Sneaky Sales Tactics Make Money but Not Wealth

July 11, 2011


In my experience, the best way to sell something, especially online, is to teach and just be real.

When I was younger I worked for a company which after being there for three months, I was done.

I couldn’t take the “sneaky” sales stuff they did. It was a company which people signed up for in order to get good business advice.

Don’t get me wrong, the advice was good.

What I did was examine customer assets and current business structure and then advise them on how they could structure their business in a better way which would help provide asset protection.

Although the advice is good, sometimes usually the price would get in the way. If I couldn’t “sell” the customer on a new business structure package then I was to hand the phone over to my boss who would try to close the deal.

Yeah I know, very close to telemarketing. Like I said, three months and I was done.

My boss would make up any example he could to sell the customer. He’d even tell the customer that he’d go talk to his boss to see if he could get the price down, but don’t think for a moment he went to talk to anyone. It was just a sales tactic.

I soon left the company and started an incorporation website which my mother and uncle run ethically.

Here’s some other examples of sneaky sales tactics (or just shady things) which I hate:

  • Grocery stores put pasta sauce on sale but cleverly slightly rise the price of pasta
  • The car salesmen tells you, “Let me go fight for you and see if I can get the price down.” Don’t they know we all know this stupid trick now?
  • Bait and Switches. I see car dealerships do this all the time. There’s an ad in the paper which brings me in and then I find out, “Those are gone. Here, look at these more expensive cars.”
  • When a car salesman shakes my hand on a deal and then the contract says something different (yep, happened to me)
  • The sales person leaves you alone for a bit (eats up your time) in an effort to burn up your time to shop other places and create a sense of “investment”
  • An Internet marketer releases a product but before they release it they do up 10 “review” articles/websites which appear to be reviews from people other than the ones who created the product. They do this so the first top 10 results in Google all return “favorable” reviews.
  • Sites like Facebook which preach security but then go and hire a shady hacker – do you feel safe knowing your personal information might be managed by guys like this?
  • Get the customer to keep saying “Yes” so that they are trained to say “Yes”
  • Car salesman asking for money from you so you “don’t leave”
  • Car salesman not wanting to talk price with you until only after you have driven the car
  • The “boss” takes over and his higher authority will ensure you get the best deal

Okay so you get the point and I’m sure you have experienced some of these and could easily add a few of your own.

It’s sad that many of us continue to fall for these tactics even when we know they’re happening to us; I know I do from time to time.

Just realize, though, that although some of these work pretty well to generate a sale, they can damage you in the long run and really hinder your goal at achieving wealth.

Remember how I said above how I shook hands with a car salesman on a deal and then the contract was worded differently? Well I never bought from them again… and I’ve purchased 4 cars since that time.

The issue was over a measly $400 left to pay off my trade-in vehicle. I told the salesman that I still owed on my trade-in so he needed to get that figure. He “went to the back” to get the payoff and when he returned he shook my hand on a deal for $30,000 for the new car.

Because I didn’t want my old car to come back and haunt me, I verified with him that this was the final deal and that I wouldn’t be receiving a phone call in a few days telling me I owed them more money. I asked this because this is what happened with a previous trade-in from another dealership and I didn’t want this happening to me again.

We shook hands and then I headed over to the finance guy where I didn’t read all the fine print.

Yep, guilty.

Very long story short, two days later I got a call from the dealership that I owed $400 more because of my trade-in vehicle. I argued with the salesman, finance guy, and finally the general manager, but they just kept saying, “We have a signed contract which you signed which says you will agree to pay this.”

They lost a customer forever.

If they would have made me feel like a valued customer and well taken care of (and honored the original handshake agreement), then they would have been the first dealership I visited when looking to buy my next vehicle.

If I am to be honest, though, I have to admit that I might have tried a few tactics in my time which I’m not proud of. Hey, we live and we learn, right?

This isn’t to say you should never use a sales strategy to generate sales and I only mention my story as an example of how bad marketing and sales tactics can really hurt you in the long run even though you might make the sale today.

There’s always a time and place for things like limited time offers, bonuses, time limits, etc. Just keep your eye on the ethical path and your journey as a marketer will be a much happier and more fulfilling one. Plus something interesting will happen: you’ll notice that at some point you won’t have to work as hard at it.

Yes it takes a little more work and grace to teach people something or learn the art of selling without making people feel like they are being sold, but short term sales tactics in my experience are rarely sustainable.

… oh and by the way, that car dealership closed down.


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About John Hoff

John is the lead instructor inside the Blog Training Classroom Video Course. He's been blogging since 2007, authored a WordPress Security ebook, and was recently featured at Niche Profit Classroom as an affiliate rising star.

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3 Responses to “Sneaky Sales Tactics Make Money but Not Wealth”

  1. Keith Davis Says:

    Agreed John
    Probably says more about the sort of guy you are than poor business tactics.

    I’m no angel but I’m fair with people in life and in business – the way I was brought up.

    I’m off my soapbox now so you can relax.


  2. Barry Wheeler Says:

    So what exactly are you saying?

    It’s okay to “mislead” if you don’t get caught?

    I’m not sure the point of your post.


    • John Hoff Says:

      Hi Barry,

      The point of the post is that although it is legal for people to do such things, like the car salesman tactic, it’s often not the best way to gain people’s trust and build a good relationship with a customer. It’s not okay (for we consumers), but it’s legal and companies do it all the time.

      I’m trying to point out that to be successful, especially in the online world, trying to implement these sorts of sneaky sales tactics might make you a burst of money up front, but when word gets out that this company doesn’t hold up to those awesome bullet points on the sales page, then you might find that your success is short lived.

      Thus these tactics might make you a burst of money, but typically not wealth.


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