This is a guest post from Stephen Ward, who writes at Project Paradox.

Although many frugality experts decry the need for television, my wife and I enjoy it too much to give it up.  That didn’t stop me from getting a better deal, though!  Just the other day, I called up my provider to get my rate reduced.  It took about 15 minutes on the phone to get a rate that was 15% lower.  Here’s how I did it:

I armed myself with a better deal.  Facts are powerful negotiating tools.  My first step was to go online and find a comparable offer by a competitor at a cheaper price.  In my case, I found another cable and high speed internet package deal that was $26.86 cheaper than my current monthly bill.  I made sure to write down the specifics, including the name of the competitor, the product in question, and where I’d seen it.

I called the service cancellation line.  To be honest, I had no desire to go through the hassle of canceling my existing service and signing on with a new provider (whose rates would no doubt end up being higher than advertised).  However, I gave the distinct impression that I was shopping around and considering alternatives.  I was immediately forwarded to the customer retention line.

I was courteous.  Service agreements such as these are business contracts.  I simply explained that I had seen a better offer and wanted the best deal.  I also explained that I was happy with my current service and wanted to give them the opportunity to match the competitor’s price.  All of this is just good business; getting belligerent or making it personal only gets in the way.

I cut through the counterpoints.  The representative to whom I spoke tried to convince me that the competitor’s service was inferior and that they could reduce my price by downgrading me to a lower-tiered product.  I politely affirmed that I was satisfied with the competitor’s offering and didn’t want something of lower quality.  Remember: this person’s job was to satisfy me, but actually giving me a better deal was a last resort.  By indicating that nothing but a price reduction would do the trick, that’s exactly what I got.

I accepted a reasonable resolution.  After the representative agreed to put me on a promotional discount, my monthly bill was reduced by 14.83% for the next six months.  Granted, this didn’t match the competitor’s offer, but it was plenty to make me happy paying for a service I wanted to keep anyway.  I might have been able to get more by continuing to haggle, but failing to compromise is just bad negotiating.

So there you have it — not a bad return on 15 minutes of work!  Remember, a willingness to negotiate a better deal is your first step to getting one, whether you’re talking about the television bill or anything else.

GRS is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate. Find the highest savings interest rates and CD rates from Synchrony Bank, Ally Bank, GE Capital Bank, and more.