Aggressive software sales tactics revealed

Listed below are four of the most frequently used ploys by software sales vendors, as shared by customers from across Europe and North America.

Puppy dog

This is similar to the tactic used in the unscrupulous end of the pet trade to encourage people to buy puppies. The vendor gives a user organization free software for an extended trial period. Once the customer has built up a relationship with the vendor and/or a dependency on the software, he starts getting charged for it.

Gunmetal in the mouth

The user organization builds up a dependence on a software vendor in a number of mission critical areas over a prolonged period of time – many years in most cases. Once renewal time is reached, a threat to remove the software may be issued by the vendor unless the user renews the contract. The software is typically less commercially attractive than it was in the past.

Serial rapist

The user organization starts a relationship with a vendor. Soon, a bad act occurs – a contract dispute, for example, and the vendor is abusive. The sales representative apologizes, says he knows you’ve been treated badly, and he promises to focus on improving the relationship. Two years later, the abuse begins again, followed by another apology, and another period of relationship building. Repeat cycle ad infinitum.

No money down

Similar in approach to tactic commonly used at low-end discount furniture stores. The user organization only needs two users’ worth of software, but the vendor makes an offer: you will likely need more over the course of the next two years – why not buy ten now at our special discount price? The deal is only on the table until the end of this quarter. Vendors will sometimes offer to finance the deal without charging interest, so the customer will not need to part with money for a year. This tactic is designed to get customers to buy more software than they really need, and it often winds up unused shelfware.

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