Skip to comments.Death of the Salesman? (vanity)
Posted on 08/08/2004 7:37:04 AM PDT by Egon
Feedback letter to Advanage.com:
I did a quick BBB search, and your company appears to be a reputable firm. If this wasnt the case, I wouldnt bother to write this letter. I feel it important to report a very positive, followed by a very negative experience with your sales staff.
A sharply dressed, personable young man approached me in my front yard as I was mowing, and asked for a moment of my time. He apologized for taking me away from my task, and proceeded to tell me about your product in a very professional manner. Although I didnt purchase a product from him, he was very pleasant and we stood and talked for several minutes. Quite frankly, I could have stood there and talked with Keith (as he identified himself) all afternoonI didnt feel inconvenienced in the slightest. He kept the visit brief, however, and promised to call on me the next time he was in the area. I was left with a good impression of your product, your company, and the caliber of sales staff you associate with (Im assuming that your distributors are independent).
The very next day, I unloaded my family from a short trip, and went back out to join my brother on another errand. I found him talking to a similarly sharp looking and personable young man in our driveway. This encounter differed substantially from the previous visit. He introduced himself as my brother from the projects. I thought this an interesting way to break the ice with potential customers in a conservative white neighborhood, but decided to give him the benefit of youthful inexperience.
As I was running very short on time, though, and having ascertained that the product he was selling was the same that I had been shown the previous day, I told him that his buddy had already been to my house yesterday. He asked me, You think were buddies because were both black?
Unfortunately, Im not quick enough on my feet to have asked him why he jumped to that conclusion, as I had not informed him that his predecessor was black. Instead, I told him, No. I assumed you were buddies because, after living here for five years, the first time Ive seen your product was yesterday, and here you are one day later.
The encounter went downhill from there. After telling him that I wasnt planning to buy his product, I was admonished that, given the house I live in, I could spare the $33 for his product, and that I shouldnt begrudge someone else the same lifestyle Im accustomed to. I was told that he hadnt come all the way from downtown Detroit to talk to me and not have me check out his product. I was informed that I cant take my money with me when I die, and should be more forthcoming. I was told that no one in my neighborhood seemed to be able to handle persistent people. He told me that my face was getting red because I seem(ed) to be getting flustered. I asked him if he was saying that because I was white. At this point, the conversation well past over, we exchanged God bless you! (quite literally) and he started down the driveway, muttering to himself. Vote for Kerry! he called back toward us.
Now, I dont wear my politics on my sleeve, I dont sport bumper stickers, and I generally avoid confrontational political discussions whenever possible. I did take this opportunity to educate this young man that I wasnt planning to vote for Senator Kerry before his arrival, and certainly wasnt inclined to hereafter. Yeah, you dont look someone who votes Democrat, he quipped.
This young man is intelligent, quick on his feet, has drive, gumption, and he has an attitude problem. He seems to be convinced that he is entitled to some of my money, and genuinely perturbed that I was unwilling to simply hand it over. I was obliquely accused of being a racist several times during the conversation by someone whos first and last words to me were racial in nature.
I dont know the politics of your company, your suppliers, or your sales associates (save him), and I dont want to. Unfortunately, you now know mine. You may wish to use this example as an object lesson contrasting the two types of sales approaches. In this particular case, I would have bought your product from neither Keith nor his successorI just dont have a current need or desire for your product. But rest assured, Im not looking forward to the next visit of an associate of yours. Based on history, I have a 50% chance of repeating a bad experience.
I'm not posting this to bash Advanage.com which, by anything I can gather online, appears to be a decent company. They've got a smattering of BBB reports, but seem to have resolved all of them.
I'm more interested in feedback from you guys, to better be able to handle stuff like this-- situations which tend to be somewhat rare, especially when you get outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul into the rest of Minnesota.
1. I've used it, and it is a good product.
2. You were right to write the letter. Post a response, and ping me -- if you get one.
As an inactive Amway distributor, though, I've got bottles of LOC (which I've been happy with over the years) coming out of my fifth-point-of-contact! ;-)
Please, everybody refrain from excessive bashing of Amway distributors-- I've seen and heard all the (often well-deserved) horror stories of our/their tactics as well!
Synopsis: The "No Solicitors" sign on my property means what it says, regardless of race, color, or creed. The gentleman described in your post certainly had more patience with the solicitor than I would have had in the same situation.
That was me. Believe me, in the day since this happened, I've come up with a myriad of stuff that I "shoulda" said!
Well then, substitute "you" for the inappropriate term ;) Your patience was Job-like.
You should have handed him a palm full of mucous as he left. ;-).
Actually, I had an experience more like your first one with a salesman for the company, in my area. He actually cleaned the bucket seat of my minivan (spotted by a four year old) and I bought the product.
Pity that the second sales person was not trained properly.
Not sure whether it was a lack of training with the second guy, or a fundamental attitude problem-- or a combination of both.
>>or a combination of both.<<
I think you have got it!