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6 Sales Traps You Need To Avoid If You Want To Get Rich

6 Sales Traps You Need To Avoid If You Want To Get Rich

Most of us have an inner desire to develop wealth, primarily because it affords us the type of financial security that makes life easier. There are a number of misconceptions that surround the accumulation of wealth, including the assertion that people can’t get rich simply because they earn too little. This is a consequence rather than a cause, and the fact remains that people struggle to accumulate wealth largely because they spend too much time and money on things that lack value.

A reckless approach to expenditure or a lack of focus will undermine any attempts to generate income, whereas frugality and hard work will drive success. In practical terms, those with a desire to build wealth must avoid prominent sales traps. These schemes are used by companies across multiple sectors to target those with a propensity to spend impulsively, although they rarely offer anything of tangible or long-term value. This is also an issue with short-term investment plans, so you must tread carefully when faced with the following examples:

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1. Marking down a marked up price

When companies or distributors hold sales events, you could be forgiven for thinking that any subsequent purchases represent far greater value than usual. It is not unusual for sales teams to inflate the price of a particular product in the weeks prior to a sale, however, before reducing this drastically and creating the false impression of value. Although huge reductions in excess of 50% are extremely enticing to customers, this means nothing if the original sale price was manipulated to mislead individuals about a particular product’s value. To avoid this, you need to take responsibility as a customer, recognize the dangers and shop around aggressively for the best possible deal. A specific percentage discount does not translate into pure savings, as it simply reduces either the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or the one initially set by the distributor. By comparing prices across the market, you can delve beyond individual deals and achieve value for your hard earned money.

2. The lure of exclusivity

Online price comparison technology has proved extremely challenging to retailers, as it creates an informed and motivated army of customers who are less susceptible to traditional sales techniques. This is where the concept of exclusivity comes into play, as this is a ploy used by stores to justify high price points and deter consumers from shopping around. By marketing goods as part of an “exclusive line” that is not available anywhere else, retailers can drive a far harder bargain and force the hand of impatient customers. This has proven to be a successful scheme, especially when it is aimed at impulsive spenders who are in the market for a specific product. Exclusivity deals are usually restricted to specific regions, meaning that you may be able to find your chosen product elsewhere. These deals are usually signed for a fixed period of time, and once this has passed the product will become available in other stores nationwide. Patience is therefore crucial, while more flexible customers can also shop around for a similar product that serves the same purpose.

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3. Persistence wins the day

The majority of successful salespeople are aggressive self-starters, meaning that they are generally self-reliant and persistent in the pursuit of their goals. This leads us to another common sales trap, through which customers are implored to make a purchase as a way of satisfying a relentless and driven sales effort. Although this is an obvious trap that relies more on direct communication and tenacity than psychology, customers can easily be influenced to buy if they feel pressured by the attentions of a sales representative. In this instance, the key is to remain grounded and communicate authoritatively with salespeople. If you have no need or desire for a specific product or service, remember that this is unlikely to change throughout the course of any dialogue. By focusing on this and communicating your stance clearly to a sales team, you can quickly discourage them from pursuing your custom. Time represents money to salespeople (especially those who rely on commission), so they are unlikely to chase leads where the customer shows a clear and unwavering lack of interest.

4. The art of accessorizing

Have you visited a furniture store recently? If so, you will have probably noticed perfectly standard centerpiece items, such as beds or sofas, adorned with a number of high end and visually engaging accessories. While the store will justify this by claiming that such a practice helps customers to visualize how their property will look in a fully decorated and accessorized room, it actually serves to enhance the appeal of ancillary products that are not included in the sale price of the core product. Not only does this make the core product itself look more enticing, but it also drives additional purchases. Awareness is crucial in this instance, as once you recognize this sales trap you can refocus on your needs as a consumer. The first step is to make a concise list of everything that you need prior to hitting the high street, while also establishing a fixed and viable budget for the trip. In order to ensure that the core product in question meets your needs, you should also look to strip it of any accessories or ancillary items before making a final decision. You could even bring in some of you own accessories from home, as this will present the product in a more realistic light.

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5. When insurance has no purpose

In addition to corporeal items, there are also a number of lucrative insurance products sold on an annual basis. As the ongoing controversy surrounding PPI claims proves, however, not all of these products offer value to the buyer or are sold in an ethical manner. There are two damaging sales traps to be wary of in this instance, as vendors will either sell erroneous policies that offer no discernible value or inadequate coverage that fails to deliver long-term, financial savings. The former policies tend to be sold aggressively by call center operatives, and they usually look to capitalize on client ignorance or gaps in knowledge. How do you avoid the insurance sales trap? The first step is to assume the role of aggressor when communicating with service providers, especially if you are in need of a specific product. More specifically, you will need to set out exactly what you are in the market for, detailing your need, budget and any additional data that helps to reduce risk. If you are contacted directly by a firm offering their products, you should also look to challenge their knowledge and ask them to clearly explain the terms, purpose and salient points of the policy.

6. The quest for high-yield, short-term investments

In the quest to build wealth, you may be tempted by any of a number of investment opportunities. You will need to be cautious, however, as the demand for instant, high returns has triggered a rise in the number of risk-laden schemes and ill-considered investment traps. While some of these investment opportunities may well have the capacity to trigger quick returns, they are primarily aimed at inexperienced investors who fail to understand the relationship between risk, return and long-term gains. To avoid this, you will need to research your chosen market and ensure that there is an opportunity to earn reliable, long-term gains that offer a suitable reward for your investment. The market for sustainable assets and green investment is particularly strong at present, for example, especially when you consider that there are now viable technologies that reduce carbon emissions and consumption in sectors such as fuel, energy, and even data storage. This trend is likely to continue for the future, making this a far more suitable investment option than those that revolve around real estate flipping and pyramid schemes.

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Featured photo credit: Wallet Credit Card Cash Money/Steve PB via pixabay.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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