How to Avoid Manipulative Sales Tactics

February 28, 2020

Our most recent show, “Top 3 Money Traps to Avoid By Age!,” is about different money traps you’ll likely face at every age and how to avoid them. Many of the traps involve different tactics used by advertisers and salespeople to convince you to buy something.

We discussed on the show how your pride and fear can be used against you; sales tactics involving pride tell you to reward yourself because you deserve, and fear says ‘buy me’ to save yourself from something undesirable, such as pain. Lies and manipulation are common in sales; lies may be small or big, but any sort of dishonesty about the product you’re buying can be considered a mistruth or manipulation. Invisible social contracts create goodwill in order to get something from you in return; they may give you a free sample or something else of value with the expectation that you’ll make a purchase from them to reciprocate.

You might think you’re too smart to fall for any of these sales tactics. After all, you know better, right? There’s no way you could be tricked into buying something.

Chances are you’ve fallen victim to every single one of these sales tactics without noticing. In fact, it may have even been a positive experience. Have you ever taken a free sample at the grocery store and ended up buying the product being sampled? You’ve fallen victim to the invisible social contract sales tactic. Have you ever bought something on Amazon and the item wasn’t quite the same as advertised? You probably fell victim to the mistruth and manipulation tactic. Have you ever rewarded yourself for accomplishing a goal by buying something you really want? Or have you ever made a purchase out of a fear that something bad would happen in the future? You may have fallen victim to the pride and fear sales tactic.

Falling victim to sales tactics isn’t always a bad thing, and you can still make good purchasing decisions while being influenced by marketers, advertisers, or salespeople. Here’s how you can make sure you’re making smart purchases while under the influence of sales tactics.

How to avoid the influence of pride and fear

You’re going to face sales tactics that use your pride and fear against you, so you need to know how to handle them and what to look for. If you feel like you deserve a product that you don’t really need, your pride is probably being used against you. Anytime you notice this happening, take a moment to consider if it’s something you need, want, and that you can afford. If the answer is yes to all three of those questions, you can probably go ahead with the purchase.

Fear is used against those with health problems, the elderly, and parents with children. Some fears affect everyone, like the recent spread of the coronavirus. What may seem like an unfortunate or tragic event to you is seen by some as a sales opportunity. To avoid making purchases solely out of fear, you need to make big purchases when you’re in a calm state of mind. If you are panicking while pushing the “Complete Purchase” button, it’s probably a good idea to take some extra time to consider whether or not your purchase is reasonable or if it’s motivated by an irrational fear of an unlikely event occurring.

Don’t fall victim to lies and manipulation

Mistruths and manipulations are everywhere in sales and advertising. Promises are regularly made and broken, and products often seem too good to be true. It’s usually best to only purchase from companies or salespeople that are upfront and honest about the product they’re selling. If they know they have a great product that people want, they aren’t afraid to be honest about what they’re selling and the value it can add to your life. Evaluate what you’re buying and make sure the claims made about the product are reasonable and sound truthful, and if anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How to get out of an invisible social contract

Some personality types fall victim to invisible social contracts more often than others. Many of us feel compelled to “return the favor” when we are given something for free. Salespeople know this, and they’ll often give away a sample or trial of their product in hopes that you’ll be more likely to purchase more after you’ve gotten some for free. If you often fall victim to invisible social contracts, you may want to avoid freebies and samples altogether. Always keep in mind that you’re never obligated to purchase anything, and if someone is giving out something for free they know that not everyone is going to make a purchase. Don’t feel guilty about receiving something for free and not offering anything back in return.

You can learn more about all of these sales tactics (and some bonus ones) on our most recent show. Learn which tactics you’re most likely to see by age, examples of products you’ll be sold, and how to avoid them. Watch the full show now on YouTube below.

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