Tricks Salespeople Use to Get You To Spend More Money

Have you ever gone to a store to buy a DVD and walked out with a new TV, not entirely sure how it happened? Ok, so that’s an extreme example but a clever salesperson can have us buying items we had no intention of purchasing without even knowing what hit us.

We feel guilty, embarrassed and ashamed of our stupidity as we leave, Tivo in hand, knowing we’ve not only blown our budget but probably fallen for the oldest tricks in the book.

Here are the tactics the salespeople use. Learn to spot them and don’t succumb!


Technically, prospecting is not a “trick”, rather it is what a good salesperson should do. The aim is to assess the customer through a series of questions, establishing what they are looking for, what they don’t want and what their budget is. Essentially, whether they are a good sale prospect.

Once they have ascertained this information, the salesperson should help match you to an item that suits your needs and hey presto, sale accomplished. But it’s never that simple, is it? Salespeople have targets to meet and even though you say you’re browsing, they’re not always happy to leave it at that.

The Pick Up Line

You might notice, many conversations in stores don’t begin with “Hello, how are you?” anymore. This is because the customer can simply reply, “fine” and that’s the end of that. More and more stores these days are employing the “have you seen this product?” greeting or the more insidious, “I like your shoes/tie/watch, where’d you get that?” both of which are designed to steer you in to a conversation which inevitably leads to having a product pushed on you.

Watch out for these bait and hook one-liners and be firm with yourself that no matter what they say, you know why you’re there and you’re not afraid to say so.


Benchmarking is a practice whereby the seller prices one item at a high price (setting the benchmark) and then offers a similar item at a much lower price. Regardless of the items’ actual value, the buyer is lured into thinking they have found a real bargain.

Many stores engage in this practice, particularly to increase sales on their own in-house brands. Do your research before you go shopping and you’ll know a real bargain when you see one.

The Up-Sell

Examples of upselling are everywhere. Buying a camera? “Ohh, you’ll need an SD card too”. An iPod? “Better get the extended warranty!” And of course, the classic, “Do you want fries with that?”. But upselling is not always so obvious.

If you go to a store not really knowing what you want, quite often the salesperson will show you a premium brand, hoping you’ll take the bait. Always ask if there’s a cheaper brand and what the differences are or, better yet, study up before leaving the house and catch them in the act.

The Closer

It wouldn’t exactly sound enticing if a salesperson finished with a, “sooo… do you want it or not?” Instead, good sellers will ask indirect questions like, “can I wrap that up for you?”, “shall I place this at the counter for you?” or the less subtle, “how would sir like to pay for that?”. The trick of course, is that these questions do not allow for the possibility of a “no” answer.

Don’t fall victim to the game, simply reply as though they have asked if you want the item. A simple, “oh, I’m going to need to think about it” or “I’m not certain I want this item” will do. And if you’ve said yes? Don’t be afraid to change your mind! Right up until the moment you’ve paid, you have an absolute right to say you’ve thought about it and you don’t want the item anymore. After all, you’re the customer and the customer is always right. Right?

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