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8 Tips for Dealing with Pushy Salespeople

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Unless you make all your purchases online, you'll probably have to interact with a salesperson at one time or another this holiday season. Although most salespeople don’t try to intimidate or manipulate you into buying items you neither need nor want, it helps to know how to handle the ones that do. Whether you’re shopping for a car, gym membership, or toaster, here are eight tips for dealing with aggressive salespeople.

1. DISTINGUISH BETWEEN ASSERTIVE AND AGGRESSIVE.

There can be a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, and it's up to you to distinguish between a salesperson who’s annoyingly overeager and one who will say anything to make a sale. If you’re waffling on whether to make a purchase, an assertive salesperson may provide more information or respectfully ask you what he can do to help you make your decision. An aggressive salesperson, on the other hand, may threaten to revoke a discounted price, complain that your indecision is wasting his time, or refuse to accept that you don’t want to make a purchase.

2. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR EMOTIONS.

Good salespeople are skilled at reading customers’ emotions and examining their body language to determine if they’re going to buy an item. But aggressive salespeople can use this skill to manipulate customers into buying something they don’t really want.

Depending on the product they’re trying to sell, salespeople for insurance plans or gym memberships may try to persuade you by capitalizing on your fears about death, money, health, or vanity. When you’re speaking with a salesperson, pay close attention to your emotions and listen to your gut. Watch out for salespeople who sound phony when they make small talk, reveal too much personal information (to try to become your friend), or make you feel guilty about not buying a product.

3. PRESENT A UNITED FRONT.

If you’re shopping for big-ticket items such as a car, boat, or house, salespeople may try to pit you and your spouse against each other. Beware of salespeople who try to physically separate you from your spouse, coax you to agree to a higher price than your partner, or appeal to your spouse’s sense of manhood or womanhood. Before you go shopping with your partner, decide on your budget, buying strategy, and any non-negotiables.

4. DON’T FALL FOR ARTIFICIAL DEADLINES.

To try to close a deal, aggressive salespeople often put time pressure on a customer. By giving customers made-up deadlines, salespeople exploit impulse buyers and appeal to customers’ fear of missing out on a good deal. To be sure, some stores run legitimate limited-time sales that put true deadlines on customers. Generally, though, if a salesperson tells you that you must buy an item now, and says that you’re not allowed to take time to think about it or do more research, consider that a red flag.

5. REGISTER YOUR PHONE NUMBERS ON THE DO NOT CALL REGISTRY.

Some salespeople (and scammers) make cold calls, hoping that someone they talk to will buy their product. Register your home and cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry to stop receiving telemarketing calls. But keep in mind that some telemarketers will still call phone numbers listed on the registry, so file a complaint or block their numbers. If a salesperson somehow gets you on the phone, politely tell her that you’re not interested and you want to be removed from her call list. Don’t feel guilty about cutting her off, not answering her questions, or hanging up.

6. BE MINDFUL OF COMMISSIONS.

Some salespeople earn a percentage of every product they sell, and this potential to make a commission can turn salespeople into predators. Be aware that a car salesman who’s telling you why you’d be foolish not to buy an extended warranty or a bridal consultant who insists the dress isn't complete without a veil may earn a commission on every add-on he sells. Take time to do your own research on the product you're buying in order to take the salesperson's advice with a grain of salt. And when you're making a big purchase, it doesn't hurt to bring along a friend who can offer a second opinion; this way you don't need to place as much trust in the salesperson's praise ("That dress looks perfect on you!") or fear tactics. (On the flip side, if you have a good experience with a salesperson who is likely earning a commission but need to take some time to think, be sure to ask for her by name when you return to the store.)

7. DON’T BE AFRAID TO REPEAT YOURSELF.

Pushy salespeople know that their persistence can wear you down and break your resolve. If you don’t want to buy something or need more time to think, be firm—and use unequivocal terms like "I don't" or "I won't" rather than "I can't." Politely tell the salesperson that you’re not going to make a purchase, and repeat yourself if they keep pushing. Most “people pleasers” will find it challenging to hold their ground, but remember that your first priority is to yourself, not the salesperson.

8. HAVE COMPASSION.

Aggressive salespeople are simply trying to do their job to the best of their ability, so don’t take it personally if you encounter a rude or forceful one. Even if a salesperson annoys or frustrates you, try to be polite and calm. Be firm if you’re not interested in what they’re selling, and ask to speak to a different salesperson or leave the store, if necessary.

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Amazon Is Offering Free Same-Day Shipping to Prime Customers for the Holidays
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The holidays are arriving early for Amazon Prime customers—along with every gift they’ve yet to order through the online shopping behemoth. Amazon has put all of its Prime members on the “Nice” list this year, and is rewarding them with free same-day shipping from now through Christmas Eve. While that may be cutting it a little too close for some shoppers, the limited-time perk has perpetual procrastinators singing “Joy to the World.”

“We are continually investing in Prime, adding more selection and making delivery faster and more convenient,” Greg Greeley, Amazon Prime’s VP, said in a statement. “In fact, in 2016, the last Prime Free Same-Day order from Amazon.com delivered in time for Christmas was ordered at 10:23 a.m. on Christmas Eve. The order included Venum Contender Boxing Gloves, and was delivered to a Prime member in Richmond, Virginia at 2:42 p.m.—the very same day, for free.

(Whoever received those boxing gloves last year: now you know.)

This year’s holiday shipping schedule will allow gift-givers to push that deadline even further. While two-day shipping is always free for Prime customers, if that were the only option, they’d have to be done buying all their gifts by Friday, December 22. This year’s shipping perk means that you can push your shopping all the way to Christmas Eve, as long as you live in one of Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery zones (you just have to order by 9:30 a.m.). Even better: If Prime Now is available in your area, you have until 9:14 p.m. on December 24 to place your order and still have something fabulous to stick under the Christmas tree.

Of course, zero-dollar shipping costs are far from the $99 service’s only perk: unlimited streaming of Prime Video movies and TV shows—including Amazon-produced series like The Man in High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, One Mississippi, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—is there for the bingeing. Free Kindle books, photo storage, and grocery delivery are among Prime’s many other benefits.

Not a Prime member? No problem! “Even if you are not currently a member, holiday shoppers can try Prime for free for 30 days and get two-day, one-day, and same-day shipping for free,” says Greeley.

It’s hard to argue with free.

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The Most (and Least) Expensive States for Staying Warm This Winter
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It’s that time of year again: Temperatures outside have plummeted, while your monthly heating bill is on the rise. If you want an idea of how much heat will cost you this winter (perhaps you blocked out last year’s damage to your bank account), one reliable indicator is location.

Average energy expenses vary from state to state due to factors like weather, house size, and local gas prices. Using data from sources including the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, WalletHub calculated the average monthly utility bill totals for all 50 states plus Washington D.C. in 2017.

Source: WalletHub

The personal finance website looked at four energy costs: electricity, natural gas, car fuel, and home heating oil. After putting these components together, Connecticut was found to be the state with the highest energy costs in 2017, with an average of $380 in monthly bills, followed by Alaska with $332 and Rhode Island with $329.

That includes data from the summer and winter months. For a better picture of which state’s residents spend the most on heat, we have to look at the individual energy costs. Michigan, which ranks 33rd overall, outdoes every other state in the natural gas department with an average bill of $60 a month. Alaska is close behind with $59, followed by Rhode Island With $58.

People living in Maine prefer oil to heat their homes, spending $84 a month on the fuel source. All six New England states—Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts—occupy the top six spots in this category.

So which state should you move to if you want to see your heating bill disappear? In Florida, the average household spends just $3 a month on natural gas and $0 on heating oil. In Hawaii, on average, the oil bill is $0 as well, and slightly higher for gas at $4. Of course, they make up for it when it comes time to crank up the AC: Both states break the top 10 in highest electricity costs.


WalletHub

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