How to be a savvy buyer

We’ve all been there, when you feel like you are getting sucked in by a salesperson. You know they don’t have your best interests at heart, but you can’t help but believe what they are saying. It all sounds so good! Then you may have buyer’s remorse, or the product or service doesn’t live up to the inflated expectations you have. Either way, you become more wary of the sales interaction, but don’t know what to do next time to make sure you are a happy customer.

First, not all salespeople are just out to make a sale. The good ones do have your best interest at heart and will be honest with you. They will even sacrifice a sale to ensure that you are happy. But how do you tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones?

Ask questions, lots of questions.

“Which one of these products is a better fit for me, why?” If they say you could go with either one, they might be stringing you along. If they can answer and they identify something about your specific needs, that’s a great sign. If the product they are recommending is cheaper, that’s a bonus. It means they would rather have a happy customer who’s willing to come back than make a larger commission one time only. In fact, I love hearing the words, “You don’t need all those bells and whistles.” Ask questions, open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) to make sure the salesperson understands your needs and is giving you solid advice.

Do your research.

Many customers research ahead of time, and this is a great strategy. A little bit of education goes a long way in feeling more comfortable about a purchasing decision or a long-term relationship with a salesperson. Know which features speak to your needs, how much is too much (both in terms of features and cost) and know how the competition stacks up. This will empower you to go somewhere else if you know you will find a better fit or deal. Being empowered means you don’t need to work with this particular person, but you may find you want to if the fit is right.

Get to know who you’re working with.

Especially if this is going to be a long-term relationship, take the time to get to know the sales professional. Do you like them, do you trust them? It’s not unlike dating or making a new friend. You want to make sure there is synergy beyond the fact that you need what they are selling, and they need customers. It will only enhance the experience for both of you. And who knows what it will lead to down the road. A trusted colleague might result in referrals for one or both of you.

The sales interaction doesn’t have to be scary. It’s a beautiful thing when you find someone who understands you and that you can trust. That should be the goal when you find someone to do business with, whether you’re on the purchasing or the sales end of the equation.

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