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Thomas Sanderson

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Conservatories Buyers Guide - Tricks of the trade and how to avoid them

This is by no means a comprehensive list. These are just a few of the "tricks" sometimes employed. If you are aware of them then you will hopefully not be deceived. I will be adding more to this page in the future. In the meantime if you have any "scams" that you think are worth exposing - please contact me.

Tactic No 1

The following is referred to as "Sweeping" in the trade.

Quite a number of companies use this tactic on every job in which the salesperson doesn't "close".

Firstly you are offered a price far too high to be competitive (which is followed by one or two hours of further reducing the price/closing with special offers etc). You the customer say, "I'll let you know", or something similar.

A day or so later, the sales manager phones you to say that either you are such a prize catch (show house) or that they have reached their monthly targets, and we can afford to drop the last quoted price. However don't tell the salesperson etc. we'll cut their commission out of the equation. Now you have what you may consider a sensible price.

Sometimes a variation that is used is for the sales manager to call in a "customer care mode". This time the manager enquires on the salesperson's behaviour, appearance and quality of explanation etc. You are quite naturally impressed that the company cares about such things and before you know it the sales manager is approaching you with another great offer!

I only make the above point so that you may be aware of what could be going on during the "sale process". While the above may seem rather odd and the "ethics" are questionable I know that these companies would point out its not unusual in commercial dealings for companies to come back with revised or better offers.

Tactic No 2

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 time 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.

Tactic No 3

More Discounts!!!!!

Discounts of varying percentages and for varying reasons are almost always available if you shop around. Here are just a few of the "reasons for discounts" that are currently doing the rounds.

* Our salesperson could not make it so I - the sales manager/commercial manager/trade sales manager have come instead. Therefore you will not be paying for any sales commission, as I will put order through at a trade price etc. Also can you please make a decision now as I am a very busy person and I will not be able to call out next time? Fail to buy now and we will have to send out the sales person and off course the price will be higher.

* If you agree to an installation board outside we will give a discount. This offer is quite common and while I'm sure there are some genuine offers I have got the impression that there are some companies who make this offer with every sale. Speaking personally I find this offer more "believable" when the discount offered is smaller - for instance I know of one small retailer (who doesn't have a showroom) who offers a discount of a couple of hundred pounds if a client will allow him to use their installation for SHOWROOM purposes. He also "argues" that because he has offered a SHOWROOM discount its even more important that the work he carries out will be of the highest standards.

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