You’ve been shopping and you’ve walked out of the supermarket with arms full of shopping and that’s when it happens. A group of street vendors approaches you with an overly happy ‘Hi! May I ask you something?’ You don’t want to be rude, so you answer them politely and before you know it, it’s too late. You now donate a lot of money to a fund that you might not be able to remember off the top of your head. When you get home you don’t feel like sorting it and you try to forget about it. Months, or even years later - and hundreds of euros in - you find out that you’re still donating money…
The organisation behind these street vendors has accomplished their goal: you’re bringing in money. The street vendor is happy too, they’ll be receiving a bonus because they’ve made you a subscriber. Because of these bonuses they’ll do everything in their power to sell you a
subscription. They use all kinds of selling techniques to outsmart you as a consumer. They’ll talk and talk until you feel like your back is against the wall and the only option for you is to donate. But you do have options! Don’t let them convince you otherwise! Below you will find some useful tips to arm yourself against their contrived selling techniques. So next time you’ll only come home with your shopping.
10 tips to say 'no' to (street)vendors
- Avoid contact.
- Recognise the ‘yes tactic’
- Don’t accept any ‘free’ products
- Don’t feel like you’re the only solution to the problem
- Recognise the ‘self persuasion technique’ ahead of time
- Don’t fall for the ‘door-in-your-face-technique’
- Make sure to ask if you’re signing up for a monthly subscription
- Say you’ve already subscribed
- Don’t be fooled by the ‘foot-between-the-door technique’
- Don’t be persuaded by the ‘shortage argument’
- Bonus tip: cancel your subscription within the 14 days respite
1. Avoid contact
This might not feel good, but it always works: avoid contact with the vendor and do not give them a chance to speak.
If you spot vendors on the street, avoid eye contact and pretend you haven’t heard them. Without eye contact, they won’t be able to strike up a conversation. Have your phone with you? Now’s the time to take that fake phone call. You don’t have to be an actor to do so. Put the phone up to your ear, mumble a couple of yes and no’s and your done! You’ve successfully dodged a vendor.
Are they ringing your doorbell? Don’t open the door. You don’t need to feel obliged to open the door. Luckily, these vendors are easy to spot by their fluorescent coats.
2. Recognise the ‘yes tactic’
Found yourself in a conversation? Pay attention: recognise the first ‘yes tactic’ the vendor uses on you.
People like regularity. We say and do things that we have said and done before. Vendors use this against us by applying the ‘yes tactic’. They’ll ask you a couple of questions that you’ll most likely answer in the affirmative. After a few ‘yes’ answers they’ll ask you the question they’ve been wanting to ask all the time: “Would you like to donate?”
Because you’ve answered ‘yes’ to their other questions, you’ll be more likely to answer this question in the affirmative as well. An example:
Vendor: ‘Do you care about our planet?’
Vendor: ‘Do you like animals?’
Vendor: ‘Would you like to donate to the WWF?’
If you recognise this technique, you won’t fall into the ‘yes’ rhythm. Otherwise you’ll have agreed to donate before you know it and it’s hard to come back from that. If you know this trick, it might be easier to handle the vendor.
“You don’t get owt for nowt”, is what my mother used to say. So when a vendor offers you a free product, like a lottery ticket or a paper, do not fall into their trap!
This is a selling technique that’s called the ‘reciprocity-technique’. The principle of reciprocity in sales psychology comes down to the following: when someone gives us something, we feel the need to give something back (in this case a subscription). The solution: don’t accept, so you won’t have to give. Problem solved!
4. Don’t feel like you’re the only solution to the problem
Another well known sales tactic used by vendors is to confront you with a problem that they pretend you can solve. You feel like you are the only one who can help and you feel obliged to donate.
Don’t get us wrong, donating to charity is a good way to contribute to a better world. Your contribution is very much needed as well. However, don’t lose sight of your own situation and consider the moment of your donation.
Is money tight or are you donating to a lot of charities already? Think twice if you want to support this fund too. You can’t be everyone's hero.
Be wary of this tactic and don’t feel pressured into trying to solve all of the worlds problems. You’ll lift your weight whenever you can and when you choose to. If you have some money to spare, you can always make a donation online. Moreover, this donation can be a one-off and you don’t need a contract to do so.
5. Recognise the ‘self persuasion technique’ ahead of time
The unfortunate event has taken place... You’ve been roped into conversation with a vendor. After a short conversation you’re convinced: “I must donate.” You’ve always wanted to support the environment, because no one wants our planet to deteriorate, right?!
You’ve convinced yourself because of a trick the vendor has pulled on you. They’ve made you list reasons why you must donate. The only thing your brain is telling you is ‘DONATE’. This trick is called the ‘self persuasion technique.’
Recognise this technique ahead of time and ask yourself the following: “I care about the environment, but do I really want to donate monthly..?
6. Don’t fall for the ‘door-in-your-face-technique’
The ‘door-in-your-face-technique’ is based on simple psychology and works as follows. The vendor asks you for an unreasonable request. For example, asking you to buy a large amount of expensive lottery tickets. You’ll probably decline.
He follows up the first request with a more reasonable one: a smaller amount of tickets for a more reasonable price. These tickets seem so much cheaper that you feel inclined to purchase them.
However, the vendor wanted to sell you them at this price from the get go, which means you’ve fallen for his trick. Be aware of this tactic and don’t be misled!
7. Make sure to inform if you’re signing up for a subscription
If you’re interested in purchasing something or making a donation, be sure to check if you’re not signing up for a subscription. Vendors are not allowed to misinform you and are obliged to tell you if this is the case.
They might be obligated to tell you the truth, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t try to distort it. They’ll try to make it sound as if you’re not subscribed at all. Be aware and ask a few direct questions. Feel like the vendor’s trying to sell you a masked subscription? Back away.
8. Say you’ve already subscribed
See a newspaper vendor coming your way to sell you a subscription? Simply tell them you’ve already subscribed to this newspaper. Simple, yet effective! It might not be for everyone, but a little white lie to save you a lot of money? No harm done.
9. Don’t be fooled by the ‘foot-between-the-door technique’
The vendor misleads you by offering you something small. Once you’ve agreed, they’ll ask you for more. The first offer might be a cheap razor. Amazing! Just what I need to trim this beard I’ve gotten fed up with. You buy the razor and before you know it you’ve subscribed to a monthly razor plan. How did this happen?
Well, it’s really hard to decline a follow up offer when you’ve accepted the first one. After buying the razor, the plan seemed like a good idea. Figuratively speaking the vendor put his foot between the door.
This sales trick is inspired by basic psychology yet again and is used very frequently by supermarkets, webshops and street vendors alike. Does the following sentence ring a bell? “Offer ends today!”
Automatically your brain thinks ‘SHORTAGE’. In other words, the product won’t be available for much longer, so you instantly need it.
Shortage creates value. If you feel like a product has almost run out, the perceived value increases. Recognise this trick and don’t fall for it. The deal usually runs the whole year or multiple times a year, so don’t act hastily.
Bonus tip: cancel your subscription within the 14 days respite
Haven’t been able to fend off the street vendors? There’s still hope! Online purchases and purchases made on the street or at your door have a legal 14 day respite. Within these 14 days you can cancel your subscription or product free of charge. Don’t know how? Let Dyme help you! We can help you cancel all of your subscriptions.