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Capýtulo 6:

 Buying and selling. Comprar y vender en inglés

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

P. J. O’Rourke- US humorist & political commentator

LEAD IN Thinking...

Cold calling is, according to the Macmillan Dictionary on-line, an unexpected telephone call or visit by someone trying to sell something.

Think about these questions:

  • What is you reaction when you receive a cold-call?
  • What are the problems of this selling technique for the sellers?
  • When is it recommended to cold-call prospective customers?
  • What advice would you give to a cold-caller?



Modern selling is about life, people, business, communications, behaviour, personality and psychology, self-awareness, attitude and belief. Selling is about understanding how people, organisations, processes and relationships work, and enabling good outcomes. Selling is the final link of marketing in itself. It is the personal contact between the salesperson and the customer that actually produces business. Thus, buying and selling are two issues very interrelated one to the other.

Understanding prices and delivery dates as well as being able to make and accept offers, apart from emotional intelligence skills, are key points in order to succeed in buying or selling. And this is what we are going to be dealing with in this unit.


Buying is a critical function. If, as a buyer, you can get involved with your own sales people this will make a difference. Bear in mind that when buying anything you should be aware of the principles and techniques of effective negotiation. It is likely that the person selling to you will be using them, so even if you do not wish to adopt the approach and methods concerned, it's as well that you be able to recognise the tactics.

As a buyer, understanding prices is a must. Price is different from cost. The terms are often interchanged in business, which can lead to confusion in negotiations. The key rule is that 'price' is only one of the elements that makes up 'cost'.




Write the missing words in this text (from www.businessballs.com):




Imagine you have a product to sell in anew market. What kind of language would you use and what would your ultimate goals be? Do you want to establish a long-term customer base or do you want to sell your product as quickly as possible?

In terms of selling we could name to main techniques: the hard sell and the soft sell.

The hard sell technique is more sales-orientated whereas the soft sell is more orientated towards customers. Let’s have a look at how to approach these techniques.

The hard sell approach uses every effort to convince a customer to buy a product, by doing the following:

  • using phrases such as: I am sure... I guarantee... you can’t go wrong with... if you wait....
  • asking questions for which you don’t expect an answer.
  • giving your own opinions.
  • indicating you know more than the customer.
  • putting time pressure on the customer.

The soft sell approach persuades people by encouraging them, by doing the following:

  • using phrases such as I think... I get the feeling... Something tells me that... Tell me what is important...
  • asking questions for which you expect an answer.
  • getting the opinion of the customer.
  • finding out what the customer would like.
  • giving the customer time.

One of the well-know selling models is the AIDA model, which believes that in order to sell a product you must draw attention to it, garner interest, move a person from mere interest to desire, and then inspire them to take action and purchase your product. Sometimes this is easier said than done.

According to the on-line business dictionary (www.businessdictionary.com), the AIDA selling system is:

1.  Popular for over a hundred years as a sales training tool, AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action as the names for steps to be taken in sequence in a selling process. The salesperson must (1) first make the prospect aware of the product, (2) foster any interest shown, (3) stimulate the desire to buy and possess the product and, finally, (4) encourage action to purchase.

In the late 1950s, when selling was first treated as a professional discipline, and sales training began, people started talking AIDA. Today it is even more relevant. Often called the 'Hierarchy of Effects', AIDA describes the basic process by which people become motivated to act on external stimulus, including the way that successful selling happens and sales are made:

A – Attention    I – Interest          D – Desire           A – Action

Simply, when we buy something we buy according to the AIDA process. So when we sell something we must sell go through the AIDA stages. In other words, something first gets our attention; if it's relevant to us we are interested to learn or hear more about it. If the product or service then appears to closely match our needs and/or aspirations, and resources, particularly if it is special, unique, or rare, we begin to desire it. If we are prompted or stimulated to overcome our natural caution we may then become motivated or susceptible to taking action to buy.

Have a look at these pointers:





Apart from all this, when selling, it is highly recommended to be ready to deal with objections. To start with, decide to what extent you agree with these statements:

  • The customer is always right.
  • You can’t predict all possible objections before closing a selling negotiation.
  • An objection is a customer’s invitation to the seller to persuade them.
  • People will pay more to buy from people they trust.

Three common techniques to deal with objections are:

A) The ‘feel, felt, found’ formula: Telling the customer you how they feel and giving examples of other customers who felt the same but found they were wrong.

B) Redirecting the objection to obtain more information.

C) Welcoming objections and trying to establish agreement.


Activity 1.

Read these conversations between sales representatives and their customers - none of them is successful in selling their product or service – and then improve each conversation by using the techniques explained before:


Customer:           Listen, your proposal looks great, but I don’t feel ready to change my kitchen now.

Salesperson:       Well, if you don’t sign the proposal today, I’ll have to bill you for the study and the plans of the kitchen.

Customer:           Bill me for the study? You never mentioned that!

Salesperson:       It’s in all our literature. Look, here in the small print.


Customer:           €4,000! How do you justify that?

Salesperson:       Simple. To make HI-FI as good as this, you need the best engineers.

Customer:           But I’ve had another quotation for less than two thousand!

Salesperson:       Well, you know what they say; if you pay peanuts, you pay monkeys.


Activity 2.

Read these sentences about hard and soft sell and decide if they are sales (S) or customer (C) -oriented.

  1. I think we share the same opinion about his type of product.
  2. This product is without doubt one of the best on the market.
  3. If you don’t buy this product today, you’ll regret it.
  4. Your satisfaction with this product is very important to me.
  5. I know that a product like this is just what you need.
  6. Have you seen for yourself how this product can make things easier for you?
  7. Do you think you will get a better deal elsewhere?
  8. I am sure this product will make your life easier.



There are usually two misconceptions about negotiating. The first is ‘Negotiating is all about making offers and finding compromises’. The second, ‘Negotiating is all about supplier-customer situations’. No matter what is your idea of negotiating, you may want to agree that we use the same language when negotiating with colleagues, bosses about day-to-day work procedures or with customers.

If we focus on a buying and selling context, issues that might be subject of negotiation are: prices, minimum order, discount, delivery, quality standards, payment terms, extras, penalty clauses, other contract details, procedures, documentation, after-sales service, timing, guarantees, etc.

Getting prepared before a negotiation is very important. It might consist of:

  • Setting objectives for what you want to achieve and having very clear in your mind what your priorities are.
  • Identifying the other person’s need by asking lots of questions.
  • Listing to all possible variables and objections.
  • Deciding on possible concessions

Psychological elements also play an important role when making deals:

  1. Maximise your concessions by, for example, stressing the costs to you, referring to a major problem your concession will solve, implying that the concession is exceptional.
  2. Minimize the concessions by, for instance, acknowledging a concession briefly without putting value on it, devaluing the concession, amortizing the concessions.

Other key techniques during the negotiation may include:

  • Summarizing frequently
  • Taking notes
  • Using silence, it gives you time to think.
  • Promoting good feelings when the agreement is easy.

Try to avid using ‘NO’ when negotiating. People say a lot of different things when they really know the answer is "No." Have a look at these examples:

  • "I'll see what I can do."
  • "I'll let you know.""
  • "Maybe."
  • "I'll ask."
  • "I'll find out."
  • "You could call head office and ask; they have more authority than me."

If the demand or request is not possible, too commercially demanding, or not reasonable for any reason we must kill it there and then, or it will come back to haunt you. Do not negotiate if there are unrealistic demands being made at any stage. This is for three reasons:

 - It prevents you having to concede substantial ground unnecessarily.

 - It avoids raising false hopes, which would make it difficult for us later to satisfy later.

 - It stamps your personal authority and professionalism on the situation.

A clear and honest "No, I'm afraid not," with suitable explanation and empathy for the other person's situation is all it takes.


Activity 1.

Read this negotiation and then complete the useful phrases for bargaining:


Helen:   All right, Sara. I think we agree on what we need. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty –how soon can you deliver, and how much is it going to cost?

Sara:      Ok, look. I’m going to write down a figure per month here, just so it’s clear. There, how do you feel about that?

Helen:   Wow, as much as that! Is there any way we could bring it down a little?

Sara:      Well, that figure is based on what you said you need, Helen. I might possibly be able to bring it down a little, but only if we had a five-year contract.

Helen:   Well, I’d be reluctant to a five-year contract unless you could guarantee a maximum down time of 24 hours per month. Could you do that?

Sara:      Let me reassure you on that point, Helen. Our services are very, very stable and average time is less that 12 hours per year – and so we are happy to guarantee less than 12 hours per month, as long as you choose our premium service level – but of course, it’s more expensive.

Helen:   Well, I don’t really want to increase the budget. Hum. What about lead-time? Can you have everything ready by next week?

Sara: Not unless we hire another person. I suppose we could do it, providing you paid a year’s fees in advance.

Helen:   Hm.

Sara:      Normally, development time is around three months.

Helen:   Look, let’s split the difference. I can pay six months in advance on condition that you have all run and ready in two months. And if you can bring the monthly fee down 5% and include the premium service, I’ll agree to the five-year contract.

Sara:      You are a though negotiator, Helen. But OK, I think we can agree to that.

Helen:   It’s a deal!


  1. I ___________ be able to bring it down a little, but ___________ a five-year contract.
  2. ___________ to agree to a five-year contract, ___________ guarantee a maximum down time of...
  3. ... so ___________ guarantee less than 12 hours per month, __________ our premium service level.
  4. I suppose __________ do it, providing ________ all s running and ready in two months.
  5. .... let’s _________ difference.

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