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The Great “Top Sales Techniques” Hunt: What tricks are used to sell to us?

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The Great “Top Sales Techniques” Hunt: What tricks are used to sell to us?

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Shop but don't drop
101 replies 58.5K views
MSE_MartinMSE_Martin Money Saving ExpertMoneySaving Expert
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Shop but don't drop
What's it about?

Pre-univeristy I was a salesman; it taught me more about MoneySaving than anything else. Sales techniques are designed to make people part with their cash; so if you were (or are) on the sales game, please dish the dirt on the best sales tricks - that way MoneySavers can tool up with the info to keep their cash.

What to do

Click reply to explain the sales technique used.

To keep it simple, use the easy format below. Feel free to reply more than once - as many as you can would be superb :)

The Technique in a Nutshell:
What you were selling:
More Details:
How successful was it:
How should MoneySavers counter it:

My couple of starters...

Number 1

The Technique in a Nutshell: Just being complimentary to get them on your side.

What you were selling: Caravan Awnings.

More Details: Before university, I sold caravan awnings and while I knew little, having asked what caravan people had I always replied “that’s a lovely caravan, two berths at the front isn’t it?”. After all, most caravaners love theirs, and all caravans had two berths at the front.

How successful was it: It was a great one to get into a conversation with people who didn't really want to talk.

How should MoneySavers counter it: Just be aware that the nice salesman is nice for a reason.

Number 2

The Technique in a Nutshell: Flogging add on products after the main sell.

What you were selling: Caravan Awnings.

More Details: This is a technique used with insurance a lot. In my case, after selling an expensive £1,000 awning, once people had relaxed having made the decision you'd say "and you'll need a floor mat/portable TV too". At this point most people just say "yes sure". Some didnt even ask the price as they were satisfied having haggled on the main product. Often this is where the real profit was. Think travel insurance after booking a holiday or loan insurance. These are other "and you'll need products" (if you need either of these, read my cut the cost of Travel Insurance and Loan Insurance articles).

How successful was it: Amazingly, over 50% success rate.

How should MoneySavers counter it: Always consider each product on its own merits. Never get ancillary products without comparing yourself (e.g don't get your mortgage Life Cover from the mortgage lender; it's a big cost but just because it isn't as big as the mortgage it doesn't mean it's not important - read my Life Insurance article to slash this cost).

Martin


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Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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Replies

  • JoJoBJoJoB Forumite
    2.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture
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    Fear factor: eg when I was a vacuum cleaner salesperson for about 5 secs we were encouraged to show potential buyers pictures of bedbugs magnified 1000 times. And then harp on about the links between cotdeath and dust. :eek:

    I hated sales.
    2015 wins: Jan: Leeds Castle tickets; Feb: Kindle Fire, Years supply Ricola March: £50 Sports Direct voucher April: DSLR camera June: £500 Bingo July: £50 co-op voucher
  • saintscouplesaintscouple Forumite
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    I used to work for an off-license chain, and each month we were given a list of wines with the greatest profit margins on.

    The shelf edge labels for these products were then descreetly marked, so when a customer asked for recommendations, we would point them in the direction of these products.

    At the time each store had targets on profitability, which if reached, would result in bonus payments.... hence the managers were very keen for us to sell these products.

    We were also given words to describe wines, of which my favourite which i'll never forget was 'Swashbuckling'!

    And another trick was only to ask 'open' questions, i.e one that the customer couldn't say a 'yes' or 'no' to and would engage you in conversation.
    i.e instead of "Can i help you?", we had to say something like "Hello, What products can i interest you in today?"

    Hasten to add this retailer was sold off many moons ago.
  • mrmajikamrmajika Forumite
    953 posts
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    The Technique in a Nutshell: The 'assumptive' approach. Assuming the customer wants the product until they tell you otherwise.
    What you were selling: PPC on Loans and Credit Cards.
    More Details: You assume that the customer wants and is taking the product. You tell them all the benefits of what they are getting and tell them that you have put this on for them, using phrases such as "I'll pop that one on for you, shall I?" or "I can gladly include that for you no problems, ok?" (FSA guidlines require us to gain consent).
    How successful was it: Around about 30% will take it on cards and 45 -50% on Loans. Although the scare mongering on loans has to be wheeled out on occassion.
    How should MoneySavers counter it: Don't be afraid to say 'No' and stay alert. The young and those who aren't confident on the telephone will take it rather than challenge it. Others will not really listen and agree to anything.
    Whilst my posts do not constitute financial advice, I am always, without fail, 100% right! :D
  • When selling anything involving a monthly payment always try to represent it by breaking down to a weekly equivalent.
    The sales technique reminder is - "An inch is a cinch, but a yard is hard"
  • JoJoBJoJoB Forumite
    2.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture
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    When selling anything involving a monthly payment always try to represent it by breaking down to a weekly equivalent.
    The sales technique reminder is - "An inch is a cinch, but a yard is hard"

    Oh, totally! Our version was to ask "can you afford a cup of coffee a day?" - that's how much the product would equate to. :D
    2015 wins: Jan: Leeds Castle tickets; Feb: Kindle Fire, Years supply Ricola March: £50 Sports Direct voucher April: DSLR camera June: £500 Bingo July: £50 co-op voucher
  • M1key_2M1key_2 Forumite
    2 posts
    The alternative close is a technique used by many sales people, in which they ask alternative question instead of asking you a direct sales question.

    Example

    You are being pitched by a salesperson to buy a new whatever, the sales person instead of asking you a closed sales question “do you want to buy this whatever” to which you might reply no, will ask you a series alternative question that implies that you are going to purchase the whatever, “do you prefer the red or the green whatever” “do you prefer the button or stick controls on your whatever” “would a morning or afternoon delivery of the whatever be best for you” " would you like us to arrange finance or will you pay by credit card"
  • korukoru Forumite
    1.4K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
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    When selling anything involving a monthly payment always try to represent it by breaking down to a weekly equivalent.
    The sales technique reminder is - "An inch is a cinch, but a yard is hard"
    This one really annoys me, as it insults customers' intelligence. I always sarcastically ask if they know what is the cost per second. That is always met by puzzlement, and I explain that the price would seem even cheaper on a "per second" basis.
    koru
  • korukoru Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
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    The Technique in a Nutshell: The big discount for a short period
    What you were selling: This is common for many financial products, like savings and insurance, and for subscription services such as phones and satellite/cable TV.
    More Details: Offering a 10% discount on a £360 per year service/product only reduces it to £324, which is unlikely to sway a customer. However, offer the same £36 discount for the first three months and now you can claim to be offering a 40% discount. You promote the discount in huge letters, then in the small print mention that the full price after three months is £30 per month and there is a minimum 12 month period.
    How successful was it: Judging by how often you see it, many companies think they are fooling us.
    How should MoneySavers counter it: Just like any other "offers", pause to work out what it is really worth. 40% discount for 3 out of 12 months is really a 10% discount.
    koru
  • WomaniserWomaniser Forumite
    31 posts
    One thing to ALWAYS remember is that the salesperson ALWAYS only has his/her interests at heart, ie the sale/commission. They may appear friendly towards you, but they really couldn't care less if you died after doing the deal. A good salesperson will always be honest and have your interests at heart, but when their income is based on a sale, honesty and decency is often put to one side.

    Treat them with the contempt they deserve and don't let them take control.
  • lovefoollovefool Forumite
    8 posts
    The Technique in a Nutshell: Salesperson subtly implies that the lower end products are for inferior customers.
    More Details: The salesperson plays on your desire to be thought of as a high end customer, and your fear of appearing cheap. I.e. "At the lower end of the range we have the bonus model", here the salesperson sneers almost imperceptibly...
    How successful was it: It works very well on me! Some are probably more sensitive to it than others.
    How should MoneySavers counter it: Never be ashamed to go for the cheapest option!
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