Give and Take

Lately I have had the sad reminder that many people are only interested in talking to you if it serves them. We had recently looked at how people only call when they want something—and that has become more apparent in the last few days.

Certainly I am still feeling sour and am full of piss and vinegar because I ended losing my car this past weekend for the simple reason that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time; or is it wrong place at the wrong time? If you are at the wrong place at the wrong time doesn’t that mean that you did not experience the “bad” thing? I have never found out the proper way to say that. But I digress.

If you are one of the five listeners of RiedRants Podcast you know that episode RR040 took a turn toward the darkness because on Saturday—recording day—I was involved in a three car collision. As a result of spending the day in the emergency room (and the hours I am putting in for Valentine’s Day at a flower shop) I was unable to finish my research on the planned subject for the show which was clutter.

Instead I talked about how my day went after my car got plowed into and how I gave emergency rescue folks a hard time by teasing them. I fully admit that it is quite possible the teasing and possibly inappropriate conversations were my way to cope with the fact that my life is even more upside down now because of the wreck.

Now the Saturday from hell has moved to the next step where everyone (salesmen) and their brother has come out of the woodwork to sell me a car or to offer medical care or legal representation. (Yes, in Florida lawyers cannot “ambulance chase” but it seems that everyone I know “knows” an attorney.

Lately I have been temping at a flower shop for the upcoming holiday—we are fricking busy—and there is no time for me to take lunch; much less taking calls from car salesmen.

I have been working on being nicer to the people who make unsolicited sales calls to me. But it is difficult. How so? You might ask. Well, I let them know up front when I answer the phone that I am unable to talk to them about such matters at this time. I tell them it is the Valentine’s Day rush and to please call me next week. They acknowledge but then they keep talking, or keep selling. (Is it a skill to know when to stop selling?) Eventually they stop talking and agree to check back. This is a good thing. They have preserved a morsel of rapport and I may consider their offer because of it.

But some salesmen are really stupid. I don’t know if it that they are young or inexperienced or perhaps they don’t understand that a customer buys and is not sold. Maybe some salesmen have not been taught not to question or challenge in certain situations; because if you put yourself in an adversarial position with a prospective customer it is unlikely that you will make the sale.

I am not referring to when the sales person and client have an established relationship and have a certain understanding of each other’s needs and modus operandi. I am referring to cold calls that seem to have overtaken the phone lines.

One such call was from a sales person informing me that as a home owner I am eligible for a program that will allow me to have repairs made to my home for “free” in the form of a financing plan on my home. It sounds like another mortgage to me. But that is not the point. The point is that when these PACE salesmen called the first time on Monday afternoon I told them that I could not speak to them because of the Valentine’s Day holiday and to call me next week. Twenty minutes later I had another guy call and try to tell me that I was a “qualified home owner” and I quickly told him that I just told another not to call until next week because of Valentine’s day.

This new salesman retorted “It’s not Valentine’s day.” What?! Did you really just say that to me? I thought. As you may know, Sales 101 dictates that you avoid telling the prospect that they are wrong. Yes, there are some exceptions to this rule. But this kid had no idea that florists are busting at the seams during the days leading up to the holiday that generates 18.2 billion dollars in total and two billion just on flowers—mostly roses.

For me, even if I need that thing that someone is trying to sell I will find someone else if I am turned off by the tactics the sales person uses. Furthermore, this person can work in many different industries and still be a “salesman.” Basically it can be ANY industry, job, career, position where the individual makes a commission or percentage of some sort (personal injury attorneys also come to mind.)

As far as I am concerned ANY hard sell is poor form in practice. Maybe I am different because although I have myself sold things for a living; I avoid being pushy and when I sell something I believe in the product or service. I understand overcoming objections is a thing but some of these salesmen use tactics that borderline harassment.

So remember to set your boundaries and share them with others. In that way you will be true to yourself and take care of you.

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