2008-11-02

How to Spot a Desperate Salesperson

You are shopping around casually when suddenly you are confronted by a salesperson. You are not really interested in what s/he has to offer but s/he seems so nice, and the product actually makes some sense when the salesperson is talking about it. You buy it, overpriced of course and with an extra insurance, because you can never be too careful, and using the product for the first time you know you have been swindled. No, don't feel bad. We have all been there and here is what you should watch for the next time:

  • "I actually have one of these at home and I haven't had any problems with it" There are variations on this line (my wife/husband/best friend etc), but basically what they want you to think is that you "know" someone who "owns" this product and is very happy with it. The na├»ve part of you wants to believe it, and you will be more likely to buy the product.
  • "This is one of the most sold items" A total irrelevant remark but the line implies that the product is "popular" and that the "majority" of the people choose to buy this product. Why should you deviate from the majority?
  • "This product will be 100% compatible with future standards" I wonder if those who bought HD-DVD players agree with that statement today. Nothing is 100% compatible with future standards.
  • "You are lucky, we have one left in stock" A statement that wants you to think that the product is popular and because there is just one left you should probably buy it now, before someone else does. A little tip: If it really is popular other stores will have this product, and there will probably be future shipments. No need to be hasty.
  • My last tip is: Salespersons never "small talk", when they talk about the weather or compliment your taste they are trying to be "friendly", i.e. to manipulate you. Chances are you will buy the product from a "friend" and not from a stranger.

To know if a product is good use sites like pricerunner.com, kelkoo.com, prisjakt.nu (link to the right), etc. and read customer reviews (or CNET reviews). The problem with reviews in magazines is that they usually recite specs, which is not as interesting to a potential buyer as a pro and con list of the product. The last tip in this post is: It is always cheaper on the internet and cheapest in Germany.

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