Chad, wearing no mask in a COVID-19 world, wearing a purple shirt, a blue tie and a vest from a three-piece suit, with rings on multiple fingers, and hair slicked back, marches right up the back steps to the deck, stands less than three feet from us and says, “Don’t worry, we’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses or Bible salesmen.” An offensive opening, to say the least. I knew my next sales tip was about to be written. Chad hands my wife what looks like raffle tickets and says “would you like to win $1,000 worth of groceries?” Carolyn, my wife, is one of the most honest and nicest people you’ll ever meet. She hands the stack to me and I look at the fine print, 1 in 20,000 odds and an agreement to allow them into our home to do a vacuum demonstration lasting 30 minutes.
Here’s Chad’s pitch:
Chad: Have you ever heard of the Kirby Vacuum?
Carolyn: Yes, we own one and have for about 10 years, we love it.
Chad: Well, that’s great you already know of the quality. We’d love to demonstrate the new model with the new features by cleaning a room in your house.
Carolyn: We’re very happy with our vacuum and don’t need a new one.
Chad: Where do you get it serviced and where do you buy your bags?
Carolyn: At the local Kirby dealer in town and that’s where we buy our bags too.
Chad: I’m not supposed to tell you this, but you know you can get bags cheaper on Amazon? Also, I’d love to give you this free bag of fragrance you can put in the bag.
Carolyn: No, thanks.
Chad: So, you don’t need $1,000 worth of groceries? You don’t need a carpet cleaned or want a free bag fragrance package? We get paid to clean rooms, not sell. Can you help us out?
Carolyn: We have all hardwood floors. (Her first lie, as I can see she’s getting agitated.)
Chad: Do you have any friends in the neighborhood or family in the area that we could talk to? (How bold, asking for a referral when we’ve shut him down.)
Carolyn: No, we just moved here, and all of our family is out of state. (I was shocked at the depth of her lie now growing, since we know all the neighbors and four of our six kids all live in the area.)
Chad: You sure you don’t know anybody that could use a room cleaned or $1000 worth of groceries?
Carolyn: (Now angry) No, thank you, we’re not interested, have a good day.
Some sales tips write themselves. Don’t be Chad. I didn’t even know they still did door-to-door vacuum cleaners sales, let alone during a global pandemic. My wife's reaction was not positive and certainly not interested and she was actually a bit scared. “They were unreal, I’m so glad you were working from home today.”
This is the type of sales approach that gives sales a bad name. Terrible opening, aggressive pitch, bad objection handling and no rapport building. Sadly, Chad is not alone. While our sales process doesn’t involve going to people’s homes, in a B2B world, we do have the occasion to make cold calls in people’s places of business. This is why it’s critical to do research BEFORE the call and to bring something of value. We don’t mean fragrance bags, a scam lottery or free cleaning demonstrations. It’s worth repeating the three skills necessary for success in sales:
3. Problem-solving skills
You demonstrate those by your preparation, your approach and your authenticity in dealing with clients and prospects. Chad showed none of those qualities. What he did was try to get us to “help him out” making his money by allowing him into our home. No, thanks.
Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. or follow him on social media: Twitter and LinkedIn.