|Home sellers have been known to bake cookies before potential buyers stop in. Whether you're in the market for a home, TV or set of wheels, chances are you've fallen for a few such tricks.|
Phillip Reed, consumer editor for car information Web site Edmunds.com, once went undercover to work as a car salesman for an article series. He said that during his time there, a veteran salesman revealed one of the tricks he uses on female customers. "He said, 'Here's one that's guaranteed to work with women: Tell them the car matches their eyes,'" he recalls. The efficacy of this is questionable. Reed says he later met a woman who recounted hearing a similar line from another salesman, and that it completely turned her off from the car. And Teri Gault, a shopping expert from TheGroceryGame.com, says that similar attempts at flattery tend to backfire when she hears them. "When they say, 'this color will look really good on you,' I almost take offense to that," she says. "I'm not going to be manipulated by people giving me compliments." Manufactured scarcity
We covered this one in our look at marketing buzzwords, and sales reps are just as adept at it: Anytime you can create the notion that a product or deal is scarce or limited, you create a sense of urgency that will spur the customer to buy. In some cases, a sales rep may imply that the product will be sold out soon. That, of course, is a lot more effective when you're dealing with a house or a model of car. ("If you come into the dealership on the weekend, they'll say, 'We're getting a lot of foot traffic, but if you want to pay this much, the car is yours now,'" Reed says.) If it's a situation where product scarcity isn't a factor, they'll instead do ostensibly limited-time offers to spur you into making an immediate purchase. For instance, we've often noticed that every gym in town will tell you that they're willing to waive the sign-up fee as part of the special promotion, and we suspect that they only have a sign-up fee so they can waive it "for a limited time."