Sales tactics to watch out for when buying a phone

Sales tactics to watch out for when buying a phone
Ah, there’s nothing more satisfying and fun-filled than going out to your local wireless shop to pick up a brand spanking new phone for yourself, right? Seriously, it’s like Christmas time as you’re left checking out all the new tech within the store – comparing each and every one to make that stupendous decision. Some of us will naturally do our homework, thus, making it ever so easy in finalizing our purchase. However, for other people, especially those who aren’t as well informed, they mainly reserve their decision based on the recommendations by the sales staff at the store.

By now, it’s safe to say that we’ve all had our various degrees of shopping experiences surrounding a new phone – with some being awesome, while others being downright frustrating. For the average Joe, they don’t know it, but as soon as they set foot in the store, you’re simply dollar figures to the eyes of most sales employees. Then again, we can say the same thing about other sales people in other industries. Nevertheless, you really need to be more mindful when it comes to shopping around for your next device – or risk coming home with your wallet drained and a bag stuffed full of things that you might not actually need.

Knowing that, let’s take a look at some sales tactics to watch out for when buying a phone. Of course, we’re certain there are some other ones not listed below – so be sure to share with us your experiences.



1. Phoneguy007

Posts: 218; Member since: Jun 02, 2011

I let all my customers choose the phone they want.

5. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

But I sneak around behind you and tell them to get something different. So we cancel each other out.

12. Phoneguy007

Posts: 218; Member since: Jun 02, 2011


2. Phullofphil

Posts: 1824; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

That's why I always do my own research and I always know exactly what I am going to buy when I walk in to the store. It safes me a lot of grieve cause usually if I come across this way I don't get hassled so much

3. firelightx

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

Huh. I was genuinely worried when I saw this article, that it was gonna be about all the reasons to never trust what I say. And boy are there a lot of them. But no, this is all sound advice, and I'm happy to say that I don't make a habit of using any of these techniques against people. Free price tags? I always explain how they become free BEFORE the customer gets too invested in the phone and it's features. Fine print and signatures? Each Signature comes with it's own explanation: "and this one is for two more years on xxxx line. This one is for the termination fees" etc. Extended Warranties? Mine DOES in fact cover lost or stolen, and as I tell customers "once it covers that... it pretty much covers everything. What are they gonna do? 'Yeah, I smashed my screen...' 'That's not covered.' '....Alright, I lost it, too. Send me a new one already.'" So that's nice. Confusing price tags? Used to have those. Always explained that it was a bundle and gave them the price up front. I can't stand bundled tags. Got my retailer to stop using them altogether, these days. Okay, so I may be bragging a bit, but this article is not wrong. You have to watch out for stupid sales people. Maybe I'm a bit proud, but I like all the compliments I get on my honesty.

11. dmckay12

Posts: 243; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I wish you worked where my Mom gets her phones. She believes anything and has no idea what features she wants. She is usually steared to the flagship phones. She bought the Droid Razr, but can't stand phones without a removable battery, and bought an iPhone 4 a month before the 4s was announced because the salesman said "there won't be a new one until next year because it hasn't come out yet."

4. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

As a former a AT&T salesman, the average consumer needs to follow these steps 1. DO YOUR RESEARCH!! theres no reason to walk into any store and not know what you want. Most salesmen will see that as "fresh meat" and coerse you into buying a phone that doesnt fit your needs 2. Choose a carrier thats more bang for the buck. Every carrier has their advantages/disadvantages over the other. You must choose which carrier will do less harm. "I chose AT&T because I love to talk while surfing the internet at the same time, plus they have The Galaxy Note which is the perfect phone for me" 3. DO NOT allow the salesman/saleswoman to steer you away from what you want! There are 2 types of salesmen: those who work for you and those who work for the money. anyone who has worked in the cellphone industry will tell you that they go after the best selling (iPhone) or the most profitable (most android devices). You want a salesman to work with you in finding the best phone for you. Nothings worse that having a customer return a phone because you didnt tell them everything about it 4. Does the phone fir your lifestyle. Name one elderly person that wants an iPhone?? lol. you want to make sure that the phone fits your lifestyle. Im 6'7" 240lbs and the Note fits me perfectly because of the screen. Plus I love to play games and watch movies on my phone so to have a phone thats 4 - 4.5in phone wont do. Finally 5. You want a phone that will last you for at least a year. Most phones have a "shelf-life" of a year, depending on the model and the specs. Galaxy SIII owners will probably keep their phones for at least a year because they have the latest technology within the phone. not just because of the design, but because of the upgradability. they can upgrade to android 4.1 and maybe 4.2 (whenever that'll come out). I have the Inspire and Id have to find a source code to upgrade it from Gingerberad to ICS and pray that it doesnt destroy my phone This is what you need to do. There are other factors, but this is something worth thinking about when you want to buy a phone for your kids

6. firelightx

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

I have a bit of a different approach. See, I prefer people who -don't- know what they want. Not because I can work them over, but because there's something cool about talking about their life and trying to match up the details to a phone. They're big on music? Okay, that rules out this, this and this. They want a bigger screen? Okay, so that narrows it down to these... etc. And older people wanting an iPhone? ALL FREAKING DAY LONG. No, really. Half the older folk want the most basic flip phone and are upset that they have to even get that. The other half insist that they need this iPhone thing in their life. And as for buying what you want, consequences be darned? I disagree. In some cases, anyway. As quickly as technology changes, it's a lot to ask for someone to do their own research and come up with the right choice. It can take months to understand the ins and outs of cell phones, especially if you're looking at it for the first time. And as we all know, specs alone do not make a phone great. I would sooner recommend... listen to the salesman's recommendations. And then, promptly leave to find the internet and see if he was being honest with you. If what he tells you matches up, if it does in fact fit your needs better than what you originally wanted... then reward him with your business. Don't just go to anyone else, but go back to HIM and show him that you respect his integrity.

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

honesty wins. You might make a few extra $$ on the short side by being a pushy jerk, but you get repeat business and reccomendations from customer's to their friends for being honest

24. W.P._Android_in_that_Order

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

I think this is so right. There are so many people who come into the store to try to extract info from you so that they can go buy online. If you go home and fact-check what he/she said and find out that it is honest and acurate, why not buy from them? Even if it costs 20 bucks more. At least you know you are getting your new stuff from a legit business. About selling elderly people the iPhone. All day every day. As much as i hate the iPhone with a passion because it is so dumbed-down and locked into apple's anti-competative ecosystem, its right for alot of older people because it is simpler to use than a flip phone.

39. downbeat4

Posts: 94; Member since: Dec 03, 2010

Well said. The carriers themselves have been persuading customers to purchase online (through their "self service option" smoke screens). The only way we will continue to keep customers coming into the stores is by being honest and by making it a fun experience...not a conning, commission fest. I've found that the most important thing (at least what's worked for me) is to focus on my relationship with every customer I come in contact with. Even if they are complete lunatics sometimes ;-) Getting a new device has gone way up on the "level of importance scale" for most people over the last few years and we get to be the ones who make it happen. Yes the earning commission part is important too, but in order to be successful, we need customers to come's that simple.

47. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

But honestly online is the most decieving. When companies like verizon and att have on their page cln real small in the bottom right of the phone then say the phone is free people dont look at what cln means. Cln means certified like new another term for refurbished to make it sound better. Whenever buying online buyer be ware. If you ever try to type and ask a question to the live chat people they have scripted answers for everything and know nothing baout you nor try to find out anything about you. Also who is going to teach you the phone or do contact and picture transfers for you. Now your stuck going to a store anyway with a crappy phone you purchased online. I hope that rep charges you for activation and setup fees so he can make some money too he isnt there to work for free.

30. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

it depends on your approach. I liked to have fun while telling customers about certain products. make them feel important, while staying on course in selling them a phone(s). customer service defines the reputation of a company. there are negatives about every cellphone company, but we remember those who were courteous and friendly. Thats why I dont like it when salesmen try to force customers to a best selling phone like the SIII or the iPhone. That might not be what they want. The more a salesmen force a phone upon them, the more likely they'll go elsewhere with any company..............we remember those with the best and worst customer service!!

34. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

heck yea man and you hit the nail on the head! I also like the part where you said you like the galaxy note BECAUSE........(be-cause) you are 6'7 which would mean you have large hands......MAKES SENSE........but for the people that have reagular sized hands why are they asking for phones that are bigger than 4.5 inches?? and im saying that because we have alot of people that are falling in love with phones that are oversized and what that is doing is making companies think that bigger is better! So what that is also doing is making companies produce phones that are bigger and its forcing people that want regular sized phones (4-4.5 inches) to get phones that are really and honestly TOO BIG for them.....sigh......but like in your case it makes sense that you need a phone thats over sized because you have LARGE saying all this because it is becoming frustrating waiting for a the latest and greatest phone, but all I am seeing is "OVER SIZED" phones with those "latest and greastest" specs...... Im waiting on a 4.3 inch phone with all the top notch specs and a great battery as well...........Call me picky but i am willing to pay the price for that particular phone.......thats all i have to say lol

45. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

Right. it depends on your preference. Thats why every other phone doesnt compare to the Note and the upcoming Note II because of my stature. Most people are under 6'2" so the SIII would work for them. My wife is 5'6" but she has the Note because of the S-Pen and what it can do for her corporate job. I said to do yuor research because you cant always rely on a salesman to do it for you. With the amount of information on the internet and social networking site (Like PhoneArena), why not do it yourself before going into the store??

7. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I only go to the corporate store to look at a phone myself. I never buy there, and if approached by a salesperson, I tell them thanks, but I'm just looking. I always buy online, after plenty of research. In my experience, the average salesperson knows as much as or less than me about these phones (or are feeding me false info to make the sale, I don't know which). I've had salespeople tell me that a smartphone won't work as a phone without a data plan (this was back in 2008 or so, when they first started requiring data plans) I had one tell me that Verizon's 3g was almost as fast as my cable at home. (Wow). I know there are knowledgeable, honest salespeople, this isn't an indictment of all cellular salespeople. But, once I got knowledgeable enough to make my own decisions, I didn't need them anymore. (I know that sounds arrogant, I couldn't think of a better way to put it.)

25. dragonstkdgirl

Posts: 144; Member since: Apr 07, 2012

Apparently you have been talking to the wrong sales people. As a rule, I ASK the customer about themselves. In a short conversation, I can learn if a person is an avid texter, loves all touch screen phones, uses the camera on the phone to film their kids' soccer games, needs navigation because they drive for work, are trying not to spend a ton of $$$ on apps and music, if they need work or personal email on their phones, etc. I've been selling phones for over four years now, and have always been brutally honest with my customers. I don't force them into a phone that they don't want or scam them into buying "accessories they don't need", as is apparently the stereotype nowadays. Just use sense, people. If the rep you are speaking with doesn't seem on the up and up, get a second opinion. But if you come to a rep like me, who can sit there with an engineer and talk about the differences between LTE, HSPA+, AND WiMax 4g technologies, the differences between platforms, etc. then maybe you would revise your opinion of "all sales reps". I've had customers who find that I not only know what I'm talking about, but I will explain the entire freaking contract to them line by line because it saves me hassle later if customers have an issue, find out info about you to steer you into the right phone, and put your dang screen protector on for you. You're welcome. And now I have customers for life and referrals to their friends. I'd rather make a bit less money than shady reps and be able to look myself in the mirror every day.

31. ZayZay

Posts: 571; Member since: Feb 26, 2011

Thank you dragonstkgirl. We are on the same page.

33. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

darn skippy!

48. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Totally correct dragongirl the problem is must people go to corporate stores to shop thinking they will get taken advantage of if they go to a corporate store when fact is its the total opposite. I work for corporate and quit because how rude they want us to be to customers. Rude might not be the best word but when you demand a quota of 2 accesories per phone and atleas 25 dollars data per phone or else we get out commision halfed then we are forced to sell phones and things to people they dont need. I remember when I work for the big red they offered new every two credits. The reps at the store loved when a customer came in and did not know they got credit. The rep would just say the phone is 200 and comes with 50 dollars in accesories for free. Which was a lie. Now a days if you go to big red and want a smart phone no accesories and coming from a smart phone they tell you to go online to buy so they dont hurt there quota. Plus you over pay at every corporate store. compare the prices you will see.

36. goos2134

Posts: 19; Member since: Dec 11, 2011

Not to be rude , but you prolly wonder why when your having issues no one wants to help you eithier. I am not a sneaky sales man. I am honest and i will show you all of your options. I also will steer you towards more high end devices not because I make more money but because when your retarded , i think you know everything self comes up with a software error you start yelling at me. Don't be cheap and you wont get junk. Nor will you get lies to get you out of the store. Time is money and your the guy who will tell me you want the free phone with no issurance and no case and then come in complaining when you shattered it and we wont let you upgrade. I wish i knew you worked so i could try to circumvent you and hope you cant support yourself. How assine. Go to best buy if you wanna browse and talk tech they are not on commish and your not keeping them from customers who actually want to get a quality device with the items that will help them enjoy the device more. enjoy amazons customer service when you have an issue. oh wait you come bother me.

38. deathyyy

Posts: 101; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

Haha, i'm all for helping the customer and finding the right device for them.. but this, all day every day. Don't insist on getting our completely free smartphones and then come complain to me when your sons social networking apps take up the entirety of his internal storage. I don't make a dollar more based on what device I sell, all that matters is that you bought a phone. I'm telling you to get the device that's 80 bucks more because it won't be worthless before I even take it out of the box, your kid will be happier, and I won't see you in the store every other week to hard reset his Kyocera Milano.

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ha, inboarding was really common and a desired practice at VZW. Tmobile does none of that. (well they are told not to) Good for them. We actually got watched to make sure we explained all the details and have a sign off sheet that both the rep and the customer had to sign saying that they were explained the warranties, taxes, plan details, ect and it broke everything down dollar for dollar.

10. itiswhatitis

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

hey buddy you didnt answer my question yet,can you atlesat do poor kid a favor:)

16. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

which question was that?

18. itiswhatitis

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012

i said i'm planning to buy unlocked t mobile htc one s so would they still charged me for using wifi hotspot or do i have to open some account to access to it, like at&t?

23. W.P._Android_in_that_Order

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

If u put stock android on there, i have a friend who said you could use hotspot without getting charged. If u dont root it, you could try foxfi.

26. itiswhatitis

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 23, 2012


27. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

no. If your on any of the 5gig or higher plans, Tethering is included. The built in tether apps should work without issue either way. You may just get a warning letter sooner or later if you use the stock rom tether apps. However, if you unlock the device and put a custom ROM on it, it becomes very hard to track and very unlikely they will say anything unless you have a lot of very heavy usage spikes. That goes true for pretty much all the carriers. The only way they know if your on your phone's internet or tethering is either by the built in programs on the stock ROM or they guess by how your using it. Like I said though, its very rare for them to say anything while your on a custom rom since its so hard to prove.

21. W.P._Android_in_that_Order

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Thats so true. When i used to work at Verizon we were basically told to inboard and if we didnt, we would get brought into the back room and get "coached."

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