WHAT TYPE OF BUYER ARE YOU?
It is worth taking a minute to assess your approach to buying and what is important to you before embarking on your buying journey. If there are two of you involved in the purchase, have this discussion before you start.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and your motivations for buying can empower you to make the right decisions.
Compare Ideas Before You Start.
I cannot tell you how many times I have met couples who have no idea what the other was thinking about the purchase. It’s only when I start asking questions that they find they have different answers. Fortunately, I am experienced enough to be able to consolidate their idea and find a compromise that works for them both.
A good salesperson will help to consolidate differing ideas of design, but it is essential that you decide the basics together including the budget before you start.
Consider the factors that will influence your buying behaviour before you start. Customers waste time researching a product and then realise that purchasing at that time will not be possible or practical. Sometimes because the cost is much higher than they thought but more often it is because they did not fully consider the purchase in the first place and the process loses momentum due to lack of genuine interest.
Be Consciously Aware of Your Buying Motivations so That they Cannot be Used Against You.
If you are consciously aware of your own emotional drivers and reasons for buying, you will be less susceptible to mind games played by a salesperson. Work out your own reasons for buying and what is important to you.
Practical or Feel-Good?
What are your emotional reasons for buying? Are you looking for value for money, something you love, regardless of the price or somewhere in between? What are you prepared to compromise on if you cannot afford what you want? Are you more comfortable buying from well-established companies with long guarantees? If you have any fears about your product, what are they?
What Sacrifices are You Making?
It was often said that our biggest competitors were not other suppliers but other luxuries. Consider what else you want over the next few years and if this purchase is going to impact on those other hopes. Will you need to sacrifice holidays or a new car? Will you still be able to afford the clothes and luxury items that you like to buy?
Does Everyone Involved, Agree?
Discuss the full impact of the purchase especially if the responsibility for finances lies with only one of you. I have arrived for appointments when one of the partners was not even aware that an appointment had been made. That may be because he or she does not care, is not interested, or does not have the time, but unless you do have complete autonomy and responsibility for a purchase, it is likely that your partner will block the purchase if you have not agreed. Have that discussion before you start. Couples who are united in their purchase decisions make for a stronger opponent against salespeople.
How Important is this Purchase to You?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you want this product? Have you been dreaming of it for years or is it a necessity and given the choice you would not spend the money on it? Is there something that you would prefer to buy? What difference is it going to make to your life?
Essential for You and Your Family?
Most purchases are not essential but we all want to live in nice homes. The replacement of old products that are leaky, draughty or falling apart can be considered essential.
I have frequently quoted for products that are not needed, most often when selling kitchens. Thousands of good kitchens are thrown in the skip, usually when moving into a new house. The kitchen is fine but is not to the customer’s taste. There is nothing wrong with that if the new kitchen is in the budget. It is better to have the kitchen replaced at the start of the upheaval rather than hating the kitchen for five years and then changing it.
Will it Cause Financial Hardship?
It is not enough to consider what finances are available in the immediate moment. Are your finances secure for the next five years or so? If you are retired and using your capital, what happens when it is all gone? If you have a salaried job, do you have money to cover expenses for a couple of months if that employment is terminated or the business goes bankrupt or are you using your safety net money for your purchase? There is nothing worse than the anxiety of money worries. Nobody wants to be in a position of saying ‘if only we hadn’t bought that kitchen or conservatory.’
Buyers who are used to scrimping and saving lose sense of financial values when they receive a large amount of money through inheritance, a premium bonds or lotto win or from equity release when downsizing. The amount of money that they have is so out of proportion to their usual income that they feel rich. The excitement of having so much money leads to rash decisions. New riches are hard to hold on to as people inexperienced at handling money in a disciplined way spend unwisely without a thought to real planning. There are a range of conflicting emotions including fear that if it is not spent as quickly as possible, it may disappear or that there is so much money that caution is not necessary.
How do you Want to Feel?
Most people take pride in their homes and want nice things, but others buy for practical reasons. New windows will do the same job whether you buy a flat style frame with plain windows or whether you pay extra for moulded frames and Georgian bars. When I am designing for a customer, how my customer wants to feel is my most important consideration. When you walk in and see your new kitchen, do you want to feel ‘wow’ every time you walk in or will you not notice? Do you want to feel proud when you show your friends your new conservatory? When you walk up your path to the front door, will you take pride in your beautiful new windows or do you want the cheapest solution that will do the job?
How Long Will You Stay in Your Home?
The value compared to the house is less of a consideration if you never plan to move or are planning to stay for a long time. If there is any chance that you may wish to sell in the next few years, consider how much it is worth spending and be careful to choose styles that will appeal to the mass market.
Have you Worked Out a Monthly Budget?
I have not yet met a customer who had a crystal ball to see what their financial future held. Retired people know what their money situation is but those dependent on a wage do not have the same security. Young couples need to consider more variables such as wedding plans, the birth of children and a possible move to somewhere to accommodate a growing family. Finance agreements are usually signed for a ten-year period and so much can happen in that time. There is no point in taking on a financial commitment that could jeopardise your ability to pay the mortgage in the future.
Are You Compensating?
If you do not need this new product, is there another need that you are trying to fill. Some people need to keep making changes in the house. One of my customers bought a new kitchen every two years, much to the exasperation of her husband who could never see the point. Everyone is entitled to have whatever they want but if the purchase is to fill another emotional need, once the excitement of the new product is worn off, the original problem is still there. Buying a kitchen or conservatory as retail therapy is an expensive, and short term, soother.
Does Anyone Influence You?
Who are the people around you and what do they have that is making you feel envious? It is natural to be influenced by a recommendation from a friend who is saving a fortune on her electricity bills because of solar panels but it is different to want a new kitchen because you are jealous of a friend’s beautiful home. It is easy to become dissatisfied with something that previously has made you happy, when someone buys something better. If there is a possibility of this, be honest with yourself and wait until the time is right for you. It is not possible to see what is truly happening with others. Expensive cars are often on lease agreements, holidays paid for on credit cards and big home improvement items put on finance agreements. Do not be tempted by this if you do not need it and certainly not if it means taking on credit that you cannot afford.
Who Benefits from Your New Purchase?
Buying for yourself and buying for a tenanted property are two completely different buying experiences. Even though you may own the house that is rented, emotions do not seem to be as important in the decision.
The best negotiation skills are shown when the buyer is spending someone else’s money. Examples of this are when a parent offers to finance the purchase, or a son or daughter help an elderly parent to buy. It is interesting that customers are ferociously protective of other people’s money but not their own.
Do Possessions Validate You as a Person?
Do you feel that the things that you own reflect who you are and if you do not have new expensive things, that you have less value as a person? Do you feel that others are judging you by your home, the car you drive and holidays you take? Do you prefer to buy well-known brands so that you can talk about them with pride?
What Experience do you Have?
What is the most that you have ever spent on a purchase? Usually, apart from the purchase of a house, the most expensive purchase is of a car. Does the idea of spending a large amount of money make you nervous? The less experienced you are, the more vulnerable you are. Take more time over research and get more quotes.
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