Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cash vs Card Charges: Ask for a Discount!

Did you ever know that when we pay by cash at a lot of stores these days, we can negotiate with the merchant to get a further discount?

Many customers do not realise that many of the merchants absorb "inter-change fees" that is charged by the card Issuer Bank for the transactions that is made. The rate charged can be as low as 1.3%, to an exorbitant 2.5% of the amount charged. Rates charged depends on the type of card used, or whether the card is the Issuer Bank's range of cards as well.

According to my understanding, the charges from the bank for using the terminals are:
- monthly charge for terminal used.
- phone line rental charge for terminal.
- Inter-change Fees (per transaction!)
- Discount rate (processing fee per transaction!)
- Address Verification Charge (for mail/telephone order)
- Annual Fee to MasterCard & Visa.

Hence, in reality, we are saving the merchant a lot of transaction fees & charges when we do not use a card. Take that knowledge and ask the merchant for a discount. Most times, the merchant will rather give you an discount when the customer offers to pay in cash than to have to pay the exorbitant fee when the card is used.

We might not get any reward points that way, but the freebies and other services that are probably thrown in will cost more than the reward points any day.

Related Links:
The Independent: What, No Cash Discount?
Blag A Deal: Getting a Discount for Cash.
Blog: Ideal rates & fees:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Debate: Cash vs Credit Card vs Debit Card in Malaysia.

Today I finally made the decision to return all the credit cards belonging to my parents back to them. One is a Gold HSBC Gold, and the other is a Citibank Gold. I will ask them to return it when I head my bottoms back to Australia.... but that is another story.....

The only cards I have to use now is the Maybank Bankcard (Yellow ATM card), and a Maybank Visa Debit Card. However, after the atrocious experience of having someone swiping my Maybank Visa Debit Card, I decided that it was most unwise to place too much money in the latter. Hence, it will be treated more like an emergency "prepaid" card.

Many of the staff handling credit card terminals in Malaysia are really ignorant on safeguarding their customer's interest, for simple things like ensuring that the signature of the card matches the one on the invoice chit. Managers may feel it is time consuming to provide proper training for their staff, nor ensure that their staff are accountable for their dealings.

Fortunately in my case, Maybank decided to absorb the theft and refunded the unauthorized amount swiped from my account. In summary, it is useless to have a chip enabled card Visa/Mastercard Debit card, and all the high flung security features, IF the people handling the terminals do not execute their roles to protect the interest of their customers.

Related Links:
1. Which one? : Debit or Credit
2. Cash or Credit Card Experiment.
3. Using Credit Card to buy a car.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Part 2: Haggling & Negotiation Skills

Woo Hoo... As I would know, negotiations are not my best skills. But as people say, an Experienced salesperson is Experienced because he has been through enough Experiences.

Today, one week after having made a transaction on impulse for a lifestyle package, with my homework and research done on other Lifestyle Aesthetic Provider Enterprises in the past one week, the time came to meet with with my consultant Kelly (KC for short), who manages my lifestyle aesthetic treatments, and is the Manager of the outlet where where I am based at.

The general rule is, to always do your research before making a purchase. However I did the opposite.. hence the rational for the Buyer's Remorse in my situation!!!

I was blessed. God was on my side even when I didn't ask him to. My research led me to find out that the deal I was given was much cheaper than the initial package quoted being,
  • (N.P= Normal Price). Now that I reflect on it, one knows that we should never take the N.P unless some haggling is done.
  • Then there is the (P.P= Promotion Price)- which is what I bought for my initial package.
  • Finally there is the lowest price that I went to, which was much lower than the N.P and P.P, and after much haggling. I should have asked more, but better try next round. :-P
In Malaysia, is of ultimate importance that one MUST haggle & negotiate for a better price. Cultural Practice states it is MANDATORY.

Today in the midst of my treatment, KC proposed another package to me. This time, with my eyes and ears on the alert, I listened to her as she gave her sales pitch of the benefits of this next treatment.

Experience makes us wiser.
And I was.

This time I told her that I'd give it a think over and get back to her.

I believe that KC did not procure the position as the Outlet Manager without having to prove the skills. The Outlet Manager has the responsibility to meet the sales quota, reporting all sales and marketing movements to The Management.

They have to find various ways to persuade customers to sign up for the different packages in hand or to use existing customers to generate leads. Among the practices that could generate leads are
  • Offering benefits and incentives for current customers
  • Ensuring that the packages or merchandise purchased works well in order to generate good word-of-mouth
  • Giving good after-sales service to ensure that the client returns.
  • Offering a fairly priced package to ensure that the client does not feel that they have been over-charged, or at least giving the impression to the client that they have made a wise decision on their part.

Marketing Strategy: An Unexpected Sales Lead

Okay, I know its been a while since I wrote.

The office has been really busy with the post-event business, and now opening for new bookings for the next fair.
Today I had an interesting experience in the midst of looking for new leads. Since I was in charge of working on lifestyle related leads, there I was flipping through this magazine which featured ads of different kinds. My eye fell on this one particular ad which was advertising a certain lifestyle product. The product featured had about 60 outlets in total, detailing the mobile number of each outlet.

So dialing the mobile number as provided, the phone rang and someone answered. I asked for the H/Q number of the company for the product featured, and then this person (who I could guess was the manager for the outlet) said that they were only re-sellers of the product. Then she even prodded for more information and said that perhaps she could help me instead.

So I relayed to her the news about the expo that my company was intending to hold, the venue, the benefits and who were our partners as well as our A&P activities. Surprise. Surprise!

I ended up forwarding information to her.... what a surprising way of getting a lead when one is not even looking for it.

Related Links:
Wikipedia- Lead Generation , Sales Lead


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