Ophelia Crane

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A Word to Sales People Everywhere

Posted by Lokispark Publications on September 23, 2015 at 8:30 PM

I am interrupting this blog for shameless promotion to bring you my own personal PSA about Salespeople.

Yes, salespeople. First, though, a little disclaimer.

To the hard working people who are just doing their jobs: I realize that in sales, sometimes you are required to do or say some things to people that you, yourself, would not normally say to sell the thing that you really feel I must have. You, call center worker offering me a bundle for twenty dollars more (or even less). You, the kindly woman going door to door selling candy for the disabled. And you, the third suited gentleman to show up at my door with the same product that two of your people showed up with this week. This blog is not directed towards you as I have probably never been rude to any of you - and if I was, sorry. You probably caught me on a bad day.

This blog is for the overachievers. The salespeople that take their job way too seriously and as a result have made it so that I now have to answer my door on a Sunday with a baseball bat.

Case in point: A salesperson came up to me while I was at work and the following exchange occurred.

Salesguy: "Hi. I was hoping I could speak to Dr. Blahblah? I'm from Tomcast and I wanted to verify something on the phone about his account."
Me: "The doctor isn't here right now, actually."
Salesguy: "Well, is there any way I can come back and speak to him?"
Me: "Sorry, but he doesn't really see sales reps. If you want, you can leave your info--"
Salesguy: "Well, when does he come back? I'd really like to come back and talk to him."
Me: "I understand, but he's not in right now and he doesn't see reps anyway."
Salesguy: "I just want to talk to him for a few minutes, though."
Me: "And I told you, he doesn't see reps."
Salesguy: "Okay. When does he come in?"
Me: "He's here two Mondays a month. That why he doesn't see reps."
Salesguy: "But I'll only be a minute and I can help him save on his Tomcast bill."


It's about here that I'm starting to get pissed. So, I'm looking for a fast end to his conversation before I get angry and end up saying something I shouldn't be saying at work.
So I say: "Listen, you seem like a nice enough guy, but you're not worth my job, so I'm sorry. He won't see you."
Salesguy: "Come on, you won't lose your job if I just talk to him."
Me: "Oh? You work here?"
Salesguy pauses for a second as I imagine he can see the mood has clearly shifted. You would think his instincts would be telling him: "Danger, danger, Will Robinson!" Well, folks if the red light went off in his head, he clearly decided to plow on anyway.

Salesguy: "Well, no."
Me: "Then how can you tell me if I'll lose my job or not?"
Salesguy: "Listen, I just want to talk to him. I'm just gonna keep coming back until you let me in."
 At this point I just glare at him for a moment as all the possibilities of this guys personal life roll through my mind. Does he do this to his girlfriend? Like: "Come on, let's go out to dinner. Please? Please? PLEASE? I'll just keep asking until you say yes!"

Me: "Okay, look, I don't want to argue with you and you're starting to make me angry."
Salesguy: "How am I arguing with you? I'm just asking if I can see Dr. Blahblah."
Me: "Okay, I say no and you keep going and you're not arguing with me?"
Salesguy: "The doctor doesn't want to take advantage of these deals--?"
Me: "I've said no and you're still going. No means no, sir."
Salesguy: "Listen--”
Me: "No means no."
Salesguy: "Fine, I'll contact him another way." He leaves.

Ahem. Here what we've learned from that little exchange. If his entire mission was to get me to talk to the owner and therefore score a sale, not only did he fail in said mission, but he made it so that if he or anyone from his company shows their faces around there anytime soon, he'll be shut down before word one. I would say he failed spectacularly.

So, this message is for every Salesguy that believes that forcing your product or service on a person is the best way to go. No means no. Even if we look like we might agree in the middle of the conversation and we say no. Even if you buy us donuts. Even if we seem like we're "that kind of customer". Even if you've sold something to us before. No means no and once you hear no, you need to stop immediately. Continuing on could result in swearing, bodily injury, or harassment charges. This goes for the trainers as well...maybe especially the trainers.


If I can impart a little advice? Has it ever occurred to you that being polite might work instead? Believe it or not, kindness goes a lot farther than date-rapey techniques. Maybe I'm not interested now, but if you were to, say, leave your info and politely thank me for my time, I might be inclined to call you later. Trust me. That works a lot better than harassment.
So take my advice. Please. It might save someone's self esteem or keep them out of the hospital...or jail.

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