ARE YOU A SMART BUYER?

Most of us, in our lifetime, are able to sell one or at max two skills and/or group of products. Say most of us would either be a Doctor, Advocate, Engineer, Businessperson, Accountant etc and that is how we will earn our livelihood. Hence the vocation we pursue will allow the inflows in our balance sheet. Same would be true for businesses.

On the other hand, rest everything we need to “Buy”. We get “Paid” for one skill or product and for everything else we need to pay. By basic logic being able to “Buy” and to be able to “Buy smart” is a skill which can be vital to survival.

Let us go back to what we do for getting “paid”?

Don’t a lot of us, when dealing with a client/customer, tend to exaggerate, even if wee-bit?

Don’t we make claims without verifying if the same can be actually done? Don’t we at times use little tricks like sending gifts to our clients/customers to entice exchange?

Now we would not do more soul searching lest one should start feeling guilty. The point being made was that if we ourselves brag while making our sales pitch, then it should be assumed that when being sold to, the other party is also employing the same “tactics”.

Most of us pick these “selling tricks” by practice and not really putting any thought into it. It just happens. Now imagine a situation where professionals consciously with the aid of research and psychological techniques help you make Buying decisions. What chance do you stand?

Have you not been made to believe that you need an anti-dandruff shampoo with no real evidence of the shampoo solving anything? Or that buying a particular model of a SUV will ensure that attractive members of the opposite gender would croon for you?

These are the well-researched studies and the resulting techniques of “influence”, “persuasion”, “marketing”, “consumer behavior”, “data analysis” etc.

Is it a surprise that following things happen?

 

  1. While exiting from a grocery store especially the variety of “bigger format retail” you suddenly find that chocolate, in the alley of the checkout counter. They know chocolate is an “impulse” buy and is viewed as a reward after the labor of having shopped.
  2. Have you ever thought why everyone in your known circle is suddenly talking of the same “car”, same “real estate project”, same “holidays”etc? Well because your search patterns are being monitored and you are being shown advertisements which people of your profile are being selectively targeted with.
  3. Ever wondered why toothpaste is usually advertised with a man in a white coat who may not necessarily be a “Doctor”?

Property Advisor

There are numerous such techniques which smart corporations use to induce compliance from buyers.

The attempt is not to make you feel helpless but on the other hand to help you gain “awareness”. This awareness is even more markedly needed when making big purchases like “cars”, “financial products”, “houses”, “expensive holidays” etc. While you can err in buying “chocolates” and “soaps” mistakes in purchasing the big-ticket purchases can bring untold misery.

Having established the importance of “buying skill” let us examine how the same can be developed.

Developing Buying Skills

 

  1. Everything starts with consciousness. Examine every purchase you make with the following filters. Did you buy it for the reasons you had in your mind when you had decided to buy? If not then what were the reasons basis which the purchase was made?
  2. By this, you will be able to see what actually influenced the purchase decision.
  3. Was this influence acting in your best interests?

Home Buying Decision

Once you start examining your purchases in this manner it would be possible to develop a pattern. This pattern would give a peek into own mind and own biases. This is the start of “self-awareness”.

Now the next biggest reasons why people make mistakes in “Buying” besides acting under the hidden force of own biases is “time pressure”. A smart buyer would never ever “Procrastinate”. When something has to be done then it is important to do the thing with deliberation and thoroughness. Just never come under time pressure and for doing that it is important that you start early. Therefore, if you are making a big purchase, learn to take it slow, step by step, even when people around you are seemingly in a hurry. One would say ideally for buying a real estate the time for first-time buyer should be at least 12 months of continuous work. Continuous work would mean developing an understanding of the sector, and then evaluating options, doing physical surveys,investigating with thoroughness and thennegotiating hard before making the purchase.

Real Estate Market in India

Next caution is to start small. Never test the water with both feet. Start small so that the errors, which will be done in spite of so much of deliberations, are not fatal. All errors do cause losses but the effort is to minimize losses and improve learning. This is done by a combination of “Thoroughness” and staying within “Margin of Safety”.

To conclude; remember three things,

First, be honest & transparent with yourself. Enlighten your blind side and recognize your biases.

Second, do not put yourself under time pressure and utilize the time to be “Thorough and Diligent”.

 Finally,after taking these precautions do not go overboard. Start within limits of acceptable losses.

Taking care of these things would ensure you turn from a mere buyer to a smart buyer.