Echoes with the sound of salesmen


Ahh, this is the life.  Sipping on naturally-flavored electrolyte-balancing water from H-E-B (not pronounced “heeb”), cooking my thighs with wi-fi internet radiation going to my laptop, watching our schedules take rocky-but-steadily-increasing shape, and strategizing about how to prevent Type A salesdouchebags from attempting to command control of your time and attention.

My first thought when he called us was, is this guy for real?

After all, he point-blank practically ordered me, “I’m going to need at least an hour and a half.”

Says who?  What nerve!  My gift is that I can think of the perfect comebacks but my curse is that I can never think of them at the time – only after the fact.

I expected more from the Neuroscience lab, I really did.  People whose opinions and judgment I trusted and respected had spoken highly of them.  I was taken aback and disappointed when this ramrod of an attitude came waltzing in.  I said I wanted to talk, not get steamrolled over.  I even helped the guy out by attempting to save us both the time by saying I was interested in Item B more than Item A, but he steered the subject right back around to Item A.

Turned me right off.

We kicked him out after an hour, feigning that we had somewhere to be.  I literally had to stop him in mid-sentence.  (And it didn’t come as a surprise; I gave everyone a heads-up about 15 minutes out.)

And then he had Jay follow him down, out to his car, where he proceeded to take up yet 10 more minutes of our time.  I mean, what if we had patients?

An hour means an hour.  Taking up yet more of my time isn’t going to win you any brownie points.  If we really had somewhere to be, my mind is sooo not going to be on the product, and he’s not going to close any additional sales.  Let us go.  (And then he’s mentioning phrases like, “we’re going to have to pick this back up next time”.  Ha!)

Now we’re not just commandeering, we’re also presumptuous.  How charming.

Listen up, salespeople.  I don’t care what product you’re selling or what industry you’re in; if you’re in sales of any kind, this applies to you.  I’m going to teach you how to sell to your toughest customers.  You’re even going to get it firsthand, because I am that type of customer.  And you’re even going to get it for free.  See how nice I am?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: your tactics don’t work on us.  We see everything.  We see you for what you are.  Don’t try to fool us; we’ll know, and you’ll only look that much more stupid.  We see your product or service for what it is.  Don’t try to hype it, because fluffy words and impressive stats are completely lost on us.  We’ve got our eyes on the prize.  It is what it is, and we see it for what it is.  Nothing more.  We don’t see it for what you want us to see; we evaluate what you’re selling for itself.  It must stand on its own.  In other words, you must really deliver the goods, sans bullshit.  We see every tactic you use, and we also see through them, so you might as well check all of the 1950s cornball hard-core high-pressure crap at the door, because you’re going to waste your time and energy, and you’re only going to end up frustrated and defeated.  We are impervious.  Don’t think we’re not on to you, and don’t think you have one up on us, because you don’t.  It doesn’t matter how wet-behind-the-ears we are, how nice we act, how young we look, etc.  We’re polite and inexperienced, but we know a snake when we smell it.  We’re at least as smart as you are. Chances are, we’re smarter.

So what’s a salesperson to do?  By now you’re probably wondering if we’ve ever bought anything in our lives.  Sure we have.  Probably too much.

Here’s another dirty little secret: it’s not about you, or your product, or your service, or how cool you think it is, or how much research you claim it has, or that you think you’re better than your competition.  Let me repeat: it’s not about you.  It’s not about your sales, your quotas, your anything.  You’re trying to sell to me, remember?  You’re taking up my time to try to convince me to give you my business.

What that means is, it’s really about me and my own needs.  You are only going to be as successful at selling to me as you are about meeting my needs, with a quality product or service, and at a fair price, with no bull, and treating me with respect every step of the way.  It’s the 21st century; priorities are changing and the economy is tight.  People are spending their time and money a lot more wisely now, and some bad apples are about to get weeded out.

So first, you’re going to respectfully request about 15-30 minutes of my time.  I’ll grant it if I think I might have a use for your products/services.  You arrive on time.  You spend most of your time getting to know what my business is all about, because you already know your product or service, but you don’t know mine and after all, you have to make your products fit with my needs, remember?

With that in mind, you’re going to be extremely conscious about–and respectful of–my time, while you concisely review only the most applicable and relevant (to me) of your literature, making sure to cover only the parts of which pertain to my needs and being sure to emphasize how you can meet my needs, and you’ll leave said literature and samples and whatever else you brought, at my office.

Then you’re going to watch the time yourself and wrap things up at the end of the time I’ve granted you, thanking me once again for the time I’ve granted you.  You’ll leave your contact info, and you’ll graciously leave my office, letting me make the next contact, without pestering me in the names of “following up”, “touching base”, or “keeping in touch/contact”.

Chances are, by the time you’re done, I will have already made up my mind to use your products/services, given that they are quality and fairly-priced.

Don’t pretend to be my friend in the meantime; if you’re bullshitting me, I’ll know it instantly.  We both know that the odds are pretty heavily weighted toward your not being interested in forming anything but a business relationship, preferably (for you) one from which you derive benefit.

* Disrespect for time.
* Ordering me versus requesting from me.
* Giving me the runaround, hiding information.
* Using empty words, or bragging about your products or services without backing it up.
* Nickel-and-diming.
* Hiding pricing or being coy about it.
* Playing dumb or pretending to forget something, such as an agreed-upon price or an option we decide we do or do not want.
* Wanting me to sign up right away without giving me a chance to think about it.
* Telling me that a certain offer is only good if I sign up right now.
* Constantly changing numbers on me.
* Trying to distract me.
* Moving too quickly.
* Sidestepping my questions.
* Wanting me to fax a check or give you my checking account info or wanting to take my credit card over the phone, especially if you’ve raised some red flags by violating one or more of the above.
* “Just one more thing”
* Dissing your competition, especially if you can’t come up with any good reason why or any specifics.
* Making us wrangle desired information out of you.
* Pushing us into options, products, or services we don’t want.
* And many more.

There ya have it.  Sell a good product at a fair price, treat us with respect, be helpful, mesh what you’ve got with our needs, take time to find out about us instead of just trying to ram your product/service down our throats, be up-front and straight-forward, be accessible, and avoid the crap in bullets and you’ll get not only plenty of business from us, but plenty of good press from us too.

And at the end of the day, we’ll be kicking back, drinking HEB electrolyte water, with a laptop on the couch, singing praises about–and planning additional purchases from–you instead of your competitors.


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