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Subtle Sales Talk To Sucker You In Or Leave You Cynically Sarcastic

We’ve all come across the smarmy sales person who leaves us with the strong desire to take a shower after only shaking our hand and we can usually spot them from a distance too.

However sales people are getting better training these days and while we are told it’s all about building relationships nowadays, there are still tricks of the trade being implemented and it is still very much a case of “buyer beware”.

I’ve listed a few of the sales techniques that get implemented regularly and the reason behind them.  See if you’ve fallen for any of them.

Fast Action Bonus Offer

– This is for the person who is prepared to sign upon the dotted line NOW!

There is always a sense of urgency about these types of offer, padded with bonuses to get you to sign quickly, along with a sense of scarcity (covered below).  These are promoted as offers only clever people will take up because they are life’s action-takers and successful go-getters and to be in the elite club you need to ACT NOW!!

The amazing thing is the people who tend to promote these fast action bonuses are also promoters of doing your due diligence.

I’ve signed up for some of these bonuses and got some very good bargains in doing so, however I did it on the third or fourth time it was offered, not the first.  I took the time to research the person/company before taking them up on their fabulous offer.  There are many others I’ve chosen to pass on.

The ONE TIME Only Offer

– This is the only time we are going to offer this, so when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Lets amend that slightly, when it’s gone it’s gone – this time!  We’ll repackage it, possibly rename it and offer it again either later in the year or next year.  Or we’ll re-offer it due to popular demand – sound familiar?

There is no way we are going to close down or permanently remove a viable part of our business, we want you to buy it NOW! not in round two of the offer and we are going to use scarcity  to motivate your action for fear of being excluded from it.

Available To The First XX Only Offer

– This is the typical scarcity factor which is a huge sales tactic.  Humans have a colossal fear of being excluded from the pack and this offer feeds on that fear.

Make it sound that there are only a limited number of places/pieces on these lower priced offers and you activate the greed in them. The want to make sure they get it before it runs out.

I’ve been to events where there has been a surge of people rush to buy things that they had previously said they weren’t interested in once the limited number offer was mentioned.

Just look at the sales in the shops when something is limited, Lidl & Aldi do this really well with some of their offers and people queue up at ridiculously early hours to ensure they get them.

The 100% Money Back Guarantee Offer

– The idea behind it is to make you feel secure about buying from them when you might not have before.

This usually comes with a list of terms and conditions that would make your head spin and leave the seller with a get-out-clause that you hadn’t considered before you signed up.

The small print is deliberately small so that you won’t take the time to read it before you sign.  Watch the face of the person selling to you the next time as you say “just give me twenty minutes to read all of the small print first, you can answer all the questions I’m gonna ask, can’t you?”

That being said, there are more and more companies/individuals that offer the 100% guarantee with a bonus on top, if what they offer does not meet your expectations and they do this because they seriously believe in what they have to offer.

So where do you come on the suckered-cynical scale?  Do you get suckered in easily or do you have a healthy dose of cynicism to make you stop and consider before you buy?  How do you incorporate these offers into your sales in a way that is genuine?

Mairéad Kelly developed the Cute Honey System - Business training, coaching & mentoring for Mumpreneurs & Mum Biz Owners who want to buzz their business into a hive of productivity while raising young children & often can’t get out to training events, morning or evening network events due to family commitments and/or a lack of finances.

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  • Nice one Mairead.nYes, there are many, especially applied in retail. nEven though I don’t enjoy those sales cliches, I must admit that many of them are American masterpieces that worked big time and for a long time. That “money back guaranteed” never pushed me to buy but it was a leader phrase back in the day. Coming up with a set of words that will make millions of people take action… that’s an accomplishment. I give them that 🙂

  • Hi Mairead, The internet of course now makes it that much easier for companies and individuals to make both genuine and of course not so genuine offers, it’s a bit of a double edged sword. The key consideration, as you point out is to do your research and rarely have I come across an offer where I couldn’t find out more and very often from the same people that had either been taken in or benefited as a result. Here’s a recent online conversation about the trustworthiness of salespeople that somewhat ties in with your post

  • Steelywheely

    One company doubled its sales after adding 2 words to the usage directions on the back of their product. Those words are now on every shampoo bottle, they are the pure marketing gold words ‘and repeat’.nEntirely unnecessary but very lucrative. Another favourite of mine is ‘dry clean only’, Caveat Emptor!

  • The one that gets me most is where companies AUTOMATICALLY renew your subscription even though I’m sure I didnt agree to this…. and the hassle to get a refund is hellish. n

  • I can’t abide that either Ivan and have learnt to read the T&C’s very carefully now. I’d sooner do without than buy into more than what I agreed to at the point of sale. nnI remember an insurance company I once took out insurance with did that and then stated that they had posted a letter stating that if I didn’t respond before the renewal date I’d be deemed to have renewed.nn Their letter came in a month later and was dated 2 days AFTER the renewal date. Needless to say I got a FULL refund.

  • True, lol, it’s now become a term in some internet marketing circles “rinse and repeat” for methods that work well. nn

  • Wow! That got a bit heated. I believe that we are also selling ourselves when selling anything, so anything less than authentic shows. All of those techniqes work well when done authentically and backfire badly when done badly – I witnessed that at an event I was at where the air seemed to smell of desperation because sales targets were not being met. That company does not operate here anymore.

  • Thanks Fred. The “no quibble” money back guarantee can make or break a business and I’ve seen some business owners use it very effectively. On the other side of the coin I’ve seen people stung with guarantees that had so many conditions attached they were useless. The psychology behind buying and selling is an industry in itself.

  • Roisin Bell

    How do you communicate the discount Niall – on your invoice or by email etc?

  • Ha! Love that idea Niall – I might steal it! Thanks for a useful and timely post Roisin. At present we are offering enhanced pricing to valued clients based on hitting a minimum amount in a calendar month etc. and based on sticking to credit terms. Good for our cash flow and good for the client’s bottom line 🙂

  • Usually both! Typically, I use it where I have developed a good partnership with the business and its people. “I really enjoyed working with you guys, we worked really well together and achieved what we set out to, thank for the opportunity and I’d love to work with you again”

  • Feel free Paula 🙂

  • Marksecko

    Hi Roisin.nnYou seem to have a good handle on your pricing, how to do pricing for your projects. I deal in software sales for small to mid-sized projects (Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains (GP)u00a0reseller in Ontario, Canada). They range in price from $20 – $150k for software and service. I have been able to charge a higher rate and get it if you show the value. You have to be able to prove that you are worth more than your lower priced competitor. Further, sometimes, you just have to hold the line (i.e. – no discount). Some prospects are just testing you because they have been TAUGHT (PURCHASING) to do this. Good luck and do not be afraid to charge what you think you are worth!!nnMark SeckonEndeavour [email protected]

  • Roisin Bell

    Thanks Mark. I think showing the value is something I don’t always do. Sometimes we presume clients ‘get’ what a valuable result they’re getting, but it’s always worth spelling it out to them.u00a0

  • Roisin Bell

    Spelling out to the client the good value they’re getting is not something I enough of and it’s crazy to assume they’ll realise it by themselves.u00a0Thanks Paula!

  • Thanks Sian, for publishing the article.

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