How To Defend Against 7 Sneaky Sales Tactics


Today we have a guest post from the Car Negotiation Coach who takes a break from discussing car negotiation strategies and reveals how to combat common sales ploys.

Whether you’re buying a car,  jewelry, mattresses, or a big screen TV, you’ll most certainly be going head to head with a professional salesman.  Unfortunately for you, these folks practice selling every day.  In order to get a good deal it helps to understand the tricks they use to separate you from your money.   Let’s breakdown are a few of the more common sales tactics and how to defend against them. 
1.       Sales Tactic: Teaser Ads.  Before you arrive at the store the dance has already begun!  Many times you’ll find a teaser ad that’s too good to be true.  Stores advertise an incredible offer, but when you arrive it’s out of stock.  That’s because they only stocked a limited number of that amazing item in the first place.  Once you’re in the door, the salesman tells you they just happen to have a similar model with a faster processor, more memory, etc. for only $200 more.

Defense:  Realize this may be the case before you leave the house and don’t get your heart set on the item.  When you arrive at the store, maintain your objectivity and look for the best value even if your target purchase is not there.

2.       Sales Tactic: Assuming the Sale.  One of the first tricks salesman are taught is to make subtle, forward looking statements to help buyers subconsciously accept the terms of the deal.  For example, “Your wife will love this when you get home”, or “let’s try on some ties to go with your new suit”.  Mechanics are great at this technique.  You go in for an oil change and they’ll tell you they need to replace the filters and brakes…..and it’s not phrased as a question! Pay close attention the next time you buy something and you’ll notice these types of statements.   People naturally don’t like conflict.  Subconsciously it’s easier to go with the flow then to openly contradict the salesman and back out of a purchase.

Defense:  Don’t let a salesman convince you that you’ve bought something until you’ve made up your own mind.  Take your time and make a purchase on your own schedule, not someone else’s.

3.       Sales Tactic: Limited Offer.  The idea is to create a sense of urgency and prevent you from shopping around for a better price.  For example, a salesman tells you “If you buy this TV today, we’ll give you a free extended warranty, but the offer is good for today only.” 

Defense:  Take the time to evaluate the offer.  Do you have a cell phone or pda?  Excuse yourself for a minute and see if you can find any similar deals online.  Don’t be pressured to buy immediately unless it really happens to be a great deal.

4.       Sales Tactic: The Rebate.  Retailers budget for extremely low rebate redemption rates, sometimes even 20% according to Wikipedia.  They expect that the general public is too lazy to take the time to complete a rebate.  Doesn’t that sound crazy?  But think about how easy it is to procrastinate getting an original receipt, filling out the rebate card, addressing an envelope, etc.

Defense:  Read the fine print and understand what hoops you will have to jump through.  If you do decide to buy, make sure that you actually mail that rebate in! 

5.       Sales Tactic: Breaking down payments.  To overcome the “I can’t afford it” objection, a salesman may break down a figure into daily amounts to minimize the appearance of the overall cost.  You’ll notice this tactic used for big items like financing a car or a home mortgage.  They may say something like, “you can afford an extra $100 a month…it  comes to only $3 a day, same as a Starbucks coffee.” But that same $3 a day adds up to $1100 a year pretty quickly!

Defense:  Never be conned into thinking about price in terms of payments.  Always negotiate the total purchase price, payments are secondary.

6.       Sales Tactic: One-of-a-kind products.  Do you know why it’s so hard to comparison shop for mattresses?  It’s because you’ll never find the same brand and model of mattress at a competing store.  The mattress companies do this on purpose to confuse buyers.  Ever notice how hard it is to compare jewelry from one place to another?  They don’t want you to be able to compare apples to apples and shop around for the best price.

Defense:  Compare the key factors that make up the quality of the item you’re buying.   If it’s a mattress, compare coil counts and coil gauge…  If it’s a ring, compare the cut and number of karats, etc.

7.       Sales Tactic: “I bought this model myself”.   Whether or not this statement is actually true, the intent is to give you the impression that the item must be the best if the salesman owns one himself.  What they neglect to mention is that if they did in fact buy it, they probably got it at cost or used their employee discount to make it worthwhile. 

Defense:   Ask them how much they paid.  And are they willing to share that employee discount with you? Not likely…

When buying big ticket items, the key to getting a good price is to take a step back and evaluate the deal.  Realize that almost everything the salesman says is calculated and on purpose.   They are playing a game to get you to you to spend more money.  If you are aware this is happening, it’s much easier to keep your perspective and get a good deal.
Photo By: hahatango

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15 thoughts on “How To Defend Against 7 Sneaky Sales Tactics

  1. Guy G. on said:

    I think I’ve been on the receiving end of all of these. I think I’ve successfully defended myself from only about half. lol
    Thanks for reminding me of the tactics so I’m again aware of them.

    .-= Guy G.´s last blog ..Tips on Budgeting – Help With A Budget =-.

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      Thanks Guy. these are good tips and worth revisiting when stepping back on a car lot. I know I’ve seen – and even fallen prey – to some of them in the past.

  2. Ryan Loos on said:

    Great info! I know that I have been on the receiving end of a few of these techniques over the years. Now I hope I am a better informed consumer. I have to admit that I have fallen for the mattress one. I now know better!

  3. Nate on said:

    Great tips! I especially like #5. That’s such a sleezy, scumbag way to convince someone to tack on more money. It also puts you in a tough spot, because if you say no to their “$3 a day” deal, you look cheap – and who wants to look cheap?

  4. RyanLoos on said:

    Is this site still active? I was looking for a good blog site that talked about Dave Ramsey, but it looks like no one is posting here anymore. If you need a post let me know and I would happily contribute my thoughts!

  5. Amy Lewis on said:

    I have checked your blog and found some quite interesting articles on finance with lot of information. I would be really thankful, if you allow me to do relevant informative guest post in your blog. I would like to contribute an informative and relevant article for your blog without charging you a penny :)


    • Amy Lewis on said:

      Hi Amy again, thanks for getting back to me. I’m interested in articles exchange. I’ve some finance sites. If you have any idea and would like to discuss with me, then do let me know in my email.

      Please send me your email id as well so we can do more discuss.

      thanks :)

  6. Dave on said:

    Limited Offer, I hate this one. Sometimes it is so “limited” that when you go buy it, you get “Sorry we sold out already, but we have this”.

  7. Holger on said:

    You forgot to mention the protection plans. This is where they make the most money these days. When you go to Best Buy, you can hear the staff talking about “protection plan” constantly. It is annoying and takes over to other stores, too. For instance, they offer even $5 protection plans for items which they offer for only $7 ! – I wish there would be plan just to protect me from these sales people.

    And the funny thing is, that most items have a manufacturer warranty anyways,. So such a plan is not necessary when you take take care of your stuff. By not buying all these protection plans, you have the money to buy a replacement, when something really breaks. And with the falling prices in electronics, you can get usually the same or even a better item for a lower price..
    .-= Holger´s last blog ..Unlimited Hosting under 2 Dollars =-.

  8. Ron on said:

    These tips are really great. I think I’m defending against sneaky sale tactics but as I’ve read your post I must have to know all of these. I can assure of avoiding these sale tactics that wouldn’t help me. Thank you for your great post!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..Man Boobs and Alcohol =-.

  9. Dave Ozment on said:

    Thanks Adam, and good luck giving these a try.

    And of course, avoid the pesky pay day loan clowns too.

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