Don’t you hate it when you leave a store thinking the salesman got the best of you…that he or she was able to talk you into something you really didn’t want? Or worse yet that the salesman literally deceived you with false information about the product? It’s frustrating to feel or learn later that the salesman didn’t help you make the best decision possible.
This happens in all retail establishments where a salesman is engaged in selling a product. Think furniture, appliances, car lots and even insurances. These types of jobs are heavily commission driven, meaning the salesman earns money (part or all of his salary) on the sale of a product. This arrangement can put them in a tough spot – looking to make the most money possible vs. helping the consumer find the best deal.
Don’t get me wrong here – I love a good salesman. And there are some really good ones out there who have the customer’s needs in mind. Those are the ones you hope to find.
But if you run across a bad one (and you will) there is a way to beat them. It is possible to make sure you ALWAYS get the best possible deal based on your needs.
And it all starts with what you do ahead of time – before you even walk into the store. I learned this recently while shopping for a new television.
Do Your Due Diligence
This past Christmas there were huge TV deals at local retailers. So my wife and I decided it would be a good time to purchase a second TV for the basement to get our PS3 gaming system out of the living room. We hadn’t bought a TV in over ten years so we were a little clueless as to what was out there.
I did know there had been a new advancement in TV technology called 4K or Ultra High Definition. Without getting too technical it’s basically double the definition of a standard HD television. And it’s awesome! When you stand in front of a UHD TV the clarity and color of the picture makes your mouth water.
So with a new TV purchase in mind I set out to learn all I could. I wanted to answer the question, “Did I need a TV with this new technology right now?”
Here is what I found:
- UHD TV is where the industry is headed. It won’t be long before it’s the standard. But…
- The TV technology is ahead of the broadcast technology. Very few if no mainstream broadcasts are being done in UHD yet.
- UHD can be found in a few shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, none of which interest us.
- DVDs are enhanced by UHD but we simply don’t watch many at home.
- The cost is coming down but still pretty pricey. (Think thousands instead of hundreds of dollars).
So based on our need – basically a second TV so the kids can play video games and watch kids shows on Netflix in the basement – we decided against a UHD TV.
I researched stores in our area and found a 55-inch, Samsung LED 1080p TV on sale for $578.
Knowledge is Power Over a Salesman
Of course a salesman greeted me enthusiastically when I walked into the electronics store to purchase a TV. We found the model I wanted on display and I asked him if they had it in stock. He checked the computers and found out they did not. Neither did any of their companion stores in a one-hour radius.
Sensing he could work me into another TV, he began to describe all the virtues of a similar TV with the UHD technology. Of course it was a lot more money but he said it was better than the TV I had chosen.
And you know what…he was right. It was a better TV.
But I didn’t need it and I knew it. My research had confirmed that.
So, in response, I basically listed for him the five points I highlighted above.
When I rattled off all that information, the color in his face drained. He knew I was an informed consumer and wasn’t going to budge. He even admitted that based on what I would use the TV for the one I selected would work perfectly.
To his credit he didn’t fight me. He ordered the TV I wanted and set up a deliver date a couple days out free of charge. We ended up spending another ten minutes looking at some high-end TVs and discussing the new UHD technology. In a couple of years when the broadcast technology catches up with the TV technology and the price drops by 50-75% I’ll definitely be buying one.
Here’s the deal…knowledge is power. I was able to fight off the advances of this salesman because I knew ahead of time what I wanted. I’d done my research and knew exactly what was at stake.
Don’t Go In Blind
It’s really important for me to do research ahead of time because I’m an emotional buyer. Making purchases based on emotion has been a problem in my past. I tend to get really excited about buying something and end up making a poor financial decision.
Knowledge helps me fight my emotions. If I had gone into the electronics store blind to my real need, the salesman may have been able to talk me up into a UHD TV. In fact, I overheard another customer ask a salesman, “Um…so could you like tell me what’s the difference between this TV and that TV?” And the salesman just launched into his spiel.
Poor guy…he’s headed for a bad purchase.
I didn’t make one though because I learned in advance what I wanted. It’s the way to beat any salesman. Not that the interaction is necessarily a competition. You just want to get the best deal that meets your needs and saves you money along the way.
Questions: Have you ever been beaten by salesman? How did it make you feel? How do you research a big, new purchase? Anyone have a UHD TV yet…how do you like it?