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I make and sell items that are technical in nature, and they are mainly accessories that compliment other equipment. The equipment has an element of performance to it, so that's always an issue with people... 'If I get your ____, will I get more performance with my ___?' That's the kind of questions I answer daily.
So a guy email's the other day and basically asks that question... He's looked at our ___ and wants to know if it will work well with his ___. I thought about it for a second and debated on whether or not I should be the usual boy scout I am and lay it all out. Some little voice told me I shouldn't, and I should have listened... So I tell the guy... 'Well, in some rare instances, a ____ can sometimes be overpowered by our ____. But we've sold hundreds of our ____ and I've never had a complaint, and I know people have probably used your exact model ____ with that. So I would say that you're probably 99% OK... No problem. But I just wanted to let you know how it works'.
So I go on a forum that deals with the industry in which we market stuff, where there are thousands of people who go there every day. I see that this same guy has gone on there and posted that we told him that our model ____ will not work with his model ____, and then asks people for suggestions on where else he can find what he needs.
So not only did we lose his sale, who knows how much damage he did by saying that. I sent him an email politely letting him know that I was not happy with what he posted.
But I'm just constantly baffled as to what is happening inside some people's heads. And now I know why many sales people don't bother trying to be honest.
In my example I've heard people regurgitate my ramblings as "Flash is bad, Bill said so." LOL . . . I am not exaggerating to make a point, this is a literal experience.
I guess that's what separates real salespersons from people like me. They have a distinct talent of telling people what they need to know to make the sale, just enough information to satisfy their curiosity and funnel them to the checkout lane. I'd never be able to sell. :-)
I've been selling manure to farmers for nearly 50 years without a complaint. Nothing wrong with Boy Scout, but never take an eye off the prize: the closing of a deal.
I've found that customers really appreciate it when I give them my best educated opinion as to which product will suit them best, regardless of price or my profit.
And yes, I did go back and post something. I was hesitant, because I didn't want to risk starting a big fuss. They have a sensitive view on "commercial" posts, and I didn't want to risk doing even more damage. I basically just reminded him that's not what I said and left it at that.
Granted, if I did door-to-door sales, I'd lie to make a living as I'd be long gone by the time I was proven wrong. However, I work with account holders to whom we extend credit, so it does me no good to lie...they'd come back and beat me down with my own words without hesitation. Maybe it's all relative.
I don't like dealing with sales associates at all anymore for anything. I prefer to research, buy, and decide on my own. To me it's all social lubricant, I can't find anyone who really knows what they are talking about or with genuine relevant information beyond polite sales talk or what is on the box. Plus, due to past experience I have to verify what they may recommend myself because they often make mistakes because they don't have all the relevant information. Why bother?
Once in awhile I will have a back and forth with someone who really knows their stuff, an artist or small shop owner for example, but most sales associates, fudgedaboutit. These are the only times I can really get any negative feedback on a product. Why? Because they don't have a boss watching, and they know you are not some sort of corporate spy or mystery shopper looking to report.
[edited by: engine at 8:07 am (utc) on July 31, 2009]
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