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Opinion Editorials

We Don’t Want To Be Sold


I don’t know about you, but I am tired of constantly being sold.  It doesn’t matter what the cause is, good or bad, we are tired.  We don’t want to hear about it.  My grandfather died of prostate cancer just one year ago, yet it drives me batty when they ask me for $1.00 at Safeway to battle prostate cancer.  I give enough on my own.  I HATE being asked if I want a store credit card at every place I shop– Macy’s, the Gap, Target, you name it, they have a card and they want you to use it (don’t they care about my credit score?).  Sell, sell, sell. 

NO, NO, NO.

Today I went shopping for a new mattress, which I did eventually purchase.  My criteria for the purchase?  Best mattress?  Best price? Again, NO, NO, NO.  I purchased my mattress from the least sleezy salesperson. 

True story. 

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Super slick salesperson #2 and super slick salesperson #3- Adios!  Au Revoir!  Good-bye!  So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodnight !  I can’t even stand to be in the same store with you.

Why did I buy my mattress from salesperson #1? 

  • he listened to my needs
  • he asked for my budget
  • he questioned my long term motivations
  • he didn’t try to sell me the most expensive mattress
  • he explained his recommendations and how they fit MY needs
  • he made me feel special and remembered that I had purchased a mattress from him before
  • he showed me multiple options and the pluses and minuses of each
  • he wasn’t pushy

He informed me, he advised me, he directed me to a decision, and at the end, he closed the deal by gently asking me what day I would like them delivered.

Inform.  Advise.  Direct. 

Be the resource for your potential clients.  I visited salesperson #1 first, and ended up returning to him because of how he treated me.

We don’t want to be sold.  They don’t want to be sold.

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Written By

Ginger Wilcox is a Broker Associate at Alain Pinel in Marin County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an accomplished speaker, writer and trainer on the real estate industry, online marketing and social media strategy. Ginger is the publisher of the Marin Real Estate Guide -"Blog by the Bay," a highly regarded Bay Area real estate web site. For more information about Ginger, visit gingerwilcox.com.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Matt Heaton

    August 27, 2008 at 10:45 am

    You forget one:

    * He didn’t ask to try the mattress out with me.

    On a more serious note, pushy sales people totally turn me off, too When car shopping earlier this year I’d drive into a dealership and as soon as I got out of the car, I could see the mob of used car sleazeballs (I mean salesmen) would instantly start heading my way. On more than one occasion I got directly back into my car and left for another dealership.

    It’s one thing for a sales person to be great at closing the deal it’s another to try to close it before the person even hasn’t even had time to consider their purchase.

  2. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    August 27, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I don’t know what type of mattress you bought. But if you would’ve asked me, I would’ve told you to buy a sleep number. Best mattress system ever. Seriously. 🙂

    Good salespeople always stand out from the rest, whether you are buying a mattress, a blender, or a house. Your advice is right on the money.

  3. Mack in Atlanta

    August 27, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Salesperson #1 was the true salesperson! He asked the right questions – He qualified you and your needs. He listened – Still the most underused trait practiced in real estate today. By doing what he did the way he did it he made you feel like he had your best interests at heart. He made you feel that he was more concerned about your needs than his (a paycheck). He then used the trial close of What day would you like it delivered. The difference with this sales person was that he was selling the whole time, he just wasn’t pushing it beyond the limit that became offensive.

  4. Vicki Moore

    August 27, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    I’m in sales. I sell houses. I hate sales people. I wish we could rename sales. We rename everything – I smell a post.

    Great insight, Ginger.

  5. James Bridges

    August 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Totally agreed. This is why I can’t stand when someone says they are going to do a “presentation” for a listing or a buyer. Sales people do “presentations” Differentiate yourself by doing a consultation where you take the time to understand about the prospect and it is a much easier process. Crazy, people like it more too! 🙂

  6. Thomas Johnson

    August 27, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Ginger: Why not give sales person #1 a call out by name and store? In this day and age, management doesn’t tolerate proper consultative selling-they just want numbers. Might help the guy keep on keeping on by sending him a few customers. I always try to make good folks known to their bosses and to other potential customers-just as I hope my efforts generate the same.

  7. Sandy

    August 27, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I have met many disoriented sales people and felt they don’t enjoy what they are doing. I think being in a profession which motivates one to learn more is very important. Sales people can only feel confident about selling stuff they have knowledge about…

  8. Jeremy Hart

    August 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I took my wife in to buy a bike the other day. We fell in love with the sales guy, although not so much so that if he’d have been selling mattresses we’d have asked him to try it out. That’s just creepy … so is this comment. Moving on.

    We liked the guy because he asked questions, he listened, and he made recommendations. She trusted him – WE trusted him – so much so that I’m buying one from him as well, and I hadn’t even been planning on buying anything! How’s that for effective? Customer walks in, he closes two sales just by listening, and then informing, advising, and directing.

  9. Ginger Wilcox

    August 28, 2008 at 7:32 am

    Matt- thanks for the addition. I think that is the point agents sometimes forgot- someone coming into our open house or calling us on the phone are just gathering information. They haven’t had tiime to consider their purchase yet.

    Daniel- where were you when I needed you?

    Mack- listening, such an odd concept.

    Vicki- I will be looking for that post.

    Thomas-I will be writing a blog post about him and his store, he was great! (Gerald at Mancini’s Sleepworld in San Rafael.)

  10. Ginger Wilcox

    August 28, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Sandy- I do fundraising training for a non-profit and this is part of what I teach them- you can’t sell (the organization in their case) yourself, a home, etc. if you don’t really understand what you are selling. Knowledge is definitely the key.

    Jeremy- I would like that to happen with someone looking to purchase a house! 🙂

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