How To Avoid Being Ripped Off By A Salesman

Posted on May 28, 2015

Ryan Stewman



The number 1 reason people don’t like salesmen is fear.  Fear of getting ripped off or sold something they don’t want or need.  It happens 100s if not 1000s of times every day.  People get sold and regret it. These are some ways I can show you how to avoid being ripped off!

More often than not, when this happens it is due to over promising from the salesman.   

Salesman tend to over promise for a few, selfish, reasons.  The first of those reasons is need. Not to be confused with greed, the need to make a sale is strong in the sales area.  After all, that’s why we were hired.  If we fail, we look like fools in front of the people who gave us a chance.

Another reason salesmen overpraise is lack of product/service knowledge.  This is especially rampant among newer people in sales.  The drive to make sales out weighs their experience and those two combined usually lead to unfulfilled promises.

I can say with a clear conscious, that most mistakes made in sales aren’t made to hurt the prospects or clients.  They mostly are made from lack of experience or false assumptions.

As salespeople, we have pressure from all over.  The pressure to earn and pay bills. The pressure from our managers to sell more.   The pressure from our prospects to sell them something.  Pressure makes diamonds, but it also breaks a lot of shit in the process.

This pressure can get to us after a while.  It can drive us to make mistakes, over exaggerate and other things we normally wouldn’t do.  That being said, no good salesman anywhere would trade a salary for pressure.

So what can you, the client, do when you are victim to the pressure of a salesman that did not deliver on the promises that were made?

First you can ask as many questions as you can think of BEFORE the sale is made.  If you make assumptions on how the process is supposed to go on your end without clarifying, you’re just as guilty as the salesman.

In sales, there should be no assumptions made by the salesman or the prospect.

In sales, we are taught that to be effective, we need to set expectations up front. These expectations can also be set by the prospect.  The more precise and clear you are up front, the less chance you have to be disappointed in the end.

Second, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.  As a master salesman, my bullshit radar is always on high alert.  I have salespeople reach out to me every day with outrageous offers that I know they can’t deliver on.

If I jumped on every offer that sounded awesome, I’d be broke and in victim mode by now.  Instead, I usually ask the hard questions that will give me the “uh well… uh… ok… I’m not sure” answers.  I’d rather everything be awkward up front, than me be out money AND in an awkward position.

Third, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.  More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask to speak with happy AND unhappy clients.  Usually, when you ask for testimonials, the sales guy will send you to his happiest and best clients.  Ask to speak with clients who are not happy.

If they tell you there are no unhappy clients – RUN!!!

By understanding the potential mistakes that could be made, and hearing someone that will give you their experience without it being all rainbows and sunshine, you can get an idea of what could go wrong, and be thinking about how to avoid or correct it.

By nature, we salesmen are people pleasers.  99% of the mistakes we make stem from the need to make those around us happy.  Most of us aren’t out there trying to rip our client base off. Most of us would bend over backwards to help our prospects have a better/easier way of life through buying from us.

You know the saying “If you try to please everyone, you’ll never be happy”? That saying could hold the key as to why so many salesmen have miserable existences.  Attempting to satisfy all customers, a boss, a family, and friends can take a toll on us.  Being a people pleaser is good when things are good and really hard when shit hits the fan.

Much like you, I’ve been ripped off by salesmen too.  From those that didn’t deliver, to those that didn’t pay.  Each time this has happened to me, I think back and realize it was my fault.  I let it happen.  After all, I should have set the expectations. I should have asked the hard questions and I should have investigated more.  Every time this has happened to me, I’ve learned from it and made sure it didn’t happen again.

If you’ve been ripped off by a salesmen, you need to see what role you played in it, and do your best not to let it happen again.  We all have free will and freedom to choose.  No salesman reaches in YOUR back pocket and pays himself.  You make the choice to pay. Before you make that choice next time, be sure you stay in control and know all the facts.

Let’s all agree, getting ripped off sucks and no one likes it.  Let’s also agree that it can ALWAYS be avoided by setting expectations up front and asking the hard questions.  Now that you know the culprits behind this behavior, let’s all do our part to avoid it.  Umkay?


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