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Why are some people so negative?

11:30 pm on Jul 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Before I ever had anything to do with sales, I always wondered why so many people in sales were dishonest. Or at the very least, they were very good about holding back information. Now here I am, involved in sales myself, and things make a little more sense now.

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.

11:48 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I hope you at least posted a rebuttal message on the forum explaining what you actually said.
12:07 am on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have been accused - and plead guilty to - disseminating too much information. Not as in secrets, but as in trying to be the boy scout with the full honest answer. "Can you do Flash" launches into an explanation of yes, but it should only used where appropriate, can often present accessibility/usability barriers . . . blah blah . . . and often people have told me that the "honest" answer is TMI. People get overloaded and worse, they don't care. When you start talking about something they don't understand or care about, this is how they take it out of context and re-distribute it in the same way your potential customer did.

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. :-)

6:09 am on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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On the purchasing side I have noticed that some companies don't let customers talk to a programmer or engineer before a sale without a salesman present!
8:36 am on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Seems to me, if you say anything other than "yes" during the sales process you greatly increase the chances of a no sale.
9:16 am on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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A good salesman never lies. He sells product or services. That simple. Where there is a question as to whether the product will serve a particular prospect that's where the real selling comes in: "What do you hope to accomplish?" "What are your goals?" "Specifics required to advise you more properly." and, if necessary: "Sorry, we can't do EXACTLY that, but XYZ Company might. If I can be of other service..."

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.

2:25 pm on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Instead of you being negative about that customer, think of it this way: for every one customer like him, there's probably hundreds who appreciate your honesty.

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.

8:45 pm on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That's true, I try to remember the good ones... Unfortunately the bad ones often have more effect for some reason though.

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.

9:59 pm on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've always believed that if you are honest, you can make any situation into someone else's problem: i.e. If you tell your customer YOUR HONEST OPINION, the decision rests with them, for good or ill. If you feed them partial or incomplete information, and especially if you lie outright, the onus is on you in the event of a mishap.

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.

10:37 pm on July 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes i agree, always tell the truth, and if you don't know the answer to their question, tell them you will find out and get back to them. And don't exagerate or over promise and you will be OK.
3:40 am on July 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Someone is almost always going to tell you what you want to hear or leave out negative information when it comes to sales. The pressure to sell, make more, or keep your job is just too great.

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.

4:05 am on July 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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From a psychological term, a lot of things can lead to a relatively passive approach to life, such as romance, family members passed away, such as changes in his life, learning, the cause of under great pressure, have a person can lead to temporary or long-term in a negative way. This time, we need through self-regulation, psychological counseling and so on, with their families and friends about to find out where the problem lies, in order to better understand life and to change the attitude to life, with an upbeat attitude, your life will be from This new look.

[edited by: engine at 8:07 am (utc) on July 31, 2009]
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