Death of a Sales Technique


I can’t help but admire the persistence of door to door salespeople. Granted I prefer to admire their persistence from behind a closed door. There are no limits to the products they try to sell or the rebuttals they come up with. Once, when I told a children’s encyclopedia salesman that I didn’t know anybody under 10, he suggested I buy the encyclopedias for myself. You know, for those times that Google doesn’t have the answer.

Often, in order to spare myself from 15 minute conversations about products I don’t want, I find myself being more blunt than usual (those of you who know me are likely wondering if that’s even possible). Nonetheless I’ll admit I was just as surprised as the water filter salesman when I found myself saying “No thank you, I like the taste of dirty water.”

While I’m sure most salespeople are used to tactless customers, I’m not so sure too many customers know how to react to tactless salespeople. I was particularly stunned by a saleslady at a shoe store.

“You used to be fat. You’re not anymore”
“Uhh I don’t think we’ve met before”
“You came in here 6 months ago with a friend. You know, back when you were fat”

I’m not sure what kind of sales training that shoe store provided, but surely it can’t help business to tell somebody who is about to purchase running shoes that they are no longer fat? Or at the very least it wouldn’t hurt to save the comments for until after the customer has paid.