Ode To The Shopping Mall Salesperson

Please! Let me shop in peace! 


I see you lurking at the entrance to your stores, ready to pounce on inexperienced and unaware consumers. You wish there were more of us, eager to buy into your promotions, your one-day specials.


We exchange hellos that I intentionally rush so that you don’t try to pick my consumer brains.


…But you do.


Am I shopping for anything in particular? No.


Can you help me find anything? No.


Do I have any questions? No. 


I’m not even two feet into the store. What would I have a question about? How can you help me find something if I’m not shopping for anything in particular?


If, after this awkward and annoying semi-conversation, I decide to continue into the depths of your over-priced mall store, you start to follow me with your hands clasped behind your back, you can just forget it.  


And, for the last time, I DO NOT WANT TO SAVE 10% TODAY AND OPEN A STORE CREDIT CARD. 


Perhaps, pushy and overbearing salesperson, if you had just nodded hello and asked “how ya doing?” I would have spent a little more time in your store. What you don’t know about me is that I’m a browser. A looker. I meander. I spend a lot of time before I make a purchase and what you HOPE I don’t know is that I can pretty much buy anything you sell anywhere else for cheaper. 


I can get really cute clothes at TJ Maxx or Forever 21.


I can get a fresh pair of Nike’s at the outlets in North Charleston.


I can get the new D&G fragrance from Amazon at almost half price.


So, is it…Chip? Listen Chip. Granted, I came to the mall to browse and given the right set of circumstances, I may have made a purchase. Maybe even in your store. But, when you stand at the entrance trying to coax me inside with coupons in your hand, I really will ignore you and walk by. 


Retailers, take note.


~Coco


Disastrous Meeting

You may have noticed that my name has an unusual spelling. I know this and give people the benefit of the doubt when they spell it wrong. Well, last week I posted on my personal Facebook profile that one of my pet peeves is when someone is trying to sell me something and they spell my name wrong. Obviously this comment came because a salesperson emailed me about getting coffee to chat and learn more about what each other does and spelled my name wrong. This is the typical line salespeople use when they want to sell you something they have but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and scheduled a meeting because you never know what will come out of it (I'm an optimistic person). This story just gets better now!


We set a day and time and it is right in the middle of 4 other meetings I have that day as well as a report to get to a client but that really isn't his problem. Of course I'm 10 minutes late, which I hate doing but happens quite regularly I'm afraid. I walk in and we shake hands and he calls me the wrong name. I say, "I'm Ronii" and he apologizes and blames a hectic week. Ok, me too. It seems to be that way for everyone right now. Then he says, "So, your an Image Consultant? Tell me more about that." I then inform him that I'm not an Image Consultant but my friend Shauna is and we share an office, which is why he is confused and I'm in branding and marketing. I really should have just left at that point but that would be rude. It gets better. He then says, "oh, yeah, I'm sorry. Your in advertising. Tell me about that." (Side note: I view marketing and advertising as different disciplines in the same umbrella. Marketing and branding are strategy and planning driven, while I view advertising as creative campaigning based on strategy and then execution.) I reply, "no, I'm in branding and marketing." We talk for a second about what he does and AGAIN he says, "so your in advertising."


This meeting only lasted about 20 minutes and he tried hard to sell me insurance but I wasn't having it after her called me the wrong name and thought I was in a completely different industry, He finally figured it out. I wonder if he went back to his office thinking I'm a cold bitch because I didn't say much and wasn't open to his sales pitch? Or did he go back to his office and go, "I totally screwed that all up!" He simple just didn't pay attention because he probably, like me, has a million things going on. But you are in sales - your job is to pay attention. This week I'm going to my sales team and emphasizing that it isn't about how many people you talk to in a day but that you start a relationship with the few that you connect with and pay attention.


By the time it was all said and done I just found it funny that this meeting was so disastrous. Has this ever happened to you? What are some of your bad used car salesman stories? Have you been on the receiving or delivering end of this kind of flub?


~Ronii

The Art of Genuine Selling


I have asked my client, colleague and friend, Brian Tuffy of eyeNET Security, to write a post for Bartleby's Blog for months and he finally did it. I think its because he likes Aga better than me but beggers can't be choosers so I don't care. I'm just really excited that he did because there is SO much we can all learn from him. I respect his opinion even when I'm rolling my eyes at dinner. Also, (here is the completely shameless plug for his business) he is an IT consultant that works with small to medium size businesses and actually has a personality. If you need a good IT guy that will tell you what you need to know and is looking out for your company's best interest, this is your guy! He knows IT so you don't have too. And (a little shameless plug for B&A) he has a super great new brand identity and website coming soon.


 


Ronii has been asking me to write a blog entry for her company blog for a while - everytime she asked I felt honored.  I also kind of felt like I didn't have that much to say about topics that readers of her blog might be interested in.  So the other night we were at dinner and I decided that it was time to write the entry and forget all of the random "not good enough" conversation that was going on in my head.


So what am I writing about?  SELLING!  Only problem is, I don't consider myself to be a salesperson, so what the heck do I know about sales?  Maybe nothing, or maybe, because I buy lots of stuff, I just might be the perfect person to tell you how you to master the art of genuine selling. 


So here goes...


 



  1. If you don't believe in what you are selling, I won't either.

  2. If something sounds like a load of BS to you, it will sound that way to me too. Refer to #1.

  3. If I ask you a question and you don't know the answer, don't make up an answer, tell me you don't know (I'll resepct you more)! If you are thinking about making up an answer, see #2.

  4. If you wouldn't sell it to your mom, don't try to sell it to me.

  5. If you'd use your own money to BUY IT for your mom, let me know that.


 


So that is it - five easy steps that will move you closer to the "art of genuine selling", or at the very least I’ll probably buy what you are selling.


-- Quick note to Ronii --


Thank you for being persitant in asking me to write a blog entry - it wasn't as hard as I thoguht it would be.

Sales Pet Peeve

Part of my job as a management consultant is that I work with lots of vendors. I even evaluate vendors for lots of different projects and parts of businesses. I work with payroll companies, telephone companies, printers, cable companies, IT consultants, and the list goes on and on. In my normal process for gathering bids I meet with lots of salespeople so I know a few things about sales but there is one "pet peeve" of mine when it comes to dealing with salespeople - don't assume I'm stupid.


Yes, I'm blonde. Yes, I'm a woman. And, yes, I love shoes. But don't assume because of these things that I'm stupid and don't remember what you tell me. You know, they didn't give me a Master's Degree from The Citadel for nothing. I recently had this happen to me with a vendor. I am working with a new vendor for a project and the process is already difficult and makes me nervous because it has to be implemented perfectly. In the process of trying to get everyone coordinated, an issue comes up so I contact the salesperson that I'm working with to get it resolved and he tells me that it is my fault that we don't have this one thing because I told him in our meeting that I didn't need it. I'm a pretty smart girl and had he mentioned that particular product to me I would have known that I do need it because, guess what, I know what that is and I understand why I need it. So, don't assume I'm stupid and can't remember what we talked about. I have a memory like an elephant (hence Bartleby) and I'm the kind of buyer that will pull my project from you at the last minute because you are not meeting my needs (translation - pissing me off).


There is a lesson to be learned here regarding sales - buyers/consumers are savvy today so do not go into a sales meeting and assume you know what they want or need or know already. Listen. This is a skill that many people are having a hard time developing, but listen to your consumers needs and then work with them to find a solution that meets that need. Before all this happened with this vendor, I was talking the other day with my good friend Shauna Heathman of Mackenzie Image Consulting about how salespeople could use communication training that isn't the traditional sales trainings and theories. She works with people on developing communication skills that can help salespeople have an edge over others when dealing with buyers like me and we talked about how salespeople get plunged into the shark tank from their first day and never get any quality training on buyers/consumers, particularly women. Salespeople that want to have a competitive edge and insight into those lucrative transactions should talk to companies like her's to learn how to communicate with buyers like me. We are complex (again, shameless plug, my transparency post goes over this in more detail) and knowing how to communicate with us will give any salesperson a competitive advantage.