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Thomas Sanderson

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Getting What You Want

Or buying what you want rather than what the salesperson wants to sell you!

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Sometimes the greatest single challenge in buying any product is making sure you get what you really want rather than what the salesperson or their company wants to sell you. It is easy to run down the salesperson and make them out to be less than ethical. For every "deceiver" there are many good honest salespeople just doing their best to make a living, like the rest of us! So please don't see this section as a bit of a "downer" on salespeople. I am just pointing out some of the Tricks of the Trade I have come across so that you may be aware of them and hopefully avoid them.

Now I'm assuming you have done your research and have a pretty good idea of what you want. You know what you want to use it for, you have a size in mind, you have perhaps spoken to some companies and have had varying and conflicting feedback. On this page I will detail some of the most common "confusions" that exist. They are not in any particular order.

No 1: We don't do Glass Roofs or recommend them: This often comes up - especially with the less specialised companies. Quite simply the costs of a glass roof are much greater than those of polycarbonate and the salesperson perhaps wrongly thinks they are less likely to get a sale. It is also more difficult to install glass roofs and the companies who are more interested in quick turn over are less keen on them. It is worth remembering that glass roofs are less noisy than polycarbonate in rain showers. Speaking personally - glass roofs combined with Pilkington "K" glass is the natural choice for a conservatory roof and represent, in the long term, a better investment.

No 2: Pilkington "K" glass makes the conservatory to hot in the summer months: This is a complete exaggeration. Pilkington "K" glass works at its best when there is a significant differential in temperature between inside and out as would be the case in winter.

No 3: This design is not possible: Very few designs are impossible. More often the salesperson, whom you should remember often has quite limited technical experience, does not know how it is done. The answer here is to ask more companies to design and quote. Look out for companies that specialise in bespoke designs and difficult sites.

No 4: We don't recommend Hardwood or PVCu or Aluminium: This happens when a company has a limited product range. If you only do Aluminium then quite naturally you will not give a glowing reference for Hardwood. For this reason I much prefer to deal with "broker" type companies who supply all the ranges.

No 5: This Special Offer only holds good for one visit only (variations are offers ending this weekend, month etc): This is often referred to in sales circles as the FCD - First Call Discount. Basically it is to put pressure on you to make a buying decision now. Fail to buy now and you lose the discount! With very few exceptions I would always recommend "sleeping" on any buying decision. The only occasion a time-specific-discount can be relevant is when you are buying an Ex Display model or something that is End-of-range. That is the only time I can think of. My suggestion is don't go for it unless you are truly confident you are getting the deal of a life time.

On the other hand there is of course a variation of the above which you can use in negotiating. It is based on the fact that you are buying in a very competitive market place, a market place which you can turn to your advantage. You can even, if you wish, use this on the companies who offered you a discount on the first visit only (although I'm not sure I would want to do business with them). Now provided you have more or less chosen the company you want to use, contact the salesperson or the sales manager and explain you are just about ready to buy. Explain that you still feel their price or specification is not quite as good as you would like it to be. Put the pressure on them for a change - make an offer (lets say 3% - 6% - maximum of 10%) below what they quoted. Or perhaps ask them to include one of the extras in the base price. Explain you have the money in place and are ready to make a decision. You may be very pleased with their response. What have you to lose? - even if they do not budge - which frankly is unlikely you will know you have got the very best deal possible. Chances are very high that you will save some money. Please only do this if you are really confident you want to buy from this company. Also you must be ready to make a choice. I don't think it is good to trade companies off against each other so I would only do it with a company whom I really wanted to use (that's speaking personally again).

I know the last paragraph may seem a little odd for some of us and perhaps it is not for everybody. If you don't feel comfortable with it do please, at least, be aware that a lot of companies will feel comfortable using similar tactics on you.

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