ORDERING ADVICE 101
First off, I created this thread due to the number of questions being asked about how to get the best deal when the new Alienware M17X R2 / M11X became available. Please know that this advice can be used regardless of who you are ordering from, be it Dell, HP, Asus, ect. My guess is they all work in similar fashion and due to competition are willing to give you a break since you can easily go to another company. I hope we can consolidate this discussion, making it easy for potential customers to not only find the information, but also get a great deal. I hope you find it useful.
Note to international customers
Here is a link to mfractals thread How to order from dell US for non US citizens . Maybe international customers can take advantage of the advice posted below, as well as that which can be found in mfractals thread. Please rep him for his research in putting together the thread if you find it useful.
With the release of new systems and new Alienware fans coming out of the wood work, there are many questions about getting the best deal for your hard earned dollars. I'm writing this to try and help others. Any advice that others have, let me know and I'll add it to the original post with your name on it.
First and foremost. Order by phone. Did I mention ORDER BY PHONE! Use the website to price, but...You got it... order by phone. This gives you the ability it interact with a live sales rep. This is good for a number of reasons. The most important is it gives you the ability to haggle. While Dell sets the prices, they are not in stone. Remember they are trying to make a profit. Do your best to decrease this profit margin Always remember that these sales reps are working on commission. A sale at a lower price is a commission that they would otherwise not have. Here is where your childhood manipulation skills come to play. Run some game on these agents. Good lines include but are not limited to the following
"Well, I almost have enough saved up but I'm about XXX dollars short..." "Hmm, It sounds like a good deal, but I don't think I can afford it at the moment" "I'm on the fence but I need some time to think about it..." "Well the price is good, but the Asus I was looking at is $100's cheaper..." "Aghh, I have to pay for a transmission rebuild, is there anyway you can knock $50 off? I could probably seal the deal then"
You get the idea.
Whatever you can make up, run with it. Think about it like this, when you're at the bar, you have to sell yourself to the ladies, this is no different.
Haggling is probably the most effective way to reduce the price. Understand that the ball is in your court. You have the money they want. Simple manipulation is all that stands in the way of you and your shiny new toy.
Now let's say they can't reduce the price any further. Push for Next Business Day shipping (NBD) or a mouse or a t-shirt or other shiny toys, maybe even a gift card. Throw jokes in the mix, ask them about how their day is going. Open them up.
Thanks to Malignant and flynnaz, for bring this to my attention. It's important that you ask for and attempt to get a U.S. Sales Rep. U.S. Sales reps are generally not kept on as tight a leash as thier outsourced counterparts thus giving them more ability to give you discounts. U.S. Sales reps also have thier own extension and personalized dell email accounts. This helps when dealing with one rep as you can actually contact them or leave them a phone message and not a team. I also have had better luck getting calls back from U.S. reps as well. When dealing with outsourced reps your are rarely going to be able to get back in contact with a specific rep. Dell U.S. Reps are definately your way to go.
If you get a good quote, but you need a few days to think about it, ask the rep to email you the quote. It should be good for 5 days or so. Then when you call back you will have the quote so you can work with the rep who sent it to you, or another rep. Make sure you and the rep have the same understanding of how long the quote is good for.
NBD Shipping/Expedited Order
Next Business Day shipping is probably one of the easiest things to haggle for. If your order becomes delayed, or there is an error along the way causing you trouble, request this. More then likely they will give it to you at no charge. ($70+ Value) If you don't want to push your luck, you can call back later and inquire about your order while it is in the building stages. Let them know you need your computer as soon as possible for work, and often times it can get expedited, and you can get Next Business Day (NBD) shipping again, free of charge.
danthaman let me know that if you emphasize the importance of a timeframe, such as birthday gift, ect, shipping is more likely to be expedited. Be sure to let them know that you really need the product as soon as possible. Can be for work, gift ect. If your kind to the sales rep, chances are better that they are more willing to jump through hoops to make sure your satisfied. Just let them know your in a rush.
Above all, if this doesn't get you quite to where you want, simply end the conversation and call back and try again with another rep. Remember, if you throw enough poo at the wall, eventually some will stick. But remember to be polite, no agent wants to work with anyone with an attitude. If they are great sales agent, ask again for their extension and let them know you're going to recommend them to your friend, friends, coworkers, family and will contact them for your next purchase. Connections go a long way. Build that rapport.
Another helpful tip
Go online to configure your order and save it to your cart if you are logged in under your account. This enables the sales agent to pull up your exact configuration. What you want to do is configure another computer and also have that saved into your cart. When your sales rep pulls up the account on their computer, they may verbally note the other computer. When talking to the representative tell them you can only purchase the one you want at this time, and the other one is going to be purchased in a few weeks, when you get paid. Sales Agents get giddy at the thought of another potential sale, aka another commission. . They may be willing to offer a discount so that you can come back to work with them. Again, all mind games. Build a relationship with your sales rep if you get a good rep. In the future they will be willing to work with you more because they know you will come back to them for your computer needs.
DELL Employee Purchase Program (EPP)
Another way to go is through Dells Employee Purchase Program (EPP). This can generally save you 10% of your purchase cost. Below is the Dell EPP number. This works if you work with a large company who has an agreement with dell. Discounts can vary based on the company. All depends on the company's contract. Check with a Dell EPP sales Rep to see if you qualify. You will be asked for the Membership number of your company, but if you don't know it, just tell them "I don't know the number, but I work for xxx company"
*You also qualify for the EPP if you are a student going to school.
(1) I don't advocate fraudulent use of this privilege.
(2) In some instances family members of those who qualify for EPP also get the discount. So if your father is in the military or works for a company that gets the EPP discount, then you may qualify as well.
(3) If they don't offer the configuration you want on the EPP site, don't sweat it, since your going to order by phone You can have the discount applied to whatever you configure. If the agent says you can't, try again with another agent. Terminate the call and call back. Now it may require patience, but the pay off is worth it. Remember, eye on the prize. Anyone can click buttons on the website and tell you its not there, you don't want those sales agents, as they are not willing to help you out, so don't use them. Remember this person gets some of your money. Don't give your money to someone who doesn't deserve it or earn it. Play hardball.
(4) Thanks to HoshiAdam, I now understand that AAA members also qualify for EPP. So if you ever get stuck waiting on a tow, you can now play WoW
(5) According to mfactal, family members of Boeing get 16% discount for EPP. So if you know someone working in Boeing, your in luck.
From personal experience, when I call EPP, they will ask for the Employer Member Number. I myself am in the Army, but I have no clue what the U.S. Army employee number is. That's exactly what I tell them. I don't know the number, but I'm with the U.S. Army. From there we move on to configuring the computer and the discount is applied. Easy.
Another great way to save money is to use coupon codes. I know Dell sends out coupon codes for $$$ off various purchases. You can use these if you get the codes in your email, from a friend, or from the forum if you can find a nice member willing to share. Below are two places where one can sign up to receive coupon codes and promotional emails from Dell. When you sign up you will automatically be emailed a $50 off code just for signing up. It will be in your inbox within minutes of subscribing. Don't pass this up! This makes this thread worth at least $50 of the bat if you've taken the time to read this far.
Dell Preferred Account (DPA)
Another way to save 3% is to sign up for Dell Preferred Account (DPA). When you sign up for this you receive 3% off if you qualify. I believe qualification is based on your credit check. This is a good easy painless way to save money, but just be sure to pay it off as soon as possible so that you don't get hit with late fees and charges. This can often times cost more than the savings you received at the time of your purchase.
I learned from wohast that if you have no credit history, you may still be able to get savings through DPA. When the rep asks if you'd like to save 3% through DPA, tell them yes. They will run your credit history and it will come back denied. If your savings have not yet stacked up to 20%, the rep is likely to go ahead and give you the 3% savings so they don't lose the sale. Dell was going to give you 3% savings anyway, but now you dont have to use their DPA plan.
Upfront savings... Warranty?
If you want an extended warranty you don't have to purchase all four years up front. You can get the one year warranty, and then later on down the road purchase another year. I strongly recommend getting at least the advanced warranty as the complete care will cover accidental damage. This includes spilling your beer on your laptop because you can't handle that beer bong, or dropping your laptop because that Jennifer Aniston look-a-like just passed by and you tripped.
While AAFES offers some great deals, they are not always the cheapest. My best advice is to price out both. Unfortunately you cannot haggle on the AAFES website. Check the prices of both and then try to beat that price with an EPP sales rep. That AAFES price should be your goal. You can also tell the dell rep that it's that price on the AAFES site for military members. This can give you some leverage to negotiate with a sales rep since they will not get a commission if you order the AAFES.
You can combine any combination of these cost saving methods.
Manipulation can be great fun. Especially when you set a goal, and push them until you achieve the goal. I've gotten through life on my manipulation skills, ordering a laptop is no exception.
Dell Employee Purchase Program Site 1-866-535-3578 Mon.-Sun. 7am - 11pm CST
If you have a great experience with a sales rep, let them know. At the bottom of the email from the sales rep should be the manager's email in charge of the sales rep. Send him an e-mail and let him know that you enjoyed the service of his agent who helped you. This helps to build that relationship between you and the rep, as that word will likely make its way back to the sales rep. It also lets the manager recognize the efforts of the person who helped you. After all, if you enjoyed their service, they are doing something right, and we want to encourage the great service and attitude. Plus it boosts their spirits. Do something nice and pay it forward.