Never Give In To Sales Pressure & False Urgency

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Salespeople come in all sizes, shapes, colors and products, but they all come in with the same playbook and the same tactics. One of those tactics, whether it’s your traditional car salesman or a less-salesperson-like lender or loan officer, is the utilization of pressure to get you to act. The pressure may come in the form of an artificial sense of urgency brought on by a “spectacular” offer that you must accept within the next fifteen minutes or it could be psychological pressure preying on your fear of the unknown. Whatever it is, remember that you are holding onto the money, they are holding onto the product, and they want you to trade on their terms. Don’t do it because you feel it’s a “chance of a lifetime” because it isn’t… remember it is their profession to sell.

Have you ever heard of the story of someone who went into a store to buy one product and left with a more expensive product because the salesperson “talked them into it” as if they had no control in the matter? Did the salesman prey on their fear of the unknown to pressure them into doing something they didn’t want to? How about the loan officer who, in giving great terms, gets a borrower to borrow more than they originally intended? (“It’s such a great rate, you might as well take out as much as you can to take advantage! I’ve never seen such a low rate, you must have a spotless credit history!”)

Let me share an anecdote with you… when I requested quotes for my replacement windows, I talked to three companies and received three relatively similar quotes. In each instance, they offered a “same day deal” in which they would give me a great promotional rate if I signed on the dotted line that day. One quote for the job was $12,000 but the “same day deal” rate was $10,000 – a huge 20% difference! It was the deal of a lifetime! 20% off just for agreeing to do it today? I held off though and the salesman said that he’d give me that rate if I returned within a week. The next day, I met another salesman… again the same tactic. The third one, well, he did the same tactic as well but he happened to be the cheapest at $7,000 so he took it. Had I given in to the false urgency and signed with the first guy, I would’ve overpaid by at least $3,000. This fake urgency? It happens all the time.

Remember the motivation – they want to sell. If they spend three hours with you and don’t get a deal, they just lost three hours. If they spend three hours with you and they sell you a service or a product at cost, they at least covered their costs and those three hours aren’t negative. They don’t need to make huge profits, they just need to make their costs and thus they need to sell more than you need buy. You can wait a day and it would probably cost you nothing – they wait a day and that’s a day of revenue they aren’t getting. That’s why they want you to act now, today, right this minute… not tomorrow or next week. So, don’t give into sales pressure and don’t believe the false sense of urgency that salesmen are trained to create. If you avoid that, you can save yourself a lot of money.

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Never Give In To Sales Pressure & False Urgency”

  1. Anne says:

    I recently went with an apartment service to look at a few apartments. One was in a high-rise building with all kinds of glitzy (read: yuppified) amenities. I really hated the building and the unit, but was polite in front of the property manager. After the tour, the property manager told my apartment broker, right in front of me of course, that she really needed a decision that night because there was someone else who’d expressed an interest but “out of fairness” she would give me first dibs because I’d called her first. I could see what she was doing, but again bit my tongue instead of giving her my emphatic “no” right then and there!

  2. Jon says:

    I would have agreed with your blog today wholeheartedly five years ago, before I entered sales as a profession. I think in a commodity market you may be correct, but for other things, your comment “they all come in with the same playbook and the same tactics” is quite offensive. When you are purchasing a commodity- windows, for instance- your natural tendency (and the right one) is generally to go with the best price. I guess a salesperson in that arena knows if you spend much time looking, you could find a better price.

    However, many of us in the sales profession are consultants during a complex sales process. My company creates niche software with a potential market of less than 1,000 buyers. The average sales cycle is over one year. My training brought me to realize every sale must be a “win-win” outcome. In other words, my company gains a new customer, and the customer gains a better way of operating. We aren’t a perfect fit 100% of the time, and it is my job (definitely hard to do, but necessary) to qualify each and every prospect. I’ve told potential customers many times that they just aren’t a good fit for us. It’s not necessarily based on the functionality they need but instead on their business philosophies. We want to do business with people who will be good customers and make great references.

    So I kindly suggest you take a step back and realize not all salespeople are out to get you. During that year of evaluating, I develop solid relationships with our future customers. It’s all about building trust in them and consulting them on how we can help. The last thing I want to do in a situation like this is to throw out that relationship by dangling an artificial carrot.

    By the way, my company competes with about 13 others in this market. We have the most expensive product, yet 7 times out of 10 we get the business. When I say “expensive”, I mean the difference between a $600,000 sale and a $350,000 one.

    • lee66 says:

      “It’s all about building trust in them and consulting them on….” I agree with you Jon, there is more to learn in these comments than the story, luckily enough for the author, there seems to be more people reading and commenting who live in a real world. The real eye opener is that some people really do need that gentle persuasion to help them make an educated decision, If the sales professional knows the market and where their product is ranked, why wouldn’t they give a little push to help the uneducated prospect! its all about trust and honesty not pressure keep it REAL 100% and 1:1.2

  3. jim says:

    I wrote my comments above directed towards the typical sales folks that most consumers will be dealing with, retail sales where the recurring sale is unimportant – its commission and it’s now. B2B is a different creature but you’re absolutely certain there isn’t a playbook? Walk into a bookstores and look in sales. Search on Amazon for “selling” and you’ll see 252,687 results.

    In sales one builds relationships, identifies the needs of the client and identifies the urgency and severity of that need in order to close a sale. Are you building these relationships for no reason? Of course not, it’s to sell a $600,000 product.

    I’m by no stretch saying all salespersons are trying to score that one sale and not the recurring one built off a strong trusting relationship, I’m just saying that there is a subset that will drive hard in order to close and that consumers need to be aware of what’s going on. I also don’t think of salespersons in a negative way or that they’re slime-balls, they’re doing their job and if they’re doing it well, that’s laudable. A consumer has as much responsibility and accountability in the transaction as the salesperson.

    • Pix says:

      Regarding sales pressure, you are both correct. Having worked in a service and retail industry, yes, most traditional sales people are under a lot of pressure to make a sale and are trained how to.

      However there are also many sales people, often very successful who have learned to provide service to their clients – who usually seek out a salesperson – It’s pretty individual really. Those sales people don’t use the urgency tactic, because they know that rapport with the client will create a loyal bond, where the client relies on you and trusts you. But the urgency’s real and it’s old-school.

  4. Ben says:

    I call this false sense of urgency the “Don’t Miss Out” sales tactic. If a salesperson can make you feel as if you might miss out by passing up their offer then they’ve got you hooked.

  5. Greg says:

    “retail sales where the recurring sale is unimportant – its commission and it’s now”

    That’s simply not true. I’m a retail sales person (I sell high-end electronics). Recurring sales are a substantial part of my business (not as much as single-purchase, but still). It’s true that I’d rather have cash in hand than wait for you to make your mind, but if I pressure too much to buy today, I know I’m just going to lose my sale to those dorks at Best Buy that make $9 an hour.

  6. John says:

    “but if I pressure your TOO much”— youre still pressuring people but just not too much right?

    I mean.. people (most) realize that its all just BS. Personaly…I think its just an outright LIE if no realy urgency exists thats why you have to CREATE it!!!!! If you ask salespeople, they wont even its a lie but just misleading…same thing isnt it? In the retail environment, I believe salespeople are there to provide HELP with a purchase but since they get paid on commission they have to pressure you. Look, noone even likes commercials so why do think people dont have the greatest respect for salespeople, especialy the ones that wont leave you alone. In reference to non-retail sales, I will admit, I have succumbed to the pressure of salespeople…when I was younger and stupid. Logicaly, if you want to buy something, the normal thing to do would be to shop around for it and decide which brand, type, store etc is best for you. So, who do salespeople sell to exactly? Especialy with the advent of the internet and abudance of information? Are there that many gullible people out there? As soon as you see or think of a salesperson, the first thing that comes to my mind is PRESSURE. What if commission based sales was replaced with a salary to help, educate, inform, advise people on a purchase WITHOUT having the pressure of meeting the quota which is inadvertently transfered to the customer….oh yeah…I forgot, that job already exist….its called customer service.

    • lee66 says:

      Making a decision today will save you the heart ache of losing out to the person who thought about it yesterday and has now made their decision today to purchase the product that you wanted to think about until tomorrow! In a retail environment where there are 100’s of products the same, sure, surf the net , get on the phone, barter, price match and compare, but if you are thinking about an item that is a 1 off, or is very limited then a professional “sales” person would be your best friend, one who knows the market, one who knows and understands your needs, one who has listened intently to YOUR intention, your desire, your want and or your purpose, the real pressure is you and your greed, your want of a gain and your fear of a loss, you didn’t succumb to pressure you gave into your own desire nobody made you do anything ! you cant sell something without a need or desire
      Why turn it around because some choose people as a profession and are willing to take their time to ask YOU questions and LISTEN to YOUR answers
      Customer service is not a job its a character trait of the real professional!
      by the way John, tell me what you need , and I will bend over backwards to help you get the BEST product service location size colour price what ever …
      FOR A FEE! A.K.A commission

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