Buy a smile

He is ringing at the doorbell. He is young. He is arrogant and wears that grin on his face that makes you think he is about to fall on his prey. And you have that unpleasant feeling that you are the prey. “Gas, electricity,” he mumbles. “Did you switch to another energy supplier yet?” I raise an eyebrow. He scribbles something in his notebook and says: “We apparently haven’t come to you yet. Did you you know that prices are increasing by 15% next year?” He is not impressing me and I am not interested. “Well I see you’d rather pay  the price … I can’t believe people!”

I feel like a moron. I’d better slam the door in his face but I don’t. Instead, I bite back: “I’m free to do whatever I want and I like to think by myself.” The guy has definitely wiped out all hope to  convert me into a customer.

“Am I speaking to Mrs *?” By the noise and the distant yet recognizable voice, I hear it is a call center. It seems she is always reading the same lines. She makes me nervous and I should hang up but I don’t. “Dear Madam, you are invited to a VIP day at a store nearby.” I am not interested but she insists on changing my mind. “I’m not selling you anything. This is just an offer.” Come on, you’re not going  to decline, are you? Yes I am. I clearly point out that I do not wish further phone calls from her as I will not buy anything. But I know she will call back someday.

I have heard that new selling techniques are very provocative. Uninvited, the seller gets into your house, sits down at your table and in a laid-back tone, asks for a cup of coffee. Do marketing geniuses up there in their towering office really think that customers are harpooned this way? This would certainly irritate me. Aggressive sales techniques will scare the customer away.

Maybe this is just a game and the one who wins is the funniest one. 

“Mrs. *?” – “I’m so sorry but she just died.” – “?” – “Sure, it’s her talking.” And they will hang up on you. “I never buy anything, ma’am. I’m not eating, I’m consuming myself.”  Or: “Whenever a call center gets hold of me, I’m having an allergy. So please, stop calling or you will get me to the hospital.” Being weird or funny will probably relieve aggravation on your side and make someone smile on the other end of the line.

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