Marketing is everywhere you look, almost literally. Regardless of whether you pay attention to it or not, in order to function in society you have to buy things, and chances are when you decide to do so you’ll encounter a professional marketer. Not all marketers are bad people – quite the contrary – but you have to know how to identify the legitimate, honest ones from the bad apples. Here are a few signs to look out for that might indicate you’re getting scammed into buying something you don’t actually need.
Misinformation, Misrepresentation, and Outright Falsehoods
While the practice of misrepresenting products or blatantly lying about their efficacy is almost nonexistent among large and well respected companies – though it can happen – you’ll want to be extra careful when dealing with unestablished or “fly by night” companies. It’s likely that the company is a startup trying to get off its feet, and sometimes the temptation to bend the truth just a little bit can be overwhelming for amateur marketers. Avoid this by doing your homework – know exactly what it is you’re buying and what it’s actual value is. If the person you’re working with avoids answering your questions or gives you vague answers, it’s probably time to move on.
Step Outside Yourself: Are You a Target of Social Proof?
Social proof is a term used in marketing circles that describes the human tendency to think that if everyone else is doing something or owns something, it must be worth doing or having. Marketers – both unscrupulous and legitimate – will use this totally natural inclination of wanting to keep up with the Joneses to their advantage with lines like “1,000,000 other customers can’t be wrong” or “Why haven’t you tried X product yet?” and so on. If you’re dealing with someone who is trying to convince you that you’ll like their product because so many other people have, take a moment to ask yourself if the product is really right for you – not for someone else.
Successful business will keep in touch with you in order to sell you something, no doubt about that. But when this process goes overboard and you’re getting two or three calls per day, emails, text messages and so on, it reeks of desperation and trying to sell you something you don’t need or even want. If you encounter a marketer who just won’t leave you alone, chances are once you actually do spend your money with them, they’ll harass you even more. It’s often better to move on in these cases to an individual or company that is respectful of your personal life.
Strangely Appealing Discounts After Declining
Suppose you were considering purchasing a product from a marketer at one price. You thought better of it and decided to decline their offer and move on. Perhaps the marketer tried to negotiate with a lower price, but you held your ground. It’s at this point that most legitimate marketers accept defeat and – aside from perhaps a few follow up calls – will move on to their next client. The marketers you want to look out for are the ones who will lower the price to a ridiculous degree – it doesn’t speak much for their product to know that they want to sell it to you no matter how low they have to go.
Promising the World
You’ve probably heard that wise old colloquialism, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” about a thousand times in your life. And for good reason: it’s right. When a marketer offers to give you the world on a silver platter – for just three easy payments of… – you know that something fishy is going on. Whenever you start to get the feeling that the deal is too good to be true, it’s time to do some research into the marketer’s claims, because chances are they’re trying to sell you something you don’t need.
Have you ever been tricked into buying something you don’t need?
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