A few months ago we found ourselves in a situation where a guy was using high pressure sales tactics against us. We are now a few months removed, and are certain that person was attempting to sell us something we didn’t need (or want)! Luckily, we navigated it well and avoided paying them a penny. This article is all about the eight steps to take if you find yourself someone trying to use high pressure sales tactics on you.
9 Steps to Get Yourself out of a High Pressure Sales Tactics Situation!
1. Be Skeptical Anytime Someone is Trying to Sell You Something You Didn’t Ask them to Sell You
I’m skeptical by nature so this step comes very naturally to me. It is not natural for many.
In my old line of audit work we used the phrase “trust but verify” ad nauseum. This phrase can also apply to any type of sales situation. The crux of this phrase is to not assume that someone is lying to you. It’s that you listen to what they have to say respectfully. Take them at face value, but if what they are telling you is contradictory to facts you think you know or you have no clue if what they are saying is true, you verify it through other means.
So, when you walk into any sales situation, don’t just take what someone says at face value. Be cautious and be willing to research information to verify what you are being told.
2. Ask Questions and Listen to Responses When Someone is Using High Pressure Sales Tactics
Asking questions is the second best skill you can have if someone is trying to use high pressure sales tactics against you. The first one: listening. I have audited hundreds of firms and individuals in the investment industry. Many of these were in my mid-20s. I could play the dumb, young girl so well (I’m not dumb, but it was a tactic that worked over, and over again). Professionals thought that by using big words, what they were saying would go right over my head. Sometimes they used jargon that I didn’t understand, but I took notes and went back to step number 1 to verify what they said. Because I was listening, very carefully, I made a number of fantastic cases against individuals throughout my career.
The same rings true in the consumer world. We were purchasing a car about five years ago. The guy put the “sale sheet” in our hands. He pointed to a sales number at one place on the page and boasted about how he was giving us a great deal on the car we were looking at. He let me hang on to the paper for too long… there were two additional discounts he wasn’t giving us that we were eligible for. I pointed those out to him and we got the discounts (it took us walking out of the dealership), but nonetheless we got the two additional discounts.
If you are doing the majority of the talking in a sales situation, I think it’s a mistake. Make your goals known but then ask questions and listen to the information being provided. That is how you get information and move forward to making a decision.
3. Don’t Agree to or Sign Anything
“No.” It’s a complete sentence. Remember that any time you are asked to sign something that you do not want to sign. If someone is asking something of you that you do not feel comfortable with or confident that it is the right answer for you do not agree to it. Remember you are the one with the power. You are the one that says yes or no.
Don’t feel guilty that you feel like you are wasting their time, because taking more time to ensure they aren’t wasting your money is much more important.
4. Physically Remove Yourself from the Situation
It gets harder and harder to say no as someone is continuing to ask and prod and pry. When you have enough information from the person or the conversation feels as if it is going in circles, it’s time to physically remove yourself from the situation. Physically giving yourself space to think things through, to do your own research, etc., is important.
People who use high pressure sales tactics are highly trained. They have experience answering questions in certain ways, they have training on how to read people and to appeal to different types of people in different ways.
This is easier when you are in someone else’s space as you can get up and walk out. It can feel a little trickier if someone is in your space. In today’s world of work-from-home with the pandemic it is a lot easier to say I have a work call that I need to jump on or I have something else I need to see about. Tell them you’ll call them when you are ready to have further communications.
5. Give Yourself Time to Breathe
After you leave a high pressure sales tactics situation, give yourself time to simply breath. Your head may be spinning with a lot of information and emotion. You need time to let everything settle.
If it helps you can take time to write down conversation notes so you remember what was discussed better! Sometimes when your emotions are rolling it is easier to act in ways that are not logical. So, give yourself time and space. Remind yourself that you don’t have to make a decision the minute you or they walk out of the door.
6. Review Knowledge Provided by Reputable Resources
When you are ready to verify what you’ve been told after going through the high pressure sales tactics, take time to review information from reputable resources. I emphasis reputable, because as Dr. Thia would say, “We are drowning in information, but starved for knowledge.”
There are a number of reputable resources. A couple of our favorites are AARP and Consumer Reports. You may have other resources you’ve vetted and appreciate. While it’s easy to get sucked into comment boards and other websites with catchy headlines, the information on them is reliable and can send you into another tailspin if you aren’t careful.
7. Get a Second, Even Third Opinion
The power of a second, and even a third opinion in really important situations (like in major health decisions) is real. You may do your research online and feel confident and ready to move forward; however, if you still aren’t sure if the high pressure sales tactics are to get you to do something not in your favor, a second opinion typically costs little to nothing and can give you information you may not have known otherwise.
If at a minimum the second opinion is the same as the first, you have more confidence that the outcome is the reality. Additionally, it may give you a clear idea of who you want to work with going forward and give you room to negotiate on price.
Last fall we had a termite inspector come through our house. He told us we needed to do treatment based off of what was going on in the yard next to us (yes he trespassed in our neighbors yard!). We got a second opinion that cost us nothing and we got a much more seasoned perspective on the situation. The individual showed us actual termite tunnels. We were able to knock them down and confirm that there were no termites and that it was leftover from what the previous homeowners had already treated before we moved in.
If it weren’t for the second opinion we may have spent a lot of money upfront and on annual maintenance costs. That free second opinion was valuable financially and from a peace of mind perspective as well!
8. Allow Time to Pass
There may be things that you can’t wait to make a decision on. Remind yourself that you are making the best decision you can based on the information you have at the time. You won’t get it 100% correct every time, but give yourself grace for doing your best. Because that’s really all we can do, right?
If it’s not a situation where you need to make an immediate decision, give yourself the power of time. Sometimes having a little more time can change your perspective. BUT! Don’t wait too long! Give yourself a week or a month if reasonable, and then take action so you can get on with Living.
9. Take Appropriate Action
Once you’ve considered all of the above, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is so to speak. You’ve done everything you can to make the best decision you can. If you have been through a high pressure sales situation and after all of the above have come to terms that what the person was recommending was in fact the best move for you, move forward (maybe find someone to move forward with that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck stand up) but nevertheless move forward.
If you have realized above that you’re not buying what the person was selling, let them know and move on with what matters more to you. Shut the door with the person, so that you don’t have to go through a back-and-forth on a regular basis.
Final Thoughts on High Pressure Sales Tactics
After going through all of the above you have successfully navigated yourself to ensure you aren’t being taken advantage of by someone using high pressure sales tactics (like what is used in pump and dump schemes!) . It’s exhausting to be a consumer in today’s world, wondering if what someone else is recommending is truly in your best interest. While it can be warring at times, stick in the fight. It’s good for you financially and so that you have peace of mind at the end of the day.
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