Selling something is very hard, I see this very often at my workplace. A successful sale has stories of so many disappointments, setbacks and strong will to persist through tough times. Even after seeing through all this, I get annoyed when I encounter salespeople who run their runbook on me. I want to buy something for my needs, but I don’t want something to be sold to me through ill will and tactics.
Here are some tactics that I find extremely annoying
Bait and switch
This is so common and effective when you are on the move. We do not prefer cold water so we asked the waiter at a restaurant to get bottled water at room temperature for us. He let us know that he can’t get the water unless we bill it and pay for it. Once we got it billed he gave us cold water saying they have run out of stock of room temperature ones. He pointed to the bill saying goods once sold cannot be taken back when I wanted to return it, we got our money back after creating a scene at the restaurant.
Useless add ons or replacements
This starts with small places like coffee shops to big places like car dealers. This tactic is used to trick the customer into buying add ons that bring great margins with little use to the customer. This is taught as cross selling and up selling to sales people to target ignorance. Have you ever wondered why service bills for cars usually go 2-3 times higher than a regular listed price service, I have been advised to replace my clutch plate which I declined and was able to run it for 30,000 kms more; same with batteries, vipers, brake pads etc. On top of it the cleaning services which adds up to a huge amount if you opt for, which by default the service advisor (salesperson’s fancy title) will add and wait for you to strike that out. I waited once for them to write down all of that and make them do it and refused to pay citing legal reasons that they had written it down in the complaints section instead of opt-in requests section, they immediately cut down the charges fearing legal issues.
This is the favourite one for hospitals and insurance agents who play using the fear in people’s mind. It is very evident if you have rented a car, the salesperson will never let you drive the car out without a hefty insurance package. We were told stories by the salesperson how someone had rented a car last week which was broken into by thieves and how the renter suffered loss of property and on top of it was liable to pay huge fines for car damages. We sternly refused additional insurance as we had got it covered through our company, the salesperson brought a manager outside and who explained that we cannot rent it out as it is at their discretion to prevent damages. We asked for a written statement for the refusal so that we can sue, we were given a car in 10 minutes.
This is common where there is no way to verify demand-supply. You will be presented with a nice product with an offer price that is slightly lower than the advertised price and will be asked to decide then and there to agree or there is someone else to buy. The salesperson will also revise to a higher price to introduce a fake demand.
This is a double edged tactic used to make people upgrade. The common way it is executed is you will be asked for a budget and given very sub standard options in that budget. When someone asks for an eye catching option, the salesperson will dismiss it saying that it is not in their budget and hurt their ego. This will make people go for the higher priced product instead of sticking to their budget. Another ego play tactic used on couples is placing one of the spouses as the deciding authority by saying statements like ‘it seems someone else has the control on the budget’, ‘it seems you have no purchasing power’. It instigates a fight within the couple but one of them ends up buying.
Acting insanely good
This is very tough to negotiate out if you can’t say no. The salesperson will spend a great amount of time explaining things to you, help you go through lots and lots of information (often to confuse) and then pounce on you to make a purchase on one of the options. If you step in to look only for options, you may end up buying something because of the pressure exerted on you. I have encountered a person who refused me to go out through the door mentioning ‘I have spent so much time explaining to you, you have to buy something, I deserve it’.
There are many more tactics, with the web it is rapidly replaced by computers upselling and cross selling. As a buyer it is getting increasingly difficult to buy only what we need, instead we buy what is being sold.