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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Martin
    • By MSE Martin 26th Feb 08, 10:06 AM
    • 8,116Posts
    • 42,310Thanks
    MSE Martin
    0 WOW
    The Great “Top Sales Techniques” Hunt: What tricks are used to sell to us?
    • #1
    • 26th Feb 08, 10:06 AM
    0 WOW
    The Great “Top Sales Techniques” Hunt: What tricks are used to sell to us? 26th Feb 08 at 10:06 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 6:24 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 2
  • willywillwill
    Yeah I had this with BT offering me money off my line rental. They took this off without factoring in VAT as well, so I then had to call them and badger them on that point as well. They eventually gave an extra discount to reflect it, but not without a fight!

    WWW


    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.
    Originally posted by koru
    Filiss
  • amyjdavidson
    I work in marketing so I don't actually like sales guys because I have to work with them every day and they do my head in!

    I know of one technique used very often which is basically to offer a discount, but on an inflated version of the original price. This is something to be wary of whenever you're getting a quote for works done or for a product you wouldn't know the general retail price of. For example you are told the product you want costs £1000 but you'll get 25% discount on it taking it to £750 but it reality the cost of the product was £750.

    I'm sure everyone knew that anyway but I thought I should put it up to remind people to always always get a second quote from someone else!

    Oh, and on this note, I had a British Gas salesman come to my house last week to quote me for a new boiler. He was an hour late and then stayed in my home for over 2 hours. I would say 20 minutes of that time was spent looking at my boiler and the outside walls, and the rest was spent sitting in my living room pretending to 'build' a report on his Laptop to find the right boiler for us. He just sat there occasionally pressing buttons on his laptop, but the rest of the time either talking to us, watching tv or annoying my cat! He was evidently trying some sales technique but I can't work it out - was it intimidation, or trying to be super friendly so perhaps we'd buy from him. Anyway, this sitting in my house thing really upset me as it was intrusive and completely unneccesary. He didn't even have an internet connection to the laptop so his excuse that it was slow made no sense as there is no way British Gas would have such a slow system for quotes. Maybe he was just incredibly lazy. Anyway, his quote was ridiculously overpriced and all of the information he gave us to sell that particular model were lies as we've had several smaller companies in since, who were in and out within twenty minutes and had different stories about what we needed. And they're going to post the quote - so much better!
  • willywillwill
    Yeah I had this with BT offering me money off my line rental. They took this off without factoring in VAT as well, so I then had to call them and badger them on that point as well. They eventually gave an extra discount to reflect it, but not without a fight!

    WWW


    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.
    Originally posted by koru
    Filiss
    • Its African Sunset
    • By Its African Sunset 5th Mar 08, 11:11 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Its African Sunset
    Not sure salespeople are really related to Satan!
    Define selling and you get 'matching benefits to needs'. Interestingly, if we make a 'good' purchase "we bought it"...if it turns out to be a poor purchase, "we were sold it"!

    Before the days of everyone maximising sales and trying to keep the shareholders happy, most people trusted salespeople they knew; how many of you had parents that always went back to the same person for a car, electrical goods, etc. because they had a relationship and trust. (perhaps you have now - have any of you recommended a sales person or service to a friend?)

    These people still exist today, it's just that they are a dying breed.

    For my pains I was a car salesperson (Try and hold your initial abuse) and the most enjoyable thing was watching them pick their new car up. Yes we had targets, etc. but we could do the finance cheaper than a bank, look after their 8 - 15K investment and hopefully help them enjoy the car until they come and get their next one.

    Ref the comment "really couldn't care less if you died after doing the deal"; are they any different from the person who takes your money at ASDA or at a petrol station, it's a job!

    However, sales nowadays is about trying to build this relationship quickly. Do this (and put you at ease) and you are more likely to trust someone and therefore, buy more than you were planning to.

    The final ultimate say is yours -if you pay the money, you obviously thought the deal, offer, etc. was fine at the time..were you perhaps caught up in the "Must have it now" moment? The salesperson's best buying sign. It's only after, when you checked on the internet that it was cheaper, the colour was avalable, etc. that you thought "He sold it to me and all salepeople are b4stards"

    Not all sales staff are the spawn of the devil, some do care that you get what you want!

    I've been in sales for a hundred years so I'll post some 'classic' closes in the next few days...

    • IanWorthington
    • By IanWorthington 5th Mar 08, 11:16 AM
    • 56 Posts
    • 12 Thanks
    IanWorthington
    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.
    Originally posted by koru
    Love it! I always explicitly ask the price per year, but this is much better. But maybe too subtle for some salesdroids?

    i
  • mervous
    Alarming rise in scare tactics
    As a cynical 48 year old bloke, the cold calls that really bug me, not least because I HAVE activated the TPS bar, are the ones that launch subtly into a scare tactic, wrapped in a bit of false hope.
    "Hi I'm calling from xxxx securities looking for suitable recipients for a free alarm system in your area due to a sharp rise in non violent crime"

    Pause just long enough for the words Free and violent crime to sink in..

    Open Question follows.. "what sort of property do you need protecting?"

    I agree with everything that the mortgage advisor says, it's not a case of beat the salesman, it's a case of getting the right product first, the right price second. I can sell you a fully portable cordless garden blower for £5 with a spare blowing unit and a 2 year fair use guarantee... the price is brilliant, but the balloon on the end of 12" of old garden hose will be a bit of a disappointment.

    I NEVER talk to cold callers - if I want something - I'll decide what I want, then get it priced up.
    If anyone tells you that it's the last one in stock, leave it, it's probably been a demo model then, or, its most likely obsolete, wait for the new stock and get it cheaper because there'll be lots of them.

    "I can only guarantee this price for today!" should always be met with "That's a pity because I'm not signing today but at least I won't waste my time coming back tomorrow if yours is the one I want"

    Always use the rule of "walk away until they stop chasing you" it works on the streets of Bangkok and it works in PC World, it works with car insurance and it even works with buying houses.

    Finally, this is my personal rule, never chip away at the individuals right to make a living, sure you can get £5 of his £10 comission from him if it's the 20th of the month, but when the thing breaks... you want him to be on your side! So Chip away at Dell's profit, Chip away at PC World's profit, Chip Away at the insurace they try to sell you but never chip away at Duane's only chance to make his comission this month.
    • Its African Sunset
    • By Its African Sunset 5th Mar 08, 11:38 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Its African Sunset
    The Technique in a Nutshell: Assumptive (was mentioned before)
    What you were selling:Can be used for anything
    More Details: Used by the salesperson to find out if you have agreed to buy the product in your own mind!
    How successful was it: Because its semi-subliminal, you sometimes don't know you are doing it.
    How should MoneySavers counter it: Listen carefully to the dialogue. The moment you agree to buy (sublimnally or not) your discount, free extras, etc. will stop. Everything else after that is extra cost
    • Its African Sunset
    • By Its African Sunset 5th Mar 08, 11:48 AM
    • 3 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    Its African Sunset
    The Technique in a Nutshell: Trying to pull back from pressurising you
    What you were selling: Tends to be financial products
    More Details: Just when the yes (or the signature) is about to happen, the customer sometimes wavers and backs off either verabally or not. Will use phrases like "Sorry Bob, I didn't mean to push you. I know you may have many questions; but you wouldn't be here unless you you were genuinely interested in the <product>, would you?
    How successful was it: Sales equivalent of a cuddle - be carefull
    How should MoneySavers counter it: If you have a concern, postpone the signature and re-think and re-investigate.
    • koru
    • By koru 5th Mar 08, 12:29 PM
    • 1,385 Posts
    • 694 Thanks
    koru
    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).
    Originally posted by youngmoney
    I have no doubt that you sincerely think you know better than your clients, and you may even be right, though of course that is always going to be a matter of opinion. I suspect that most (though not all) sales people, no matter what the product, think that their products/services are the best, so using sales techniques to push customers to buy is actually in the customer's best interest.

    However, you have nevertheless effectively confirmed that you are trying to make us buy something that, were it not for the sales techniques, we would not want. Pardon me, but I prefer to make my own decision, not be tricked into doing what the salesperson thinks I ought to do.

    I agree, however, that this is not about beating the salesperson. It is about taking everything they say with a pinch of salt (because, by your own admission, even salespeople with the best of motives are trying to make me buy something that I consider I do not want) and being armed with the knowledge to translate their spin into the true facts.

    I will continue to be sarcastic when I spot a salesperson using tricks to try to sell to me. That's not because I am trying to beat the salesperson, but because they stand no chance of making a successful sale if they continue implicitly insulting me by assuming I am stupid enough to fall for their techniques. [Spot the subtle irony? I know what's best for the salesperson!]
    koru
  • crossleydd42
    Overcoming Objections

    Queries/Objections are one of the trickiest stages of the four stages of a successful sale that I was taught. When the first objection came up, we were told to write the numbers 1 to 10 down the left-hand side of a notepad to show a willingness to discuss endless numbers of them (how helpful!). Then, we would write the quesries down (there would rarely be more than about three) and, when the potential customer dried up) ask if there were any more. If the reply was 'No', we'd draw a firm line under the last query to show that was that and proceed to answer the questions. If there were any further queries, it would be a brave person who would consider breaching that pencil line!It was not hard, after answering all the queries, to subtly create the situation where there was little resistance in the way of closing the sale. I lasted three weeks in the job as I is not in my nature to behave like this.

    It should be rememberd that all sales techniques come down to behavioural science or psychology; the manipulating of people's minds. Some sales folk posses no morals or suppress them to do the job, others are decent folk truly trying to help the customer. The nub is, 'How do you tell the difference.'
    As always, LET THE BUYER BEWARE.

    I should add that I went around to my parents house a few months ago. It seems that they'd responded to a card popped through their door a few days before offering to clean the carpets one of their rooms. (Interprete that as you may). It seems that two hours before I arrived, two men came with an enormous vacuum cleaner and proceeded to dismantle it and explain all the details of what made it so special. They 'tested' a small piece of carpet and kept up the 'so much cleaner than the adjoining section of carpet'. Such was the pressure that, thank God, in the end, my father excused himself to go to the toliet, went there and rang me on his mobile to come round and break up the 'party'. My first act, on arrival, was to ask my 76 year old father to lift the enormous beast, which he barely managed to do. I then asked my mother to do the same and she couldn't even lift it off the floor! I then rounded on them for spending two hours trying to browbeat an elderly couple of OAP's into selling such an unsuitable product at a price of £325. It was disgraceful, but it happens. It must have been the 'wearing you down until you can no longer resist' technique.
    Last edited by crossleydd42; 05-03-2008 at 2:29 PM.

    "Some say the cup is half empty, while others say it is half full. However, this is skirting around the issue. The real problem is that the cup is too big."
    • koru
    • By koru 5th Mar 08, 2:41 PM
    • 1,385 Posts
    • 694 Thanks
    koru
    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
    Another way to counter the sneer: Glow with inner pride at displaying your common-sense, perceptiveness, will-power and independence of mind, by confidently choosing no more than you need.
    koru
  • steve_in_lincs
    Sales people are not all bad!!
    I was a bit taken abck reading the title to this board. As a Sales proffesional I am employed to make "SALES" no real suprise there but we are not to be feared.

    I agree that there are numerous individuals and companies who give us a bad name and even worse provide the consumer with bad services and products that leave us unsattisfied.

    My advice to all MSE users is that as a customer it is up to you to make the sales person you are dealing with work for the right to look after you. After all it is you who wishes to purchase and we need to sell, Do not get drawn in by the clever techniques that are being shown!! You know what you need and what you would like/ can afford to pay...Tell them what yopu want and if they can not do it find some one who can.

    But most of all please do not think of us all as being an Arthur Daley dodgey dealer.

    Discounts are they to be had....JUST ASK.
  • mikeabbotts
    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
    Originally posted by boltonangel
    Beware! Mortgage advisors earn more commision by selling income protection insurance/life insurance/critical illness insurance than from arranging your mortgage, and while their industry may be better regulated than most, they are no more or less honest than any other salesman. Critical illness and income protection policies in particular are full of small print and the insurers are expert in using it to avoid payouts - ask any Citizens Advice Bureau. Be sure you really need any of these policies - get advice from someone who is not getting rich on selling them to you. Sometimes they are appropriate sometimes not.
  • darlofc
    Call me cynical but if a sales person is paid commision (as they all are) to sell products then they are going to "guide" you to the product that they will gain the most commision from. I don't believe a word from anyone on here that says they only have the customers interests at heart. Fortunately for sales people there are lots and lots of people out there who are not strong enough to ask questions about products or just say no and walk away.
  • moinerio
    sales tips !!
    Well having been self-employed and currently employed in sales over 30yrs, this included training manager...I am not going to let "cat" out of the bag.
    I have sold everything and written training modules on almost of all aspects of sales.
    TIPS..
    IF ANYONE NEEDS TO VISIT YOU AT HOME , THEN ITS OVERPRICED, COMMISSION AND COST OF COMPANY CAR ETC..
    NEVER EVER GET SUCKED IN THE LAST FEW, LAST ONE, LIMITED TIME, ANY TIME SENSATIVE OFFERS. IN THE MAIN WE ARE LAZY AND WONT BOTHER TO LOOK AROUND
    IN THIS DAY AND AGE OF THE INTERNET WE CAN SHOP AROUND FOR THE BEST DEAL..HENCE THIS SITE.
    IVE HAD GREAT HOLIDAYS AND OWN A GREAT HOUSE ALL THANKS TO SALES!!
    PLEASE NOTE....THE PRESSURE IS INTENSE
    IF I CAN HELP ANYONE 1-2-1 PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT
    • Ninetails
    • By Ninetails 5th Mar 08, 5:52 PM
    • 483 Posts
    • 3,009 Thanks
    Ninetails
    Playing on people's grief
    Worst story I'd heard was a friend's sister died and the salesman was showing all the incredibly expensive coffins first, with the price descending as you get further back in the showroom. This just reeks of playing on people's grief. My friend was very level headed and declined the Rolls Royce and bought a cheaper one.
    Last edited by Ninetails; 05-03-2008 at 5:54 PM.
    • geekgirl
    • By geekgirl 5th Mar 08, 7:18 PM
    • 984 Posts
    • 967 Thanks
    geekgirl
    Worst story I'd heard was a friend's sister died and the salesman was showing all the incredibly expensive coffins first, with the price descending as you get further back in the showroom. This just reeks of playing on people's grief. My friend was very level headed and declined the Rolls Royce and bought a cheaper one.
    Originally posted by Nine Tails
    Yes I had the a similar thing when my Dad died. They were trying to sell us the coffin with three handles on each side and the real silk lining when we went for 2 handles and the 'sateen' lining. Truth of the matter is we really couldn't afford more, to be honest they went on for ages tutting and looking at each other and repeating how "nobody would choose that for their loved ones as it doesn't look as classy".
    I had to get a bit nasty in the end and tell them to do as we asked or !!!!!! off! My poor brother was in a bit of a state about it. When it came to the day of the funeral I didn't give a hoot about how many handles there were and neither did my Dad!
  • FredFace
    Actually, it's quite a well known technique. If you show someone the most expensive top of the range product (whatever it is), in contrast, all of the other less expensive products look cheaper. Generally the average value of the sale made will go up.

    If you have ever visited a clothes store, they will quite often attempt to sell you a cheaper item after you have bought a more expensive one. For example, if you buy a £300 pound suit (I wish) a £30 tie looks relatively cheap.
  • ilovelillbj
    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
    I think that is completely unfair to generalise like that. I work for a bank's call centre mainly in customer service but yes I am targeted on sales and part (though not the majority) of my small bonuses are made up of these sales. HOWEVER I do not employ 'tactics', not to sell things the customer doesn't need. We have hints on our screens, however these are individual to the customer e.g. we only offer appropriate products. Some people with your attitude lose out for themselves- I have offered higher interest savings accounts for example, which are completely free and only benefit the customer, and because they have a 'just say no' attitude they miss out. And I have had customers on the line asking about options which would suit my targets better but if I dont think it's best for them I advise them accordingly.
    • tab
    • By tab 5th Mar 08, 8:00 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    tab
    Hi,

    A double glazing salesman gave me a quote and after he'd spent about an hour going through it he asked if he could use the toilet. Didn't think anything of it at the time but it was the first opportuinity me and the missus had a chance to talk without him being there. Naturally we started to discuss the price saying things like "£6k is too much, I thought it would be about £3k but I suppose £4k would be within our budget".

    Next thing you know the salesman rings head office to see if he can do something for us and magically, if signed-up today he can do it for £4,300 due to end of month sales target. We never went with the quote for one reason or another.

    When we had another double glazing salesman around he asked us if the guy had used the toilet. Oddly enough we said yes and asked why - his told us it was the standard 'khazi close'.

    Appartently this involves keeping you busy for a long period without giving you a break and then once you've had the quote the salesman puts the paperwork in his briefcase, switches on a listening device and uses the toilet. As this is the first time you've had a chance to discuss the quote with your partner you naturally discuss budget/expectations etc and the salesman is listening to everything you say. When he comes out of the toilet he mysteriously can do you the deal if signed-up today almost within your budget. He then gauges if you're interested and when he lets you haggle off the last hundred pounds or so you feel like you've had a fantastic deal and sign on the spot to make it within the end of month sales target and get the huge discount.

    We didn't realise this was how the quote was mysteriously slashed in price until we had two other double glazing salesmen around who both quoted us about £3k. It shows you how close we came to signing up at £4,100 under pressure because we thought there was a £1,900 discount being offerred for that day only.
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