alt text image of an old school bad salesman

The Bad Salesman

Bad Salesman: We have an A-rating on Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. We are members of the National Association of Remodeling Industry. The law requires that we have $1,000,000 in liability insurance; we have $6,000,000 in liability insurance. Are we the kind of company you want to business with?

Me: I don’t know. I just met you.

This is one of the problem with tactics like tie-downs. Bad Salesman, and his cologne, had only been in my home for a few minutes and he was already trying to close me tactically. He revealed that his visit was about him and not me. Worse still, my wife had looked up Bad Salesman’s company on Angie’s List to discover they have a C-rating (2 A ratings, 2 F-ratings). Ouch! Never good to lie!

Bad Salesman: If money wasn’t an issue, would you buy this right now? I can give you 6 months same as cash, and I can waive the interest payments.

Me: Money isn’t an issue. I’ll pay cash when I buy. But I am not ready to buy. I am taking bids from a number of companies. I met with you because you called and asked me to quote.

I showed Bad Salesman two other projects that were important to me. He wasn’t interested enough to discuss them, even though his company did those kind of projects, too. The rest of the conversation did go any better. So Bad Salesman picked up his computer, put it in his bag, and hustled out of the house disappointed (his cologne stayed for a couple additional hours, much to my disappointment).

Bad Salesman’s problems really started when his company called to ask to quote on a project and told my wife that certain rebates were available, but only if both she and I were here to meet with the salesperson together. I understand the desire not to have to deal with the additional time and sales calls that result when only the husband or wife is home, but I don’t understand the dishonesty. They could have just said, “We’d really like to schedule an appointment when both you and your spouse are home so we can hear from both of you together.”

There is no substitute for trust. There is no substitute for caring. Old school tactical shortcuts violate trust and prove you don’t care. Don’t be like Bad Salesman.

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  • John

    Finally! Providing value to homeowners. My field of endeavor!
    I can’t believe people actually fall for such obvious and underhanded tactics. I guess we all have bad days, a desire to get it done, or other reasons for making mistakes. I still cringe when I think about the last time I went to buy a car.
    From a person offering services to homeowners saying you’re looking at a number of contractors is a red flag. I would have asked, “Do you mind if I ask who else you’re talking too?” I usually get an answer to this question.
    If I get any resistance I know you are a price shopper. I don’t use the info to talk negatively about my competition. I want to learn the level of service you are looking for. You gave me some great advice a few posts ago about how to differentiate myself.
    It’s a shame the fellah didn’t look at the other parts of the job. I let my prospective clients talk all they want the first meeting, probably too much. It’s much better to know the overall game plan and what clients are thinking in my opinion.
    At the end of the meeting I ask which part of the project is the most important and I start honing in on that part of it. It can get very confusing and overwhelming, both the design and the financial aspects, when you look at everything all at once. It is great to know the overall plan so you can design with the future parts of the project in mind.
    If a client states they want to do the job all at once because their child is getting married or they’re tired of the house looking the way it does I will do a little more talking about the scope of the project regarding both the design and financing and then proceed with the entire job in mind.
    In my opinion, and depending on the scale of your project, you are going to get the best value, if you define value as a well built job that will hold up over time, by looking for a small contractor with one or two guys working with him. The job is inevitably going to take longer than you thought and there are going to be some bumps but the results will be great.
    The key is going to be to find a detail oriented contractor, not a get it done type.
    Good luck with your project!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      You were NOT my salesperson. This experience you describe would be the very opposite of Bad Salesman, John!

  • Theron Mathis

    Great article.

    I use a similar car-buying experience as a story in sales training I do. My wife was the buyer, but he kept talking to me, telling us what was awesome about this car, but never asking what we were looking for.

    Thanks for all your content and podcast. I introduce you to others on a regular basis.

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