Thursday, June 25, 2009

buy today or pay

Spurred by the posts of a couple of friends, as well as a recent rash of salespeople in our neighborhood, I feel like sharing my little sales experience of almost two weeks ago.

A girl came to the door toting information about children's books. She was a foreign student, cute accent, pretty approachable. However, she spouted her first memorized paragraph that ended with, "So if you have a minute, I'd love to come in and show you. It'll only take a second" and with that, she picked up her bag, moved toward the door, and appeared to have every confidence that I was going to invite her in at 7:00 p.m. to tell me about books I should be buying for my kids.

Strike one. I was nettled that she just assumed I'd want to listen. That sales tactic does NOT work on me. Does not.

So then I say, "You know....I need to put my kids to bed. Could you come back another night?" (This was a reach for me. I was feeling like saying, "I don't care about those books and I don't want you to come into my house right now go away.")

She gets this suspicious look on her face and says, "Now?" And looks at her watch, then looks at the sky as if to check if it's dark yet. As in You are putting your kids to bed now?

Strike two AND three--are you really questioning my household routines? Who do you think you are? Do you think you'll get a sale out of me by making me feel like I'm strange or hasty for putting my kids to bed now, or get a sale out of me by giving me the impression that you think I'm LYING about our bedtime just to get you out of my house?

I say with a mean little smile (I'm sorry sweet foreign sales girl, please forgive me for that mean little smile), "Yes. Now."

So she says with something that smelled suspiciously like You're A Weirdo, "Um....wow. Takes them a long time to go to sleep, if you put them down so early?"

Are you growling yet? Because I was, inwardly. I could have said, "Look, lady. We like our kids-in-bed-by-7:30 policy. And you know why? Because by that time, our children are tired. They need their rest. And frankly, we do too. In fact, this is most assuredly the time of day when I am most apt to send a cheeky salesperson away, because all I REALLY want to do is SIT DOWN and do NOTHING."

But I was mostly polite and said, "Come back another night." And silently (why didn't I just say i'm-not-interested ?!) decided I would be mysteriously running an errand on the night she chose to return. How non-confrontational of me.

Anyway--I don't have some vendetta against salespeople. I was one, once. I sold Cutco knives and believe me, I was TERRIBLE at it. Why? Because I can't bear to put the pressure on. My sales pitch was terrible. "If you think you need these some time down the road, just give me a call." I couldn't create a sense of urgency without feeling enormous guilt, and I knew that almost no one is "in the market" to buy knives. Sorry, Cutco. I failed you.

And maybe because I was a salesperson once, I'm doubly annoyed by the tactics. That whole Create A Need for the Product thing? And how about A Sense of Urgency? The book-selling girl mentioned that she might not be in town next week when I "wanted" her to come back. Uh-oh. Guess I'd better by these books NOW WITHOUT DELAY! One last-ditch sales effort? Guilt-tripping. You put your kids to bed now? How dare you cut off any hours of summer-days enjoyment just so you can rest and recharge? What kind of mother are you? Or simply, You do that? You're weird. But buy this and you won't be weird anymore, I promise.

I have been known to do one of two things under pressure:
1-I fold. Yes I do need your ultra-powerful lasts-forever Citrus House Cleaner and how was I possibly living without it before?!
Or 2-I get upset.
Once when Phill and I were considering buying a second car, we went to go test-drive at a dealership. The sales guy was really chill at first, totally calm, let us take it out for a ride with just ourselves and our at-the-time two kids. Then we came back and told him we'd get back to him. Then guess what happened?
He began to talk about how he could definitely get us a good rate, but only today. Only if we bought TODAY. (Already I was turned off.) I say, "No," just feeling oddly brave and direct and assertive.
Then he asks me, "Don't you think that's kind of rude? Just an outright 'no' before I've explained anything?" And even Phill is looking at me strangely, wondering who I am. (I am hardly ever this brave.) Then I say, "No, I don't think that's rude. I'm just being honest in telling you that I don't think I'll buy a car today."
THEN he talks to me about how they NEED to get rid of inventory TODAY so that they can make a PROFIT. Boy, was he desperate. He started telling me that it was not very "correct" for me to make him think I was going to buy a car (test-drive) and then not buy it (I'll think about it).
At that point, I was done. I finally said with unmistakable heat in my voice, "You know, I don't like feeling like I'm a bad person for not wanting to make a hasty decision. I am not going to buy a car from you today and I'd like you to stop guilt-tripping me for it."
Phill was trying to soothe me, probably totally uncomfortable with this uncharacteristic display from me, but the guy finally backed off, and basically went into his dealership in a huff. Which brings me right back to: Do you really think that's going to work?
What part of your brain thinks that you can make me feel bad and thereby want to buy something from you?

Anyway.....I suppose I have stronger feelings than I realized regarding sales people! Disclaimer: I don't hate all sales people. Just most of their tactics. And I really do just need to learn to be brave enough and courteous enough to say, "I'm not interested"--and hope that they will just leave it at that.

18 comments:

Kristy said...

Oh Rach! Loved the post. I don't know what else to say ;) Besides that I hate car dealers too...both cars we've bought from dealers have been bad experiences. The cars were fine, but the experience with the sales people...bleck! Thanks for sharing...

Heidi said...

I think you handled it well and with far more grace and patience than I probably would have. I hate dealing with high pressure tactics. I think it's commendable you said NO and pointed out how ridiculous that car guy was being.

We had someone try to get us to buy those LDS scripture movies and she came on Monday night and said they were told to do that since the Mormons are home for FHE! Then she kept pushing and pushing even when we pointed out their cheapest package would cost over $600 (she kept saying, "It's only $30 a month!") and finally what shut her up was when I said, "Our prophet counseled us to not go into debt." A dish tv sales guy knocked on the door and realized we were LDS, said he was also (trying to make a connection to make the sale, I'm sure) and tried to sell me on BYU TV. I pointed out it's free online and that most stations have nothing appropriate for our family to watch anyways. That got rid of him.

Sorry, your story reminded me of our sales annoyances, too. I'll shut up now. :)

Kelly said...

Bravo! Car salesmen are the worst! >:P
They definitely leave a bad taste in my mouth!
And that girl came to my house too. Sent her away... gosh, I hope she finds someone nice in St. George... she probably thinks we're all a bunch of meanies and liars!

Sarah said...

She was from Estonia and she told me she had to talk to like 35 families and if I wasn't interested just let her come in. So I did even thought I told her no. As she's pulling stuff out she brings Jadyn in and asks her what books she would like. Now I get the guilt from her. But we had JUST walked in from buying Howie so I didn't feel terrible and I let her in.

It did seem like she had no thought for anyone else. Weird lady!

That's why I take my kids to sell fundraiser stuff and now, our puppy. Haha!

midRae said...

She was at my house last night, in Cedar City, and almost made me burn dinner. She was not taking 'NO' for an answer. I finally just had to sternly say 'NO!' again and sent her off to the neighbors.

It seems like door to door sales people are coming out of the woodwork right now. I think we have had at least 4 in the past week.

With one of them my husband just opended the door and said, 'We're not interested.', before they could even get a word out. I was proud of him, he usually runs and hides and leaves it to me but I was in my PJ's with no bra. No way was I going to the door.

Good job Rae. And who does she think she is to question you as a mother?

camilla said...

hahaha. When i read your first paragraph, I gasped! I had people come to my house to sell my books. Except they chose my weakness. The booksellers were 2 handsome men from Scotland with Scottish accents. Well what do you think...I bought some books. And I felt like I was cheating on John the whole time lapping up their scottish accents and the attention these fine young things were paying to me. sigh. I can't WAIT till they deliver the books.....
Did I mention Scottish accents are my weakness? but you got that part, right?

Bridget said...

Oh gosh! I can't stand sales people, especially the ones that have these temporary kiosks inside malls. Every time Mike and I go there, without fail, we are stalked by a salesperson who won't leave us alone. Usually starts with, "Can I ask you a question?" Mike is very funny about it and one time his response was, "Absolutely not!" and he kept walking. When we were out of earshot from the salesperson, I was totally embarrassed and was like, "Why did you say that? That was so rude?" But he justified his answer pretty well by saying, "What? They asked if they could ask me a question and I told them no. They set themselves up for that answer!" A little backstory, one time we got sucked into their selling scheme and five minutes later Mike was getting his nail filed and the sales person was as me how beautiful I thought his shiny nail was! haha.

Lynnae Jackson said...

Good post, Rae! I have a bit of a vendetta against sales people too. They used to come to our apartment complex (despite the big NO SOLICITING signs posted everywhere) and try to get us to buy stuff. Poor, starving, destitute college students. I mean seriously. What were they thinking?

And I'm a person who hateshateshatesHATES being manipulated. I really doubt I'd have handled that girl as well as you did. Kudos to you. :)

Lara said...

I am always in a conundrum about these people. I know they need to make a buck, and I know sometimes the product is a good one. But the tactics turn me off, majorly. I had a Kirby guy in my house for seriously 2 hours before I could get him out of there, and he made me so mad that it was all I could do to keep from literally kicking him out the door.

Now I am a little more apt to just say I'm not interested thank you. (Especially if they are calling on the phone.) And if they are still persistent, I will shut my door. I really do need to just get a "no soliciting" sign.

Qait said...

HAHAHHAH and now enters...THE SALESLADY!
Just kidding. :) I hate those tactics, too, and I sell Mary Kay. But I don't really try to. If the women like it, they buy it. That's it. If they don't, they're still my friend. And I don't have to be weird and go door to door.
When I bought my straightener, I thought the sale girl was being silly about it. She goes "feel how soft my hair is" and has me feel the ROOTS. Well, duh, that part has no way to split yet. Whatever.
And a guy who printed all these photos of us when we'd agreed on the smaller deal and he says "but then I'll just have to throw these away, and they're good pictures!" Yeah, because he picked the ugly ones for our package and CHOSE to print extras. Doofus. We said matter-of-factly, "We don't even have the money. Forget it." He bartered with us until he'd brought the price down below half or something, at which point we DID buy because the extras really were prettier. *sigh* dumb sales trickery. I hate it.

Qait said...

HAHAHHAH and now enters...THE SALESLADY!
Just kidding. :) I hate those tactics, too, and I sell Mary Kay. But I don't really try to. If the women like it, they buy it. That's it. If they don't, they're still my friend. And I don't have to be weird and go door to door.
When I bought my straightener, I thought the sale girl was being silly about it. She goes "feel how soft my hair is" and has me feel the ROOTS. Well, duh, that part has no way to split yet. Whatever.
And a guy who printed all these photos of us when we'd agreed on the smaller deal and he says "but then I'll just have to throw these away, and they're good pictures!" Yeah, because he picked the ugly ones for our package and CHOSE to print extras. Doofus. We said matter-of-factly, "We don't even have the money. Forget it." He bartered with us until he'd brought the price down below half or something, at which point we DID buy because the extras really were prettier. *sigh* dumb sales trickery. I hate it.

Qait said...

HAHAHHAH and now enters...THE SALESLADY!
Just kidding. :) I hate those tactics, too, and I sell Mary Kay. But I don't really try to. If the women like it, they buy it. That's it. If they don't, they're still my friend. And I don't have to be weird and go door to door.
When I bought my straightener, I thought the sale girl was being silly about it. She goes "feel how soft my hair is" and has me feel the ROOTS. Well, duh, that part has no way to split yet. Whatever.
And a guy who printed all these photos of us when we'd agreed on the smaller deal and he says "but then I'll just have to throw these away, and they're good pictures!" Yeah, because he picked the ugly ones for our package and CHOSE to print extras. Doofus. We said matter-of-factly, "We don't even have the money. Forget it." He bartered with us until he'd brought the price down below half or something, at which point we DID buy because the extras really were prettier. *sigh* dumb sales trickery. I hate it.

Anna said...

She came to our house too, fortunately at the start of the day. I feel SO BAD for salespeople. Mostly because I know how much I would despise that job. Of course now that I know a little about the 'tactics' I may be less symapthetic. I told her upfront that I had no money and didn't let her in. I let sales people give me a little spiel on the porch, it was hot and she went away.

Michael and Bonnie said...

Oh Man, this is the same experience I had yesterday (when I posted my facebook status)....same foreign girl. I flat out told her I was not interested. It's hard to do, but they hear it often enough that they are used to it :) Good luck on the next one!

carajean said...

Eeew eeew eeew. I am so tired of people coming to my door to sell me things, particularly when I am trying to get the kids to eat dinner or something equally involved. When Marc and I go to look at cars we contemplate what kind of weird thing we could do to get the salesman to leave us alone, like just start making out and eventually even a SALESMAN will feel uncomfortable and walk away.

Lara said...

Just thought I'd let you know she came to my house the other day. I had to tell her four times I wasn't interested before she would leave, and the final time I had to start shutting the door. I feel horrible doing that, but they really need to listen the first three times. She was rather persistent.

Andrea said...

I was just thinking how I should put a No Soliciting sign up, but that'd look sort of tacky. Why should I have to make my place look bad just to save myself the trouble of solicitors? I need guts. I'm proud of you for being direct with that car salesman.

Kate said...

I don't like sales people either. They just can't take no for an answer and just keep going and going.