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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hey Salespeople, Get Off the Script!

You know, there are some bad, annoying salespeople out there...

I was out this past weekend with my friend and his fiancee, Jamie. While my buddy and I went to see Star Trek, Jamie took a pass on the movie and went to mall instead (Big mistake: Star Trek was awesome!!)

While in the mall she walked past one of those kiosks. You know, the ones where the people working there have been trained to yell out to you and to try to rope you in to view their wares like some rodeo cowboy. Those are some very aggressive sales-people - it's like a little slice of some foreign country shopping bazaar right here in good old Suburbia, USA.

Jamie gets sucked into one (big mistake #2) and the guy goes into his schpiel. They all have a schpiel; some very rehearsed routine designed to razzle and dazzle you into buying whatever it is they're selling.

This guy's routine involved opening his collection of lotions and having the customer smell them. I guess the logic is that once you smell the lotion you can not help but invest. (I don't know, I didn't write the routine!) Here's the thing: Jamie has no sense of smell. I don't mean that has a bad sense of smell; I mean she literally, biologically, can not smell. She explains this to him, and guess what he does? He thinks about it for a second and says, "well, here, try it anyway," and gives her the bottle to smell.

Yes, after she tells him she can't smell, he asks her to do it anyway. There can only be a few possible reasons for this:
  • He doesn't believe her - Maybe he things she's lying, and is calling her out on it. That's a great way to build rapport and make a sale.

  • He's taunting her - Maybe he was rubbing it in to her that she can't smell. Like showing a starving person pictures of a buffet. Makes no sense.

  • He had a complete inability to get off his script - Ok, this is probably the real answer. This guy had his routine, his script, and was so set on delivering it that when something came up that didn't apply he did not have the ability to change his routine.
Scripts and routines are great as a baseline, but the real magic is in being able to be in the moment and flow with the changes that happen around you. When you don't, you instantly break rapport (and look like an idiot). It's really sad how many people cling to their scripts and routines even after they no longer apply.

The saddest part about this story is that Jamie did end up buying stuff from him - after haggling him down from $30 to $10. Yes, that's a 66% reduction. She is impressive. You know you've done something right when the salesperson pulls out the old, "I never do this, but for you." Aww, aren't you special?

What makes this the saddest part to me is that there are people running around thinking they're stupid schtick works when in fact the prospect was already interested in the product and the routine probably did nothing but hurt. If these people would just stay in the moment and communicate with their prospects, they would be much better off.

End result: everyone that day spent $10. Two of us saw Star Trek, one talked to a mall kiosk guy and bought some nail enamel stuff. Who do you think came out better in that deal? Wait, don't answer that - you just might depress me...

1 comment:

Robert Bradford said...

So, the stupid "smell it anyway because I can't depart from my schtick" thing got him a $10 sale? Maybe I should try that!
PS. My capcha word is "Scromanc"...heh...