Saturday, June 20, 2015
I was casing my neighborhood Best Buy, checking out new tech, looking for super deals, you know, the usual. I was inside the store for no more than one or two minutes before I noticed somebody, out of the corner of my field of vision. It was the DirectTV sales gal. I knew this woman. I had encountered her before. I knew her MO. I had to cut through the discount DVD aisle to avoid her. I swallowed hard and dodged past the memory cards. Whew, that was a close one. I thought I was saved.
I was having flash-backs of my other encounters with her. It always started the same. First it was, "Hi, how are you doing today?" To which I had tried various responses with always the same outcome. Her response was some pleasantry, followed by, "Are you a DirectTV subscriber?" It didn't really matter whether I would answer truthfully (which would have been, "no,") or whether I lied and said, "yes, and I love DirectTV, thank you!" She would start the hard sell at that point, and regardless of my pleas to be removed from the situation (like "I'm really not interested, but thank you"), the deadly objection-handling phrase would always come: "You're not interested in saving money?" It makes my blood boil just writing the words. I think of all of the people who signed up for DirectTV service because they simply couldn't get away from her.
My ending encounters with her were also always the same. I felt bad, but simply had to walk away to be released from her grasp. Today, however, I wasn't going to let her get away with these hard-handed sales techniques. She had to hear the truth, no matter how badly it hurt. Somebody had to be responsible to tell her that she couldn't treat people like this. Today would be the day that I stood up to the DirectTV sales gal.
She caught me near the Dyson vacuum cleaners when I least expected it. After the same old aggressive sales pitch, it was time for reality. "Do you realize that this is the third or fourth time you've solicited me here in the store?" I asked her. She was stunned, but way too salty to let that distract her. I continued. "Do you understand how body language works? When I say 'no thank you,' and walk away from you, that is your clue to leave me alone?" Her eyes opened wider, ready for battle. She retorted, "I'm sorry you feel that way, I genuinely want to save you money." I was in disbelief.
In the next few minutes, I came to understand that she was actually a sales manager, and she taught her salespeople this approach. She didn't seem to care that she was bullying people by using sales tactics and pressure. I begged her to reconsider what she was doing. When the argument ceased, her last question to me was this, "What would like me to do?" My reply was short, simple and honest. I told her, "I want you to change."
Maybe, after I left, she went right back to pressuring my neighbors to buy her fares. Maybe she just thought I was a jerk. Maybe I was. But maybe I planted a seed with her that people can't be treated as targets, pressured into commitments by complex sales tactics. At one point, I asked her, "would you like to be treated like this?" She said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Maybe I'll shop at Frys Electronics from now on. Part of me is afraid the DirectTV lady will be there on her day off.
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org at Saturday, June 20, 2015