A trained psychologist and successful businessman offers advice for consumers to help prevent buyer’s remorse and avoid sales traps.
In this debut guide for buyers, Coopersmith (Psychiatry/Temple Univ.) culls nearly four decades of experience studying buying and selling behaviors. He claims 25 percent of buyers are dissatisfied with their large-purchase transactions and concludes that uneven business cycles cause aggressive, manipulative sales practices. However, he writes, consumers can regain control of the buying process with proper training. He bases his advice on human behavior studies, his review of sales manuals, and interviews with sales professionals and consumer advocates. In Chapter 1, Coopersmith says buyers inherently have advantages in the buying process because they can know the costs, alternatives, research, decision power and scheduling—or CARDS, as he calls it. However, skilled salesmen often turn such advantages into disadvantages, thus forcing irrational consumer behavior. For example, slick salesmen will hide “the high cost of a luxury car [with] the dazzling promise of vehicle ownership for only a few hundred dollars a month” or bombard “the buyer with freebies that will make any price seem readily affordable.” Chapters 2 and 3 cover manipulative gambits salesmen use to exploit consumer vulnerabilities, such as a buyer’s need for friendship, status and victory. Chapters 4 and 5 instruct the buyer on how to regain control by becoming a well-informed shopper and good negotiator with a solid buying persona who remains relaxed and in control, fully aware of the games salespeople play. In Chapters 6 and 7, Coopersmith reviews special considerations for buyers of real estate and investments, warning against tactics used in these industries and false promises of value that lead to market bubbles. In all, Coopersmith brings considerable insight for buyers in his brief guide, writing persuasively about the need to become more educated about the buying process. Although the text is occasionally clinical in tone, reflecting a psychologist’s background, it is a well-organized, quick read that should prove helpful for those looking for better buys.
A handy guide for consumers who want to become smarter, happier buyers.