Beware the impulse buy – 5 BIG TOM tips

In this blog from Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM) he discusses the primary considerations customers make when choosing how they buy.

It matters who we are talking to.  The priorities for a 17 year old can be entirely different to their parent, or perhaps the 38 year old customer who wants to learn to drive.

As the desire is to pass the driving test in order to get the full driving licence it really isn’t surprising that so many people don’t really go much beyond price and availability.  But before I expand on this natural default position, let’s get some context.

Yesterday, while browsing at the Apple store Covent Garden, my wife is being shown a variety of different straps for her watch.  The colours, the textures, oh there was so much choice.  My 12 year old asks the assistant with the carefree abandon that the innocence of youth provides “Can you say what the prices of these are?”, pointing to about 10 straps that my wife has in front of her.  There was an instant and firm response “I can!”.  Pause.  Everyone takes a deep breath (except my son).  The assistant gives a range of prices from £150 to an eye watering £370, feeling absolutely no compulsion to make any effort whatsoever to put context to the pricing.  No mention of materials, functionality, user experience, predicted life length, nothing.  We are standing in the Apple store, his companies marketing efforts are clearly already done.   As we browse through the SONOS speakers, the Macs, the laptops not a single price is in sight.  It is a wonderland of Appleness where time momentarily stands still, pristine products with no prices are sat there just waiting for customers to EXPERIENCE them in their hand.  You can almost see the signs saying “Pick me up”.

With driving training, my company is providing a service.  Whilst it is always a good idea to check out the car and driving instructor prior to committing with anyone, what is more difficult to EXPERIENCE is how the training will make you feel.  When you try on a new clothing product or sunglasses, or fiddle around with a new smartphone the senses go into overdrive.  Unconsciously, the feel of the fabric or button pressing, the visuals your eyes are detecting, how the sunglasses make you feel when you turn your head in this direction, then that direction then pucker the lips.  Your heart is beating faster, feel good impulses are coursing through your body, there is a rather pleasant combination of the anxiety of parting with some cash in the next few minutes with the reward of owning something that makes you feel good about yourself.  In your mind you have already decided you are purchasing this product, the next clever bit is handling the phase of negotiating a price so that you give the impression that you are perfectly happy to turn around and decline the purchase.

With enough of this experience of instant gratification of getting what one desires, quite understandably, we will transfer over that mind set when selecting with whom to learn to drive.  The end goal is passing the driving test, therefore naturally, questions are based around turning that desire of the possession of the full driving licence into a reality.  Parents will often ask BIG TOM Admin of our pass rate, they will ask if there is a guarantee to pass the test on the 5th day of the intensive driving course – the mind set is centred entirely around replicating that feeling of buying the product.  Our lives are filled constantly with that feeling of instant gratification, it becomes the default position.

The difference with the service of learning to drive is that you just don’t know how this is going to make you feel.  You might have heard some horror stories from friends.  Learner drivers reduced to tears, made to feel worthless and incompetent, bored at driving around test routes repeatedly, unprepared for real life driving after passing.  With learning to drive, the problem is that if you come out the other end of the process, having passed the driving test but nervous or unable to deal with real life situations, then it’s a little bit like paying the asking price for a product, only to find that actually it doesn’t quite look or feel in reality how it did in the shop.  Impulse buying, as addictive as it is because of the high it gives you, really is not a smart way to shop. 

When it comes to choosing a training provider to learn to drive with, let me give you 5 tips that will greatly enhance your chances of making the right choice:

1.       You can’t experience the service beforehand, but you can learn how others have felt.  Search for authentic customer reviews.  Authentic means that the customer has literally written the words of their experience rather than ticking a pre-forma box of what the company concerned wants them to “say”.

2.      Ask to see the driving school car and the instructor.  This should be free without obligation.  This is a no-brainer.

3.      Compare the benefits. Print out our helpful “compare us” checklist. You will be simply amazed how the features of an intensive driving course differ.  Know what you are buying.

4.       Demand to see the Terms & Conditions prior to committing.  Once you have obtained them, read them.  If the Terms have been written in a manner which makes it very difficult for you to understand or compare, then you should be very careful to properly understand them before you decide to buy.

5.      Beware of the “guarantee”.  This Learner from Barnsley finally passed his driving test on his 33rd attempt.  There are no guarantees and it is disingenuous to suggest there are…. READ THE TERMS.

BIG TOM Driving School  Enquiries:  Sales: 0775 607 1464



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