Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to defeat the most dedicated salesperson

Salespeople can be intimidating, and high-pressure sales techniques are hard to resist. But Mom & Dad did just that in an episode we've called the "Strollachair" story. I asked Mom to write it up; here it is. The lesson I learned from the story is at the end.


Sometime before Tara was to appear on the scene, a young woman came to the door - a sales person for a ‘strollachair’.  Not only would it be a stroller, but it would convert into 13 other pieces: play table, etc.  As nicely as Mommy-to-be could, she indicated no interest (the very idea of spending a toddler’s days converting equipment into other uses was daunting to say the least).

The saleswoman pursued, wanting to know what time Daddy-to-be would be home from work, that she did so want us to just see the slide show of Hugh Downs demonstrating the many uses.  Mommy gave in and set a time.

When she showed up, she was not alone (apparently Mommy’s 38+ years had indicated to her she would not be dealing with a couple of young marrieds); her supervisor was with her.  From the outset, it was obvious the supervisor was indeed going to show the young lady how to make a sale.

We watched the show and listened to the spiel.  It went something like this:

Q.  “Now, you see it comes in two colors, aqua and gray; which do you like best?”

A.  (Daddy) “Gray.”  

(Mommy) “Gray.”

Out came the order book.

(In unison) “But we don’t want it.”

Q.  (To Daddy) “I know you want your wife to have whatever she wants for the baby.”

A.  (Daddy)  “Oh, yes.”

A.  (Mommy)  “But I don’t want it.”

Daddy remarked that the construction was very good.  

Sure enough, the order book appeared again.

(In unison)  “But we don’t want it.”

Q.  (In a very confidential tone) “Do you know that some couples who don’t even make their payments on their TVs will make their payments on this?”

A.  (Daddy)  “Oh, that’s no problem; if we wanted it we would pay cash for it.”

By this time, the supervisor must have realized she was dealing with a couple long familiar with the A, B, Cs of selling, so she began to dig in.  There was a deal to include a crib (which Mommy and Daddy were not going to buy). In a very strident voice, “If you’ll buy tonight, I’ll pay for the mattress out of my own pocket!”

(In unison)  “But we don’t want it.”

Then, came what was supposed to be the clincher, “If anything should happen to the baby, God forbid, here’s an Act-of-God Guarantee; your money would be refunded.”

(In unison)  “But we don’t want it.”

Less-than-cordial goodnights were said.  Daddy and Mommy had the distinct feeling the supervisor had a big urge to slam the door.


After Tara was born, a young lady arrived one day to sell a set of Little Golden Book Encyclopedias.  

As she walked in, she looked around and said, “Oh, I can see you like nice things.”  I had the definite suspicion she would have said the same thing if my decor had included burlap bags and orange crates.  

I let her give her spiel and gave her a “No.”  

Using a confidential tone, she said, “Now some women just take the payments out of their household money and their husbands never know about it.”

I came back with, “Of course that would not be a problem; if I wanted it, I would pay cash.”

As I remember, she didn’t know quite where to go from there - except out.

Miss Tara's lesson
I learned two important things from this about defeating salespeople when they are in front of you and you're finding it hard to get them to understand "no". (When they're on the phone, just hang up.)
(1)  Continuing to repeat, "But I don't want it" doesn't always do the trick. 
(2)  Killing the clincher (i.e., the inevitable offer of a payment plan) with "If I wanted it, I would pay cash" really takes the wind out of their sails. It doesn't matter if it's true or not. If you really want to get them off your case, that's the line to use.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I hope she wasn't waiting outside all that time

When I was teaching college Spanish, it wasn't surprising to have a number of students vanish by the third week. Sometimes they dropped; sometimes they just stopped coming and forgot to drop.

Therefore, I didn't think anything of it when this particular young woman disappeared from my class in the second week. I was surprised, however, when half an hour into class during the eighth week, she walked into class and rather noisily headed toward an empty seat, saying, "Sorry. My bus was late."

I thought, but somehow managed not to say, "Your bus was six weeks late?"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

HOW many e-mails?

As I was going through the daily virtual mountain of e-mails at work a little while back, it occurred to me to start tallying the number of them I receive in a day. Fortunately, only a few leak through the spam filter, and often I have to look at those to be sure they aren't actually something from a student. 

I'm counting the spam and ads as well, because they take the same amount of time as if they were paper junk mail coming into my actual mailbox. It's only a couple of seconds, but it does add up.

For the month of April, I received 890 e-mails on my work account. This comes out to 40.5 for every work day. 

I think I'll start doing the same thing with my personal e-mail as well -- just to see what I find out.