If you're a salesman (oops, salesperson) who deals with spendy items like appliances, autos, computers, or such, here's some advice on how to close a deal with someone like me:
Don't act like a used car salesperson.
Or even like a new car salesperson. Forget whatever sales techniques you've learned on your own or had drummed into you by your boss. Simply act like a normal human being and treat me the same way.
You need to take this advice seriously, because there are a lot of people like me nowadays. We're used to buying stuff over the Internet, where one click (think Amazon) gets us a generous discount from list price, terrific customer service, and no-hassle returns.
Since I can do this with cheap items, I'm not going to put up with a bunch of crap when I go looking for more expensive merchandise.
Unfortunately, though, I've found that some salespeople still act like I'm arrived from the farm in my horse and buggy to learn what this new-fangled thing called a "Model T" is and how it works.
Look, sales dudes and dudettes: by the time I've entered your establishment to take a look at Spendy Item X, I've researched it up the wazoo thanks to the great god Google. I know how much it costs, what it does, and how the new version of X differs from the old version.
Since I'm focused on X rather than the A to Z inventory of other spendy stuff you sell, I may very well know more about the item than you do.
So when you tell me something that I know isn't true, I start to wonder why I'm talking with you. It's better to admit that you aren't familiar with all of X's features than to pretend you're more knowledgeable than you evidently are.
Also, don't try to sell me what I don't want.
If your product is good, it will sell itself. Spend some time in an Apple store and see how little selling the "salespeople" do. They basically sit people down with an Apple gadget and let them try it out, answering any questions they might have.
Recently I told a salesman that I was interested in the new version of Spendy Item X. He tried to tilt me toward the old version, repeatedly (once was enough, thanks) mentioning some rebates and financing incentives that reduced its price.
Well, there's a reason Old X is being pushed on customers rather than New X. I suspect in this case the salesman was under some pressure to get rid of old inventory that wasn't going to look as attractive once New X appeared.
I kept telling him why I liked the fresh features in New X, and didn't find Old X appealing. He kept telling me how much money I could save by getting something I didn't really want -- not a great sales technique.
Again, think Apple.
Try to find a discounted iPad (believe me, I've tried to do this). They're all the same price, even at "discount" stores. Yet they're selling like crazy. When the next even cooler version of the iPad comes out, the old one likely will go down in price. But until then the iPad is being sold on its buzz as a great product, not through sales gimmicks.
I don't expect a salesperson to be my new best friend. However, I also don't expect to be treated like a robot who will extract his VISA card after a psychological buy button has been pressed.
There's a difference between us humans and robots (in their current comparatively crude guises): we can tell when we're being treated robotically. I don't mind being sold something so skillfully I don't even know I'm being sold.
How could I mind? I'm not aware of the sales job.
That's why the best salespeople are like Taoist sages: natural and unaffected. Once I start thinking about the techniques that are being used on me in an over-eager attempt to make a sale, I'm much less likely to buy the item, because I don't like to be overtly manipulated.
If there's price competition on Spendy Item X, simply give me your best price. If you don't, you'll likely find me walking away. Yes, I realize that some people like to haggle and bargain. I'm not one of them.
Like I said, I'm used to firing up the "Shopping" link on Google searches and seeing a list of prices for what I'm looking for scroll down the page. I don't always choose the cheapest price, because customer service and a solid business reputation also are important to me.
But I don't feel like playing extra "what's the price?" games when I'm face to face with a salesperson. Just tell me what your best price for Spendy Item X is, so I can decide whether to accept your offer or keep looking elsewhere.