How to charm your way to a better deal

Ladies, it seems launching a charm offensive really is the better approach to getting what you want in life.

Woman buying a car


Ladies, it seems launching a charm offensive really is the better approach to getting what you want in life.

Research (via The Independent) suggests that women who take a strictly friendly approach to negotiating may not be serving their cause that well. If you want to get better leasing conditions at a car dealership, be as assertive and flirtatious as you can. You may feel silly, but it works.

Now, before you shake your fist in anger at this, note that academics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the London School of Economics, examined female charm to see how, and when, it was effective. After four different experiments researchers determined that being charming makes women appear more powerful.

What is female charm? Independent writer Roger Dobson defines the quality as “a management technique” that combines “warmth, friendliness, and affiliation with flirtation, including playfulness, flattery, and sexiness.”

Flirtation, says lead author Dr. Laura Kray, “conveys assertiveness and power, from someone who is also concerned about satisfying their own interests.” The participants who used charm (on both men and women) in the study reportedly did the following: they maintained eye contact, were animated in their body language, and they smiled and laughed.  

Thrifty gals may be intrigued to learn that assuming a more dynamic, flirtatious persona may translate into getting better consumer deals. The study found that ‘charming women’ enjoyed a 21 percent discount on products.

This doesn’t mean you have to smile coyly the next time you’re in line at the pharmacy in hopes that the cashier will throw a free Kinder egg into your bag (though I’m going to try). It may just mean you need to be more strategic in how you approach your goals in life overall.  

“Feminine charm is a strategic behaviour aimed at making the person you are negotiating with feel good in order to get them to agree to your goals,” says Dr. Kray. And though we doubt we’ll be giving googly eyes to the mechanic, we may just be a little more outgoing the next time we’re in the market for a deal.

Do you think it’s right to ‘flirt’ to get a discount?