better buyer 4

Much is written today about better sales and marketing, but have you read much about how to be a better buyer?

There is more to the transaction than just price, right?

What else matters when making a purchase?

Here’s an initial list for your consideration and please share your thoughts too.


  • Performance – whatever the item is supposed to do; how well does it actually do it. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well does it work?
  • Durability – how long will it last? How much of a load can it really handle? Is it tough or fragile?
  • Ease of use – Is it easy to learn and teach others?
  • Ease of installation – Does it require any special care or environment?
  • Availability – How quickly can I have it?
  • Mobility – Can it be easily transported?
  • Safety – What are the risks in using the item?
  • Physical appearance – Does it look good? Is it bigger or smaller than other options? How much space does it need?
  • Sensational – Will it affect my senses – is it noisy, smelly, heat producing, visually annoying?
  • Exhaust and by products – Does using it cause other things to occur?


  • Maintenance – What do I have to do to keep it working well? Will you do it for me? How expensive might this be?
  • Repairs – Can I fix it myself? Who can fix it? Does the supplier do so? … at what cost?
  • Service agreement – Is this available? What does it cost? What does it include?
  • Warranty – For how long? What’s covered? Any testimonials about this?
  • Replacement parts – Easy to find? At what prices? How often needed?


  • Unit price – As compared to other options?
  • Flexible terms of purchase – financing, leasing and so forth.
  • Nickel and dime charges – over and above the price, what other costs or fees are charged?


  • Reputation – Google reviews? Community concern?
  • Culture – What kind of a supplier do you want to support? Does their social or environmental position matter? How do they treat their people?
  • Expert advice – is the seller an expert? Are they looking out for my best interest or theirs?
  • Help desk support – How is help provided?
  • Size – Does a small business offer an advantage?
  • Locality – Does a local business offer an advantage?

Every purchase is a unique event and a generic list like this includes some elements that will often times be not needed or considered. But sometimes, when the acquisition is going to contribute significantly to our life and or business, then perhaps we should be more diligent in our shopping. And consider much more than just price.

Be a better buyer. Be more discriminating. Demand more from your suppliers.


Steve Gatter is a copywriter and an advocate for small and local businesses who offer a full complement of value-added benefits to everything they do. Shop small.