17 Jan 2017

Old Fashioned, High Pressure Selling - Really?

I have to share this experience with you because I honestly cannot believe that this kind of thing still happens!!!

We are currently in the market for a new kitchen for our house. My wife has recently taken over her Mum's business and we need to upgrade the kitchen for the extra work that is now being conducted there.

Anyway, we went around to some kitchen places over the weekend to check out what is on offer and one kitchen design place in particular (I am not going to name them - you will see why shortly) seemed most promising.

We spent a great deal of time going over our requirements with the consultant there and arranged for one of their design technicians to come out the very next day (a Sunday - most impressive) to quote us on the job.

Now - I have to pause here - because this is a really important point (as will become clear later) - while we were there I made it perfectly clear to this consultant that the budget for this job was $20K and we were not interested in proceeding if if was going to be any more to which she said that she completely understood and would pass this information on the design technician prior to our appointment.

The next day - bang on time as promised (I love promptness) - we get a knock at the door and this well dressed and most polite gentleman walks in to our house and introduces himself as the design technician.

I must say that I was impressed - having built and renovated a fair number of houses over the years I have become used to a 1-2 hour "lead time" in the time that most trades say they are going to turn up and when they actually do turn up, so to have this guy arrive exactly on time impressed me greatly.

I made mention of this to him - keep this in mind for later on in the story!!!

Anyway, we spend the next 30 minutes or so "chewing the fat" with this guy chatting away, complimenting us on the design and layout of our house and how "easy" this kitchen upgrade is going to be.

Then we get down to the "nitty gritty" and start going over the new design - we go over everything we had spoken to with the consultant the day before, make little to no changes to what we had asked for the day before, the design consultant plugs all our requirements into his fancy computer program and out spits the total cost for the job -


I just sit there staring at my wife and she just sits there smiling - she told me after the guy left that I looked like one of those pressure valves that was just about to explode!!!

I then do what I thought was the most appropriate thing to do under the circumstances -

Breathe In, Breathe Out and Say - "I told you guys that our budget was $20K"

Now it gets really interesting - the design consultant guy suddenly goes from silence into "overdrive"!!!

  • All our materials are locally sourced
  • Everything is made here in South Australia
  • We can reduce the benchtop from 40mm to 20mm and see if that reduces the price

and the real clincher -

You told me how happy you were that I had turned up on time!!!

He then jumps straight on the phone - without giving us the chance to say anything back to him - and rings his "boss" because (quote) "I'll probably lose my job, but I'll ring the boss to see if he can move on the price at all" (unquote) and starts raving to someone on the phone about how we are "so close" to buying but that they will need to "move" on the price for things to proceed.

After half a dozen "Ok's" he hangs up, looks me dead in the eye and says "I probably don't have a job when I get back to the office, but the boss is willing to drop the price to $21,982.00 to keep you happy!!!

I look him straight back in the eye and quietly say -

I told you guys that our budget was $20K

Off he goes again -

  • We will walk you right through the process so you don't have to worry about anything
  • You will get your own consultant who you can ring at any time for an update
  • All the work will be done to strict specifications and on time - all the time

All the while Annie (my wife) and I are just sitting their with our jaws dragging on the ground - it was like watching someone on Methamphetamine - this guy was bouncing around like a ping pong ball trying every "second hand car salesman" stunt in the book to get our business - if it wasn't so sad it would have been comical.

I couldn't help myself - I just started laughing which (as my wife well knows) is code for "He's just about to explode" (which was probably why the colour started draining out of her face!!!), but I was most pleased with myself because - instead of hitting him with a barrage of abuse (which was my S.O.P. for this kind of garbage years ago) - I simply looked him in the eye and said -

No thanks - Bye!!!

I've never seen anyone pack up and leave so quick in my entire life and after we closed the door behind him we just looked at each other and started crying with laughter!!!

Why am I telling you this?

The days of second hand car salesman type selling are over - this guy had all the information he needed to make a judged decision on whether or not they could meet our requirements for the purchase we wanted and if - after costing what we wanted - he had simply rung us and said "We can't get anywhere near what you want for the price you want to pay" he may not have got the sale, but I can assure you that we would be singing his praises to other people looking for the product that he sold.

Have a think about how you are selling - regardless of whether or not a sale takes place are people becoming brand ambassadors for your products or services, or are they laughing about you as you walk out the door?

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