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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 26th Feb 08, 11:06 AM
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    MSE Martin
    0 WOW
    The Great “Top Sales Techniques” Hunt: What tricks are used to sell to us?
    • #1
    • 26th Feb 08, 11:06 AM
    0 WOW
    The Great “Top Sales Techniques” Hunt: What tricks are used to sell to us? 26th Feb 08 at 11:06 AM
    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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    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 04-03-2008 at 7:24 PM.
    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.

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Page 1
    • JoJoB
    • By JoJoB 4th Mar 08, 5:21 PM
    • 2,047 Posts
    • 7,904 Thanks
    JoJoB
    • #2
    • 4th Mar 08, 5:21 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Mar 08, 5:21 PM
    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.

    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
    • saintscouple
    • By saintscouple 4th Mar 08, 5:29 PM
    • 3,899 Posts
    • 2,933 Thanks
    saintscouple
    • #3
    • 4th Mar 08, 5:29 PM
    • #3
    • 4th Mar 08, 5:29 PM
    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.
    • mrmajika
    • By mrmajika 4th Mar 08, 9:12 PM
    • 890 Posts
    • 535 Thanks
    mrmajika
    • #4
    • 4th Mar 08, 9:12 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Mar 08, 9:12 PM
    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.
  • Idonotbelieveit
    • #5
    • 5th Mar 08, 6:47 AM
    • #5
    • 5th Mar 08, 6:47 AM
    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"
    • JoJoB
    • By JoJoB 5th Mar 08, 7:11 AM
    • 2,047 Posts
    • 7,904 Thanks
    JoJoB
    • #6
    • 5th Mar 08, 7:11 AM
    • #6
    • 5th Mar 08, 7:11 AM
    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"
    Originally posted by Idonotbelieveit
    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.
    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
    • #7
    • 5th Mar 08, 8:46 AM
    • #7
    • 5th Mar 08, 8:46 AM
    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"
    • koru
    • By koru 5th Mar 08, 8:52 AM
    • 1,348 Posts
    • 680 Thanks
    koru
    • #8
    • 5th Mar 08, 8:52 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Mar 08, 8:52 AM
    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"
    Originally posted by Idonotbelieveit
    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
    • koru
    • By koru 5th Mar 08, 9:11 AM
    • 1,348 Posts
    • 680 Thanks
    koru
    • #9
    • 5th Mar 08, 9:11 AM
    • #9
    • 5th Mar 08, 9:11 AM
    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
    • Womaniser
    • By Womaniser 5th Mar 08, 9:38 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    Womaniser
    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.
    Last edited by Womaniser; 05-03-2008 at 10:17 AM.
  • lovefool
    the sneer
    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!
  • semi-pro-saver
    I used to work for a car insurance company thats "based in" Norwich. and a couple of little tips are:

    1. They ask you a question near the end which sounds uninportant but is one of the factors which can seriously raise the price. They ask if you normally pay monthly or annualy for your car insurance, people who pay monthly are apparently a higher risk so always say you pay annualy and you could save around 15%. At the end of the call you still get the option to pay monthly.

    2. The particular company I worked for although I think all car insurance companies do this is when it comes to your renual time they load extra on to the quote just because your an existing customer. So even if you want to stay with your provider because they offer good cover cancel your policy then just get another quote with them. I guarante that it will be cheaper.
  • tipanglia
    The Salesmans prayer.
    All the previous techniqes involve the sales man saying something this technique involves the salesman saying nothing!

    Technique: The salesman is selling the features and benefits of the product e.g. "This carpet is a lovely shade of blue which would go well with the design of your 3 piece which you mentioned" "So which shade of blue would you like, this one or that one?"

    We then have the salesmans prayer: Said silently to oneself "Dear God, Please help me to keep my big fat mouth shut"

    The reason behind the prayer and the silence is that the salesman is attempting to create a pressure upon the buyer, by asking an open question "this one or that one?" and then staying silent it begs an answer, which is only good manners to answer him - and the answer is going to be one or the other. It takes a strong person to answer the question with another statement other than that which is expected! Finally the one who breaks the silence after the prayer is normally the one who gets what they want!
  • youngmoney
    This thread should be renamed.

    I'd like to point out the importance of using this thread as a guide to making the correct decision about products, NOT about 'beating' salespeople or learning the techniques they use to 'push' products on to you. Or about the 'tricks' they use (which is a negative statement in itself).

    As a face to face independent mortgage adviser, I use some of the techniques you mentioned above such as the being quiet one, the cheaper products are inferior, which one would you like and the assumptive approach when I'm selling PHI (income protection) / Life Insurance / Critical Illness along side a mortgage.

    The reason I use these techniques is two fold. Any salesperson who says they don't use the techniques to make a commission is a liar, HOWEVER it is absolutely ESSENTIAL for most people to take life insurance and PHI when they take a mortgage.

    I've seen many colleagues on the receiving end of abuse because they didn't convince their clients to take life insurance/phi, something serious has happened and the person/families have lost their house. When probed, it appears the reason they didn't take it was that they felt it was not neccessary, or they "didn't want to be sold to".

    Lots of salespeople have to use these techniques because it genuinly IS important that you take the products but because of threads like this, and general consumerism, people (and I am guilty of it myself, so I'm not the holy preacher here) feel that if they are being sold to, or 'pitched', then they are being conned out of money. This simply isn't true.

    Critical Illness is my final example. There are many products out there that ARE cheap and ARE worse value for money. The old adage of you get what you pay for sometimes is true.

    So in summary, when somebody is 'selling' you something, use this thread to cut your way through the blurb, but please focus on the product itself and what it will do for you, rather than focussing on beating the salesman.

    I am a Mortgage Adviser. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice.
  • harryhound
    Our version was to ask "can you afford a cup of coffee a day?" - that's how much the product would equate to.
    Originally posted by JoJoB
    Back in the 1960's this used to be "less than a newspaper per day" or "no more than your daily razor blade" (which made Gillette's fortune - demonstrating the money to be saved by avoiding the use-once-and-throw-away products).

    I love sales, if the product is ethical and its use can really make a difference.
    There are a dozen different factors to sum up in every purchase, of which price is only one.
    It must be uncomfortable for minimally trained sales staff, who do not understand the ins and out of what they are trying to sell. Product knowledge, plus an understanding of the target markets, are the most important factors in enjoying a sales job. In a well organised operation knowledge can be learned painlessly by discussion and competitions and quizzes.
    It only gets nasty if you know the product is a rip off, and you are taking advantage of someone who is so mentally incapacitated they really should not be allowed to sign a credit card application.

    Remember, to that lovely friendly salesperson, who may well be prostituting their integrity to SELL to you, you are just a PUNTER. To you the purchase is special and you only buy whateveritis once a year; they have to sell 10 per hour/day/week/month just to keep their job, let alone make their bonus. They may not remember you at the end of the hour/day/week/month.
    Realise that it is a game, keep smiling and take you time, commerce should be mutual fun.

    My pet hate is the "confusion marketing" in areas like mobile phones, land-lines, utility contracts and of course financial products with 4 sides of small print. Even with the help of "moneysavingexpert"; as a mere PUNTER I still seem to be on what are (no longer?) the best deals

    Harry.

    PS Back in the 1950's "switch selling" was the technique used to flog the previously luxury product called a vacuum cleaner (or "Hoover", now famous for a free flights farce). It was also the beginning of the credit revolution, that took the waiting out of wanting. Hire Purchase (HP) was in its infancy. The goods could always be snatched back until the PUNTER made the final payment.
    Mr Rep. would place adverts in the local paper offering a "reconditioned" vacuum cleaner for say 5 quid (this was in the days when 10 quid a week was a good wage). He would turn up with a battered old trade-in and proceed to bash the three piece suite, thus demonstrating that so much dust really needed a good cleaner.
    Because you the PUNTER had responded to his small ad, he knew that you already had the deposit on a new vacuum and of course these easy payments were only the price of a magazine per week etc. etc. ----- just sign here; job done; you have a brand new shiny status symbol in you home. (It would be a few years before you, the PUNTER, could afford a washing machine with a power mangle).
    You sometimes got service, Mr Rep. would call in and collect the payment and flog you some filter bags, replacement brushes etc.

    Nothing has changed much, its just got much more clever and complicated.:rolleyes:
    Last edited by harryhound; 05-03-2008 at 10:36 AM.
  • harryhound
    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!
    Originally posted by lovefool
    The classic wine waiter trick, where the highest profit might well be on the "second cheapest" offering
    • boltonangel
    • By boltonangel 5th Mar 08, 11:00 AM
    • 1,003 Posts
    • 723 Thanks
    boltonangel
    This thread should be renamed.

    I'd like to point out the importance of using this thread as a guide to making the correct decision about products, NOT about 'beating' salespeople or learning the techniques they use to 'push' products on to you. Or about the 'tricks' they use (which is a negative statement in itself).

    As a face to face independent mortgage adviser, I use some of the techniques you mentioned above such as the being quiet one, the cheaper products are inferior, which one would you like and the assumptive approach when I'm selling PHI (income protection) / Life Insurance / Critical Illness along side a mortgage.

    The reason I use these techniques is two fold. Any salesperson who says they don't use the techniques to make a commission is a liar, HOWEVER it is absolutely ESSENTIAL for most people to take life insurance and PHI when they take a mortgage.

    I've seen many colleagues on the receiving end of abuse because they didn't convince their clients to take life insurance/phi, something serious has happened and the person/families have lost their house. When probed, it appears the reason they didn't take it was that they felt it was not neccessary, or they "didn't want to be sold to".

    Lots of salespeople have to use these techniques because it genuinly IS important that you take the products but because of threads like this, and general consumerism, people (and I am guilty of it myself, so I'm not the holy preacher here) feel that if they are being sold to, or 'pitched', then they are being conned out of money. This simply isn't true.

    Critical Illness is my final example. There are many products out there that ARE cheap and ARE worse value for money. The old adage of you get what you pay for sometimes is true.

    So in summary, when somebody is 'selling' you something, use this thread to cut your way through the blurb, but please focus on the product itself and what it will do for you, rather than focussing on beating the salesman.

    Originally posted by youngmoney

    as a mtge advisor i echo all the points raised - yes, recomendations are made for commission/targets , but we have to justify why what we are recommending is right for you, so you won't be sold something purely for profit. different companies offer different benefits and pay out rates
    Lead me not into temptation, I can find the way myself.

    wins - peroni bottle opener, peroni bowl, peroni coastersx2 and a vodkat cocktail kit,
    would love to win something 'proper'!!
  • Al_Vampyre
    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.
    Originally posted by Womaniser
    Ok, I've registered on the forum (long time lurker) just to reply to this thread.

    I am a salesperson, and more importantly, I'm a good salesperson and by that I don't mean that I'm good at my job but that I believe I'm a good person.

    In my experience, there are two types of salespeople, the first are in it for the short haul, its a filling in job (before university for example) and there is no reason for them to care, they sell, they make their commission, they go off to do whatever they were working to pay for in the first place and conscience and integrity don't enter into the equation.

    On the other hand there are people like me (and I suspect like youngmoney above) that appreciate that honesty and integrity will always bring you more business and better business than being 'fly by night'. I'm established enough to have people that 'phone me up and ask me for things because I treated them well when I first dealt with them..for me thats the ideal situation, no work but I still get paid...I also get xmas cards from most of my customers.

    The only 'salesperson' (and its in inverted commas for a reason) that you need to be wary of is the salesperson who is trying to sell you something you don't want, which is why they need to use tricks in the first place...

    Yes, I use standard sales techniques, but not to trick people, its so that they buy from me and not from one of my competitors and that can come down to who the customer likes the most - if all other things are equal. I know its a cliche but people buy people, if you have two identical products, at the same price, you will buy it from the salesperson that you connected with the most.

    I don't think its representative to brand all salespeople as underhand sneaks who 'really couldn't care less if you died after doing the deal'...
    • JimmyTheWig
    • By JimmyTheWig 5th Mar 08, 11:21 AM
    • 11,741 Posts
    • 11,307 Thanks
    JimmyTheWig
    I've heard that sales people are trained that big numbers sound smaller when given in figures. E.g. something reduced from £1599 to £1299 may be quoted as "It's now only one-two-nine-nine, a saving of three hundred pounds.".
    If they do this, just try to think for yourself whether it's a good deal. Or I guess you could ask them to repeat it in words!
    • Womaniser
    • By Womaniser 5th Mar 08, 11:35 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    Womaniser
    Another annoying "tactic" they employ are using the words "only" or "just". It's only £24.99 per month or just £499!

    And don't get me onto cold callers or chuggers!
    Last edited by Womaniser; 05-03-2008 at 11:56 AM.
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