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Save Money with NLP Tricks: Don't Ask Don't Get

Do you want to get free business class upgrades, waive your bills, and save money? Sometimes all that is needed is a little bit of strategy.


I have a specific brand of interpersonal skills that I use - I kinda get away with things, a lot. I wanted to outline my analysis framework for when this is applicable (assuming you are not tired, lazy, and have time for it, I do it for sport sometimes).

I just waived my 4-month bill after a 30-minute conversation. I returned from my travels with a +$200 bill without realizing I will be charged and of course, I should pay it because otherwise, the big brother social security system would mark me down for being a bad citizen. It took changing 4 agents and getting to the manager and politely refusing 2 good offers before I negotiated a full waiving for 4 months. Before it was waived 2 employees told me they can't do anything at all as it is a set rate and before waiving everything the manager offered me a $5 waiver for "12 months" (wow thanks).

I have used similar negotiations to upgrade to business class from economy, waive some other bills, get things for free, and lower the price of items. My record for item price down was $300 for a rug from the middle east.

The idea here relies on creating a dumb but charismatic persona that speaks from the heart. You should believe in your case and that YOU are on the righteous side. If you believe in your righteousness the person you talk to will too. You can't go in with an attitude of "I'm tricking someone".

1. Identify room for flexibility or the person who has more power for flexibility. Usually, it is the manager of whatever you are negotiating that you need to charm.

2. Try to get a feel for what is the maximum you can push for, a lot of this relies upon assessing your circumstances, which will come with practice. Like there is no point to do this in a store that has set prices across the franchise but in the case of my phone company they value loyalty which is what I played on leading to the next point.

3. Identify what is valued - for most companies it is loyalty. I said "I actually really enjoyed my sim card with x, this is the only issue I have" which illustrates that I actually did enjoy the company, it was just a deal breaker that they treated me like that in this one particular instance - hence indirectly communicating to them if you solve this one issue you will keep this customer loyal. This might not work on companies that have a high demand and one customer doesn't change much. Companies that value loyalty due to competition and individual store owners are usually nice go-to's.

4. Actively communicate hesitation. It has to feel like a sport for the person to convince you to stay. You can't use words that convey that you are a lost cause to them - it is their job to fight for your acceptance, so play that game. In cases of markets and bazaars like clothing and carpets I use "I'm not sure cause that guy 3 booths from here has the same thing $50 less". Walking in talking to the owner, and walking out also indirectly communicates hesitation. On the waived rug price I walked in and out of the store 4 times at 30-minute intervals to get my discount. Be ready to do the work.

5. Speak from your heart, use I-messages. " I felt tricked when I returned to this bill, I was just so satisfied with the company". Make it feel sincere, appear like one of those people who think with their emotions, and dumb yourself down until a good offer comes around.

6. Understand the type of game you are playing. Is this a zero-sum game, a net gain, or a net loss? Ideally they offer you something they are able to offer without taking losses. It could be inconvenient so you offer something like a tip or you could annoy them to the point where they just want to conclude and ready to give in so you leave them alone. In bargaining a price the person wants to maximize their profit but will give in for less so your job is to show them where the deal breaker is.

7. Ask if you can have it your way. When the soil is warmed up and you’ve wasted enough of the person’s time for it too feel like they invested enough energy and just want to successfully conclude the negotiations, plant a polite question. Sometimes when you don’t know what your roof is and you think you established a good connection with the person you can ask “what can you offer me in this situation?” (Used this for my phone bill). This communicates that you are leaning towards a yes but it’s conditional, and it depends on the offer they give you (aka you are confronting them to do a move). If you don’t like the offer at all, it might still not be the ceiling so keep pushing with a phrase like, “if only the conditions covered a bit more for me I would consider staying”. We already got a leaning answer we are now in the stage where we negotiate how much you are getting after they already leaned in.

8. Add “why” you are asking to do something, people feel more compelled to help if there is a “why” present. This isn’t for all situations, this is for blunt favors like upgrading to business class.
“Is there a chance there would be an empty spot in the business section? It hurts to fly because of a back operation I had”. If someone does ever confront them: why did you upgrade this person they will feel good about themself in defending their decision - I was helping someone. I’ve been an asshole and used stupid why’s before if I was in a hurry. A simple example would be “can I go through (the line) I have a car waiting for me”. That’s totally a me problem and other people have more legitimate reasons but 85% in my experience will let you forward without questioning if you have a “why”.

9. Be very polite and personal, refer to the person by their name. Politeness is always appreciated, sometimes even if it's a risk. A little gift like a tip can be very useful for the overall waived fee. Sometimes if it's virtual sincere appreciation can do. When I was experimenting with getting a seat upgrade on my flight (I checked that the flight was empty in advance), I made small talk with the check-in ladies and figured out what coffee they liked, and later brought them coffee at the plane entrance before it was opened. Consider that a small investment (such as a cup of coffee) is very valuable if you are trying to win an expensive prize (such as an upgraded flight seat). Because of that small gift, some people are more inclined to grant you wish especially it often costs them nothing. You just get over the phantom hurdle of inconvenience.

I brought two ladies on my flight coffee and asked if it was okay if I sit in the business class for the flight, and they ended up letting me fly in the business area because in that case, it didn't cost them anything. No harm in asking.

Just some advice I thought of to start experimenting with cold reading (the "sherlock holmes" skill) and momentarily befriending people. I can write a separate guide on bazaar negotiations that begin with "come on brother" and end up $40 cheaper with a gift on top. This practice has saved me several thousand dollars throughout my life. Today it was 30 minutes that saved me $200 and actually got me an upgrade as well. Don't feel arrogant, keep asking - it's someone's job to give it to you but you won't get it if you don't ask.

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