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MCS Equipment - Intelligent Shopping

1. Industrial vs Consumer Goods
2. How To Shop Intelligently

2. How To Shop Intelligently

We are very vulnerable to the smooth talking salesman when we want something so bad we can almost taste it, and have little energy to ask questions. Most can sense that, your confusion, and move in to sell that expensive obsolete unit the boss has the bonus on.

How can you avoid being taken like that? Simple, don't be there when you are tired. Use the phone so they can't see you. Call around and let each salesman tell you what he thinks is important. Soon, you'll see where the truth lays.

Phase 1: Research via Phone

Write your questions down. Don't know something? Write it down as a question. Even if you don't know what it is you are looking for, state what questions you can, often asking for comparisons between features or products that you know, then you can see what features and measurements good sales people talk about. You can refine those questions as you learn more over the phone during phase one.

Call around to several places with your questions. Buy nothing that day. You are just doing research.

Ask the salesman his name and write it down. Ask him to spell his name, even if it is simple, then ask for his extension number. (Do this even if you are there in person.) Why? Because it tells him you are interested, and will ask for him when you come in. If he's on commission, he will see it as money in his pocket and will be willing to spend more time with your questions.

Write down the salesman's answers next to his name. Your taking notes also tells him he has to be careful to tell the truth, or more of it than usual. You will either want to see him again, or avoid him, depending upon his answers.

Unsure about the importance of a feature, or what something means? Ask. Often one salesman will say one thing is very important, and another will say that something else is important. If you have these things written down, you can why the other salesman said whatever he said. And if the salesman you are talking to calls the other salesman an idiot, you know the idiot is probably the guy you are talking to. Decent salesmen focus on features and benefits, not personalities. ("Well, some might say this XYZ is important, but when you measure..." instead of "That guy? He doesn't know what he's talking about! I went to school on this thing!" Yes, his "school" was probably a 1 minute lecture by the sales manager..."It has a fan, it has a filter. It cleans the air. Now Go Sell It! And I'll give the guy who sells that old obsolete model a 5 percent bonus!" I've been in those "shools" myself.) Calling the other guy an idiot is what those who are ignorant or have inferior products often resort to.

Like I say, I've worked behind the counter a few times. Quite frankly, I couldn't stand it. I enjoy solving problems, not creating them the way most of the big ticket, single sale item salesmen are prone to. If the thing is going to "own" you, if someone tells you this thing is "the only way to solve your problem", look for another way of solving the problem. Rare is a problem with only one solution!

Phase 2

Sleep on it at least one night, then refine your questions. Of those who answered the specific questions you asked, call the more informed people back and ask more questions. Write down the answers. Do this till you know what you want, and what features are important.

Phase 3, The Buy

Now that you have only one or two stores to visit, and you know about the features, it's a lot easier to decide.

Don't try to buy the cheapest just because it is the cheapest. Buy what looks like it will work from the salesman who is the more honest and better informed. He will usually give you the best long term support. On many of these products, it's the support or supplies that will cost far more than the price difference between the cheapest product and a decent product.

Remember, it isn't about the best price; it's about the best results!

-J-   (John,
CAUTION: I'm no doctor, I only tell computers what to do.
Nothing in this document should be construed as medical advice.
My opinions are subject to the availability of information.
I learn new things each day, and so may change my opinions.

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