Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Men with your...sales.

I am ridiculously susceptible to sales pitches. Not online, so don't bother here. But in person, it's really hard for me to say no. I'm learning, and for the most part I no longer end up buying things from random kiosks at the mall even IF they manage to corner me.

Though for the most part my strategy is to just not let sales people talk to me. I'm just looking thanks. Nope, just browsing. No, really, I'm okay. Even if I can't find something I need, I will leave without it rather than talk to a sales person. Part of that is just being introverted in general. But part of it is because I'm afraid they'll try to upsell me.

I go through self-checkouts whenever possible to avoid the sales pitches at registers. Because I absolutely hate saying no, and I just want to make people happy and make them feel good and like their job doesn't suck so much. I want to believe they're being honest with me that this sale or that item is worth my hard earned cash.

But half the time, they're lying through their teeth. And my hard earned cash is stretched extremely thin these days. So I try to never go anywhere but the grocery store (which is bad enough).

I worked at a store that sold soap and body products for a while. I won't mention which one. I was there for two long holiday seasons, and in that time I usually spent half my paycheck in the store because I did actually love the product. But I started to slowly realize something from the sales pitches I was giving: the sales weren't actually any good. I was there long enough to start doing the math, start calculating average savings, what you had to spend to get the full value, etc. And I discovered that maybe once a year they had a sale that was actually worth it. I still like that stores products, and I'll go when I have a gift card or to buy presents for family. But I pay attention to the sales more now. I don't fall for it.

Of course, then today I went into a different store that sells the same kind of thing. It's a smaller store in this particular mall, and it's harder to avoid the sales people. But I had a coupon that had to be spent in the store and not online. Before I went in, I did research. I decided what I wanted to buy, I was going to search and destroy, pick up what I wanted and go.

But one of the sales people got me. And I didn't want to be rude, so I talked to her for a few minutes. I mean, the store was mostly empty and she was just chatting, right? Somehow I ended up getting talked into switching to a more expensive gift set, AND I decided to take advantage of the sale going on to get two other things I had been eyeing. And _then_ I even got the store loyalty card.

Now, I want to be clear, this salesperson didn't take advantage of me in any way. Actually, it was because she was knowledgeable and friendly that this worked. She listened to me explain my skin care problems and predicted what products she thought would work, why what I had picked out might be problematic, used examples from her own skin care routine, and her suggestions were good. I even checked with a friend who used to work for the store who said she told me the truth about everything and that those were the products I needed. And the loyalty card pays for itself every year because of the bonuses you automatically get from signing up.

I feel like I've lost my point...but I think what my point would be is that even for somebody like me who already has their guard up and knows every trick in the book (I worked retail for a decade, I know the script) you can still get a big sale out of us. This didn't happen because I'm an easy mark, it happened because the sales person was knowledgeable about the product and what it's used for (skin care), because it is a good product to begin with, because the store itself has a loyalty program that makes sense and pays for itself, and just because she was nice. Not pushy, not like a "sales" pitch, just nice.

So that's it in the end. If you're in sales of any kind, remember those things: make a good product, know what it's good for, and be nice. Then you don't even have to try that hard.

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