How to Abuse Salespeople for Fun and Profit

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Aaron_Meyers, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. Aaron_Meyers

    Aaron_Meyers Auditioning

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    I recently left a position with a certain yellow tag consumer electronics company as sales manager. I thought it would be fun to pass on a bit of info on CE retailers to level the playing field. Please keep in mind that it is a playing field. They want you to buy the most stuff for the most money and you want to spend as little as possible. Whoever plays the game the best wins.

    If you go to Best Buy do so last. They are non-commission and frown heavily on deal making. Including service plans and accessories in the price of the main item is called inboarding and they fire people for it on the first offense. Unless you give them an out. Business cards from other retailers like ABC, Fry's, Circuit City, and Sears are gold there. Go to a couple different places no matter what your price range.

    ABC is a good place to start. They are very competitive and will slit their own throats if the think you're a cross-shopper.

    Sears will match internet pricing. It's supposed to be from a set list but it's up to the manager there. Hit them on a slow day and you could probably get a match from a friends email.

    Consider open items, especially if you normally by extended service agreements. You can save hundreds of dollars because someone bought a tv without consulting his wife or measuring his space. Very few are returned for defects. look for service stickers, heavy damage, or missing remotes. Those did go to service. Service centers always lose those and beat the stuff up.

    Always mention the service plan up front. "Now, I can get an extended warranty on this can't I?" is much better than "I never buy those things." or "My brother fixes tvs so don't even talk to me about warranties." Those lines are designed to be arrogant and you don't slap your buddy before you ask for money, do you? Watch the face of your salesperson. Cocker spaniels can't show love like that. If you don't buy the plans or your brother does own a tv shop, please wait until the end. They will hate you but they can't take back the sale.

    Even high end stores wheel and deal. Use internet pricing and don't be intimidated. They are very good, most of them, or they wouldn't be trusted selling 100 inch screens. The regular market is picking up on their techniques regarding shmoozing. Best Buy trains on it and calls it care plus. They will talk about your kids and the room and what you like to watch. It helps make sure you don't buy a 65" TV for a 10 x 10 room but it puts you off guard because you're talking about your favorite topic. Yourself. You already have friends and you want them sitting in front of your tv while you brag about how much you saved.

    Remember markup on tvs, well tvs worth buying, runs about 25%. New Technology is even higher. The Phillips 42 inch plasma is cost $4500 and Best Buy sells it for 7 large. The 5490 6.1 yamaha receiver is $800 and cost is $350. Speakers run at almost 50% markup. If you say "I bought a $6500 Sony tv and you paid $6500 they got you. If you paid under $6000 you did your homework. Most tvs in a commission store nab the sales person 7% and service plans 10-15% I think. If the sales person makes $455 or $420 dollars plus whatever money from the service plan, which do you think they prefer. And finacialy you just added theater seaing or a set of rear channels or about 20 dvds. Please do your homework. Service plan=smiles, business cards=printing your own money.
     
  2. Brad Craig

    Brad Craig Stunt Coordinator

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    So in best buy's case , would you show them the card of a opposing electronic store and give them a price you were quoted???
    Or does flashing the card work???
    Good tips by the way... [​IMG]
     
  3. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    I agree, great tips. I will definitely use a few of these when I go to buy my RPTV this year. Thanks
     
  4. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

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    That's awesome Aaron. Thanks for the tips! The yellow tag store was the last place I thought I'd be able to talk down. [​IMG]
     
  5. Aaron_Meyers

    Aaron_Meyers Auditioning

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    Brad,
    Get a quote from a few different places. You could probably flash a few cards and they might move a bit. Best Buy has what's called permanent promo and lowest sale price, which is the lowest price that they have offered it. Anyone on the floor can look it up and you can get that price pretty easily. Any lower and you will need proof. You can always get out of a store by saying you have to get the wife's permission. [​IMG]
     
  6. jack pollard

    jack pollard Auditioning

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    Aaron;

    Thanks!! For some of the very BEST advice I have seen! Really appreciate it, you just saved me $100's of bucks!!

    Jack
     
  7. Aaron_Meyers

    Aaron_Meyers Auditioning

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    Really!?!

    Tell me about it when you get a chance.
     
  8. Matt Weldy

    Matt Weldy Second Unit

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    It is possible to talk best buy down. I did this when I bought my RPTV. I talked them down enough to offset the price of the extended warranty. Which is all I had in mind to accomplish before I went into the store. I believe it helps if your there when the full time employment is there. Which usually falls during normal working hours. The weekend high school/college students read from a manual if you will.
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Aaron. Welcome to HTF!
    One of our "guilty pleasures" is complaining about poorly informed sales people. So it could be refreshing to hear you post your "Joe 6 pack" stories, or "Techno Geek who interupts the sale" experiences. (I did apologize and they said I could come back after six months [​IMG] )
    We also have a "Retail and Wholesale Feedback fourm" that might interest you. Although not as focused as "Best Buy Sux" website, your expertise/viewpoint would be welcome there as well.
     
  10. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I worked retail in electronics dept for a while. I would always feel embarassed after explaining something to somebody that's done their homework. Most of the time dads will bring in notes or printed internet papers. Usually if they do that, then they are eager to learn about the products since they have been researching them. Then I attempt to convince them what's the best for their case.

    I would always try to save the customer the most money. I did not get commission or any benefits for selling extra so I would mention every coupon and every sale item that might interest them.

    If a customer receives service that saves them a lot of money, they will often return to the store again. Sometimes looking for the salesman that saved them money.
     
  11. JakeR

    JakeR Stunt Coordinator

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    There's nothing wrong with asking about the next lowest sale price of an item, or if an offer for free delivery is incoming. Ditto for financing.

    My advice to people, coming from the perspective of a commission salesperson, is to never get belligerent, rude, or outright harrass a sales associate. People attempting to "cut deals" at my place of business are generally laughed at, either in a roundabout way or out loud. This would involve people coming in, looking at a clearance item, and "making an offer" of $200 for something originally priced at $999 and selling for $499.

    One customer seemed surprised that I had to charge her two installation fees for two different appliances. Since the installer was going to be at her house anyway...

    Cutting deals is not an option where I work. (Insert leading retailer's name here.) Yes, some things cost a fair amount less than what the ticketed price reflects. But in that profit margin, the cost of overhead needs to be covered. We also have the philosophy that no one should get any kind of better deal just because they talked to a particular salesperson or came in on the "right" day. Every customer gets the SAME treatment, depending on whatever sales or advertised specials are currently running. For 5 out of 10 people to get free delivery on any given day is downright unfair to the other half.

    Just treat people the way you would like to be treated. People who are nice to me get the same in return, along with commendable customer service. People who are rude or consider wheeling and dealing to be a foregone conclusion get far less than what the polite customers get, whether they realize it or not. And if anyone were to outright try to clown me (difficult, since I know my job), they can expect a fairly low level of attention for any potential delivery/damage/question situations that could arise in the future.

    Again, I'm not condemning those who just want the best possible price and offer they can get. That's just human nature, and I chase the same when I do my own shopping. But remember the difference between requesting and demanding.
     
  12. Aaron_Meyers

    Aaron_Meyers Auditioning

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    JakeR is right. Don't go in demanding a price. You won't get it and you aren't building a relationship. We used to call those people styrofoam, slang for white trash. Unreasonable demands are treated with apathy. Services like installation are usualy done by a third party and are non negotiable or less negotiable. Compare what different companies will do for you. Service plans, for example, vary widely in length, coverage, and price. Some limit the amount of repairs and some give you a partial refund if it isn't used. Knowledge is power.

    I will debate one issue regarding customer service after the sale. Some people will read my post and still think I mean to abuse sale people. Some people might have a minimum of interpersonal skills and don't know how to communicate effectively. Others, they might be going through a bad day. Tough for the salesperson. If someone buys from you and they have problems they get treated like everyone else and their problem gets resolved. The CEO of any leading retailer would demand nothing less. When somebody signs a check or a charge slip they enter into a contract to have money in their account and we as retailers by taking it have an obligation to provide them with a functional item within an agreed upon time. Service after the sale is the true test.

    If you are a customer and a sales person says hi and you point and say "I'll take one of those" you will get great, prompt and courteous customer service. You won't get the best service though because you just paid sticker price. On the other hand neither will the tool who comes in and bullies or talks down to a sales person with minute and esoteric product information. If you feel the sales person is from the shallow end of the gene pool or is one who thinks line doubler is slang for a slow cashier, thank them and buy someplace else. When I worked at Best Buy my store was one of the highest volume HD stores in the chain because we hired talent and only let talent sell them. Everybody else sold 27" tvs.

    Customer service philosophies are based on competition. Sales people are nice to you to encourage continued business. People like people who are nice to them. That's why nice sales people do well. But, companies like to make money. People like to save money. That's why you talk to different places. Cities get bids from companies to get the best price, why shouldn't you. Let them know. "Thank you, you've been very helpful. I want to look around before I spend this kind of money. When I come back I will only talk to you, Karl." We used to tell people that that was a great idea and that if they promised to come back we would promise to ensure they get the best deal. If the sales person is beligerent then you know better. Then look around. Then buy from the guy who you trust the most, since it is very possible you will talk to them again.
     
  13. Aaron_Meyers

    Aaron_Meyers Auditioning

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    I almost forgot a point of clarification. Just because you paid full price doesn't make you a sucker. I've kind of given that image I think. If demand is high or the item is a specialty item it may not be possible to save millions. I'm not selling learning tapes called "How to Abuse Salespeople for Fun and Profit", I'm stating that an informed shopper always wins and I don't just mean product knowledge. You also can't judge retailers by posts like these each store is different. In my area we have a Sears where you can get a full HD signal from cable. We also have an ABC where a customer had a cockroach run over her foot. And I've hired people that sounded good in an interview that I couldn't wait to fire. You don't know until you go.
     

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