As I write this post, it’s late-March. My NCAA championship bracket is actually doing pretty well and I’m glued to my TV every second of every day watching games, highlights, analysis, and predictions of the NCAA tournament.
But afterwards, spring will be in the air, and this Louisville, KY blogger will be focused on things that occur in the great outdoors (golf anyone?).
This means that my (formerly) $100+ a month satellite bill that I wasn’t going to get much use out of is going to be a lot more difficult to pay every month – and having gone through a fair amount of personal finance training in my lifetime, and being raised to be a bit frugal, paying for stuff I don’t use bothers me.
So here’s what I did, and you can do it too.
How to Put a Grand Into Your Pocket Each Year
Considering around 85% of American homes have either cable or satellite, it’s safe to say you do too, and it’s safe to say you’re paying way too much than you could be for it.
Just about two weeks ago, I called up my satellite provider and had a really pleasant conversation with them that saved me quite a bit of money. At that time, my bill was going to be around $110 a month. By the time I was finished, I ended up saving around $900 a year.
So I called them up and had this conversation with them. You can use this script verbatim for the same outcome.
Rep: “Hi, this is (whoever). Thanks for calling (provider). What can I do for you today?”
Me: “Hi, I’m calling to see how I may be able to lower my bill.”
Rep: “Ok sir. I’ll be glad to help you with that. Let me take a look at your account.”
At this point, they’ll take you through some hoops like trying to change your package to a lower one, offering you free channels, and many other things to keep your rate close to what it is now, which is their job and most do pretty well at it.
Don’t bite. Here’s what to do to get past these barriers.
Me: “Thanks for the offer, but I’d really like to save more. What else can you do?”
Rep: “Well sir, I can offer you a $10 a month credit on your bill for the next 6 months.”
A lot of people would bite on this, but believe me, they can do WAY better than this. WAY better.
Me: “I appreciate that, but I’m looking to save quite a bit more than that. I have an offer from (local competitor) that will give me what is basically your introductory rate for the same package I have now. I can easily switch to that. Can you match it?
Rep: “Well I don’t have the authority to do that, but let me transfer you to our disconnect department to see what they can offer.”
Me: “Thanks. I’d really appreciate that. Can you please give my background to the next representative?” (do this so you won’t have to re-explain yourself)
At this point, the rep will transfer you to a department whose primary role is to keep customers with the company, even if they have to do it at extremely margins. They do this because they know it’s far less costly to keep a customer than it is to get new customers – about 10 times actually. It’s actually way cheaper for them to give you a discount than to lose you to a competitor – so don’t feel bad about using this tactic to your advantage.
Here is how the next part of the conversation will probably go.
Rep: “Hi, this is (name). How can I help you?”
Me: “The previous rep should have transferred some notes to you. Can you check those out?”
Rep: “I see you’re looking to save money on your rate.”
Me: “That’s right. I have an offer from (local competitor) at (their introductory rate). What can you do to match this?”
Rep: “Well we can’t match that, but we can come very close. Here is what I can offer you.”
At this point, they’ll give you some nice discounts, but probably not everything they can. Keep pushing.
Me: “That’s pretty good, but (competitor’s) rate is still lower for the same service. If you can’t match that I’ll probably just go with them. They’ve even offered to pay any disconnect fees. How can I cancel?”
This will be the turning point of the conversation to you. This is where you win. The rep will offer you a deeper discount for an longer period. At this point, this is probably all they can do, but feel free to ask for more if you want.
Rep: “I can offer you this, this, and this.”
Me: “Ok, that’d be great. Please apply the offer to my account.”
Let me rep make the changes while you’re on the phone, and before you hang up, get a 100% accurate number of what your bill will be each month and for how long, just to be sure there are no hidden fees being added in. You’ll also know when you need to make this call again (this works every time). Put that date on your calendar.
Rep: Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Me: “Unless you want to help me save more money, I think I’m good.”
Normally by the end of this conversation the rep will apply all of their introductory offers to your account, and possibly even more to make you happy. In my case, I got a $110 a month bill to $35 a month, saving me about $900 a year in literally just 10 minutes.
Why Does This Work Every Time?
You see, in every major market in the country, there is some kind of comparable alternative to the service you’re currently using. I’m not saying you have to switch to that alternative, but its very existence gives you an awesome negotiation advantage with your service provider, whoever that may be.
The most powerful piece of negotiation prowess you can have in your possession is an alternative, or known in the negotiation field as the BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement). What this basically means is if you can’t come to an agreement with the party you are negotiating with (in this case your cable or satellite provider) you can always go with your BATNA (in this case their competitor).
And they know this, very well.
They know their industry is ultra-competitive with consumer bait like introductory rates, contract buyout deals, and other perks like free premium channels and services. It’s just up to you to capitalize on. Use the script above and take action today.
The worst thing they can do is say “No” – follow the script above and I guarantee you that won’t happen.
To Your Success!
PS – Here’s a Downloadable PDF of the script above if you’d like to print it out.