You Dont Love Your Kids if You Dont . . .

"You don't love your kids if you don't buy my vacuum cleaner." The salesman looked me right in the eye and didn't even flinch. He was sure he was going to get the sale. I was a caring Mom, of course I'd buy his vacuum.

Now it was a good vacuum cleaner, but I wasn't buying one that day, already said so before his demonstration. To make things worse, he had a young assistant with him, training him. The only reason I let them do the demonstration was the new kid said he needed a place to "practice", didn't matter that I wasn't going to buy one, "let me give you a free carpet shampoo".

So I looked right back and told him exactly what I thought of his sales tactic. I also said that I didn't even think it was very effective, I'm sure he'd made many people angry. I could not believe it when he said that it did not matter since many would buy out of guilt or whatever. It had a lifetime warranty, thus no repeat customers. I guess he didn't want any referrals either, nor did he care about his reputation.

Recently, I got a call from a person I do not even know. "If you are serious about your business, you will take 45 minutes to listen to my call. I promise your business will explode." (From a person who didn't know me and had never heard of my business) Now I admit, there are times when I get frustrated, blowing up things could be tempting, but no thanks. I declined. Now the vacuum cleaner was good, so I'll keep an open mind, maybe the program they are selling is good. I do care about my kids and my business. But the sales tactic still stinks.

And we wonder why people hate sales. I'm betting that they met someone like that particular vacuum salesman. I suggest that he didn't understand sales. I didn't buy. Neither did my neighbors, amazing the power of word of mouth.

But what if, after his demonstration, listening to me when I said I wasn't in the market for a cleaner, he was kind, thanked me for my time, left a couple of his cards for referrals?

What if the person on the phone, instead of saying "Have I've got a deal for you, give me 45 minutes of your time or else . . ." introduced themselves, asked questions about myself and my business. There is no way they can know whether or not they have something that I need, unless they know a bit about my business. When and if they saw that they had something that would truly benefit me, then they could ask. I'm not going to give a total stranger 45 minutes just because they ask for it, nor do I want to learn better ways to market my business from anyone using this guilt trip technique.

I'm not fond of the "If you don't buy now, you'll be sorry" deal either. I can remember looking at cars, and I'd hear "You can only get this deal if you buy this car right now." I bet if I showed up with cash the next day, that I could talk them into the same offer. But I do appreciate the car salesman who explains that since the '06 model is out, they have a great deal on the '05, but once it is sold they can't promise to find another. I always appreciate truth, even if there is some fear of loss involved. Don't pressure. "This deal may be gone, but I will see what I can do for you, whenever you come back."

You have to admire Dr. Suess's "Sam I Am". He was persistent marketing his green eggs and ham. "Will you try them here or there?" "Will you try them in a box with a fox?" In the end, the character tried the eggs just to get him to shut up. Worked in the story, but I'd have hung up on the guy. I believe that try it to see if you like it is a great way to go, samples, money back guarantees, etc. But don't shove it down my throat.

Consumers are bright. Find a nice way to get their attention without insulting them, show folks what you have to offer. Address any objections they have, clear up misconceptions, listen, and show concern for their needs. You don't love your customers if you don't treat them with respect and show that you care.

Copyright 2005 Heidi Caswell

Heidi Caswell, along with her accomplishments in raising seven wonderful children; operates her own business, Connect Simply which is dedicated to helping others stay in touch. Contact Heidi at [email protected]

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