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.