This post was brought on by an annoying experience I encountered just last weekend.
It was a members' day promo at one of the local pharmacy outlets in Citta Mall and since I was rushing to get Vitamin C supplements for the family, I wasn't really interested to check out the rest of the promotions that were happening. However, the very polite cashier tried her best to inform me of some of the promos I might be interested in and pointed me towards a busy counter where they had free testers on an unfamiliar health drink.
Since I thought it was harmless, I took one sip of the drink and this salesman was trying to pitch a sale. This was where the annoying problem started...
Recently there has been too many health products around that claim to detox the body and I am aware of some of them that can be damaging to the health if taken in the long run since it forces our system to flush out supposed "toxins" from the intestines. Whatever you choose to take depends on your body and what you want out of the product. But being the cautious person that I am, I wouldn't think of purchasing a brand I've never heard. For me, I prefer to play it safe - I exercise and I also take supplements, even herbal ones as long as I know it has been around for a decade or two and no critical reports against taking them. A product with a good track record, produced by a reputable company and a huge number of satisfied users all over the world would definitely gain my attention.
I am interested to know more about a newer product if a lot of people say it is good, but I wouldn't be the first one to jump at a promotion only because you, the salesman say it is the best.
Of course, in this case, the salesman didn't say it was the best product but he did mention that it is a detoxifying drink and I should take it if I want my skin to be beautiful.
My next question was - How many sachets was it in the pack, to which his answer was so presumptuous and I stopped showing interest in the product by then. He told me that there are 20 sachets in the box and then went on to explain why they don't put more than 20 sachets or one box would be too expensive for the consumer.
First mistake - to assume that my main concern was the cost.
Rather than assume that I was asking about the cost, why don't you, a salesperson be more effective and explain to me how many do I need in a month. My question was how many sachets do I need to consume in a day and hence I needed to know how many sachets/boxes I need for a month's consumption.
The fact that I didn't even know the product, my main concern was naturally the rule for consumption. Tell me how many do I need first and let me worry about the cost later.
When he spoke about the cost, my eyes immediately went to the promotion signage and saw that 1 box was RM148 (RM7.20 a sachet)! 20 sachets of a product I've never heard for that amount would surely be a big issue for me unless the salesman would be kind enough to tell me what am I paying for:
1. is it the quality?
2. what are the key ingredients?
3. how long has this product been marketed in Malaysia?
4. main success story of users? how many kilos I can lose in a month?
4. main success story of users? how many kilos I can lose in a month?
5. where else can I purchase this product?
6. who are your competitors and can you give me some examples of your unique strength against some of them?
7. any celebrity who's a spokesperson?
If you want to be an effective salesperson, you should make a potential customer feel that she needs the product and enjoy all its health benefits so that when in the end you do touch on the pricing, it wouldn't matter that much to the customer. This is because you have practically sold her the idea even before she knew the cost.
I think this rule applies to many business dealings and even contract submission... a product or service must fulfill every single requirement of a customer - the presentation of the product must have a breakdown of what the customer needs. The cost consideration is the last on the list where the customer will then go through the options and suppliers for comparison. And when it comes to beauty products, women don't mind spending, if they are really good products.
In this case, the salesman failed to find out what I needed to maintain my health or what I have been taking currently. Instead, he went on that I would need 3 boxes for a 2-month stock to which I responded that it is a wrong timing since I just came back from a holiday and going for another holiday with my kids and I'd much rather spend my money on my children.
Second mistake was to use what I said against me, when he said - "Do you say it is wrong timing to take care of your health?" which I was close to saying F*ck you.
As a salesperson, do not insult your customers' intelligence by statements like this. Do you even know who you're speaking to? What if you're facing a dietician who takes great care of what she eats every day and she's also cautious of the supplements she consume daily? In my case, I exercise to keep fit and I use good products on my skin to maintain skin's health. So why do I need the drink? The product is not even a medically certified product for them to even make such claims that it can make one's health better. As for the salesperson, he has yet to properly introduce the product to me in that first 5 minutes! All he did was explain why there are only 20 sachets, to which the explanation wasn't the answer I was looking for, and then went on to insult a potential customer without even trying to find out the requirements of the customer.
Third mistake was to assume that everyone needs to buy or will buy when there is a promotion.
I agree that as a smart shopper, one should purchase a product when on sale but I believe that one should purchase a product she needs when on sale. If there isn't a need, why bother?
There are a group of consumers who are more on the cautious side who do not mind buying a product at full price if it is acknowledged as an effective product. Once we get the hang of using the product then promotions would definitely assist us in maintaining its usage in a consistent manner. But if it is really good, consumers would buy regardless of whether it is on sale or not.
The sales pitch failed miserably within that short period of interest for a potential customer and an insulting statement within it, I totally shut down and turned to the cashier to pay for whatever items I had taken earlier.
And when the salesman saw my response, he arrogantly passed me 2 sample sachets in an intro pack for me to try as he was confident that I would come back the next day to purchase a full pack once I drink one sachet that night itself. He mentioned that the drink is so good that I would feel the need to go to the toilet immediately the morning after. I asked him if that would be a forced bowel movement and he confidently said that it won't. It would feel all natural. Again, I gave him the opportunity to tell me the key ingredients of the product so that he could tell me why it will be a natural process - are there fibers or special ingredients that's star to the product? He didn't say anything on the USP except that it tastes good.
Stupid me that I tried it that night and didn't feel anything the morning after. After lunch, I experienced such a discomfort and it was nothing natural. And I asked myself why I even bothered to try. And for the record, the product didn't taste that good.
I guess when you face such horrible marketing skills as opposed to many other products in that same category who don't have to resort to insults, the product would somehow reflect any strengths (or lack) of class and standard, and one shouldn't even bother to consider if the salesman lacks the right training in the proper way to address their customers. A good product that sells doesn't need scare tactics.
Have you come across sales people that are so unnerving? How did you react?