect your outcome.
Don’t worry! As I mention later, you may just need to hang-up, dial again, and speak to somebody else. It happens, and always be prepared to do so.
Keys to Negotiating with your cable company for the Package you want without the crap
Salesmen will try and steer your Negotiation to their “Special of the Month.”
I had a friend who worked in a call-center selling DirecTV to incoming customers. Besides being a stressful environment, SALES come first, commissions come first to the salesman. Trust me, they are going to try and close the deal any which way they are able! This is where you have the upper hand. You are able to direct the conversation, no matter how much they press the “special deal” going on, you can keep control.
It’s never really a “special deal,” it’s usually a standard rate with a little extra something thrown in. You can negotiate based off this deal as well.
Speak with Confidence
Confidence is the key in any negotiation. It doesn’t mean be stubborn, but be sure of your facts and be sure of yourself. This is all about mindset, listening, and thinking before responding.
Prepare yourself mentally, you have control and don’t have to do anything you don’t want(surprisingly many people forget that!). Know there is more than 1 option.
- Listen to everything the salesmen say so to formulate the correct questions in preparation for negotiating packages. Take notes!
- Think before responding! Especially if you are about to sign up, go through the pros and cons and be prepared to address concerns. (That is where they become flexible!).
Ramit Sethi is one of the best teaching negotiating techniques. I’ve picked up great advice from him and relayed some of that to you here at the 7Minute Entrepreneur. For example, Here’s 1 post showing confidence in getting rid of bank fees (We all hate those!). Definitely check out some of his work!
Prepare Yourself with Competitors’ Rates
No salesman likes to hear what the “other guys” have that they don’t. So the key to getting the salesman to get on your terms is to have the competition right in front of you.
When I called Time Warner Cable, I made sure to have DirecTV, Dish, UVerse, all of them in separate windows all in front of me. When they hear you quoting competitor prices, they get defensive immediately. My salesman, Sean, literally took a deep breath and pause before answering. You could tell he’s not used to people pulling this move.
How does it usually work for them?
Someone calls, he answers in a sweet tone with, perhaps, a made-up name. The caller expresses interest in their services and asks about the different packages. Sean then pulls out a pre-written script, which then either decides whether the caller signs up or hangs up. What many don’t know is that they are judged not just on sales but on their conversion rate per call. So each call is worth something, and they will fight for that sale.
Know exactly what you want from your Cable/Satellite Company
My wife and I wanted Premium channels, as we are suckers for “Dexter” on Showtime, but Time Warner Cable only offered 3 months of Premium Channels for Free, which wouldn’t be enough to get our fix. Those channels are overpriced anyway. They also didn’t have NFL Network or the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Backstory: we lived in an apartment and could not get satellite because of apt. rules (but you don’t say that to the salesmen!).
Find how they can Sweeten the Deal before you call
I knew because they didn’t have those benefits, that they would feel they need to make up for it somewhere else when I express my concerns. So you need to go into negotiation knowing what they can do for you before you even pick up the phone. The same can be said for Salary Negotiation (but that’s for another time). It’s all about Preparation!
Negotiate with a Foot out the Door
This goes along with knowing you have options. Sean is going to try and close the deal ASAP so it’s your job to keep it going at your own pace and, if necessary, be prepared to hit the road. This process could take a couple of phone calls, but think about how much money you will save along with the benefits you will receive (not to mention a self-confidence boost).
Always be prepared to abandon the call and tell them you plan on going to another provider. A good salesman will realize that they will need to be more flexible, while others will say “Thanks for calling” and hang-up. Be patient! You will get what you need. Fortunately, for me, it took only 1 call and I got what I needed. For my wife and I, we only had 1 option (unfortunately) so we could only get TWC. I was prepared to hang-up and re-dial the same number and try again. You will not get the same representative so you can start the process fresh and each salesman is different. Remember that!
Have you had success negotiating with cable companies? Comment below with your tips!
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