“That suit looks fabulous on you!”
“Those shoes are part of a special edition made by a world-famous designer.”
“This gadget is available for a limited time only!”
Try walking around a shopping mall in your city or town and chances are, you’re going to hear variations of the above statements uttered by eager salespersons to unsuspecting window shoppers. No matter how much you pride yourself on being a wise shopper, I’ll bet that you too have been persuaded by an enthusiastic sales spiel, only to regret the purchase later.
Sales reps are trained to know the ins and outs of consumer psychology and successfully convert an innocent window shopper into a customer. They do this by employing sales tricks that feed on our need to take advantage of a bargain or to fit in with the latest trends. They’ve gotten so good at convincing shoppers that most of the time; we actually don’t know we’ve fallen for the trick until the purchase has been made. And I’m sure we’re all familiar with that gnawing uneasiness and misery we feel after realizing we’ve been duped.
Learning to recognize and resist the most common sales techniques used by sales reps is an important step to becoming a wise shopper. Read on below and find out how you can learn to navigate the treacherous waters of your mall without fear for your well-being and your wallet!
1. Pouring on the honey.
Flattery is the easiest and most common sales trick that’s been around since time immemorial. Naturally, shoppers want to feel that their purchase is a wise one—that buying a product will lead to a marked improvement in their lives. Salespeople feed on this need by continuously pouring on flattery until the customer commits, saying that the dress looks great or the lipstick makes you look like a celebrity.
Indeed, research shows that many customers actually realize that the flattery showered upon them by eager sales reps are insincere—yet they still fall for it. This is primarily because hearing compliments will create good vibes between the sales rep and the customer; unconsciously generating a positive, trustworthy image of the salesperson within the customer’s mind.
2. False scarcity.
How would you react if a sales rep suddenly approached you and said that the particular pair of shoes that you’ve been eyeing is the last pair and stocks will not be refreshed for months to come? Chances are, you’re going to whip out your wallet faster than I can say false scarcity. Attaching exclusivity and scarcity to an item makes it more desirable to a customer, thus making it easier for a sales rep to sell it. So the next time you hear that eager rep tell you that now is your last chance to buy an item, stop and think if it’s really impossible to find a similar one in the future.
3. Discounted Markups.
This is a slightly dubious way of selling, where stores (and not just sales reps themselves) increase the price of a product way above the suggested retail price (SRP), so that customers can haggle down the price to the SRP and make the discount seem dramatically huge, when in fact, the final price is actually just what the stores had been hoping for all along. To avoid falling for this trick, do your research on the prices of goods before heading out to the store.
4. The Guilt Trip.
When we feel that a sales rep has been particularly nice and helpful, we often feel a sense of obligation to buy the product. Sales reps know this and take advantage of it by continuously hounding shoppers and offering assistance or advice. So if you’re just planning to window shop, gently but firmly tell the sales rep the truth so you can browse products in peace.
LEARN TO DISCERN. In the end, learning to diffuse these common sales techniques takes a lot of patience and practice on the part of the shopper. Before going out on a shopping spree, do your research, make a list of the things you need to buy, and try your best to stick to your budget.
Do you know other common sales techniques that I missed and how to avoid them? Do share them in the comments! Happy shopping!