What I learned from the worst sales experience of my life

Photo courtesy of steinerwoodwork.com

Photo courtesy of steinerwoodwork.com

I recently experienced the worst door-to-door sales experience of my life.

I answered the door to two representatives from a green energy company instantly demanding that I show them my electric bill. They made it appear like it was something I had to do – that this company was the apartment building’s new green energy provider and that they needed to take details from my bill to enable the switch-over.

Of course, this turned out to be a lie – they wanted to become my new green energy provider but it was my decision. They were very convincing at first and I did (stupidly) hand over the bill. The longer they stood on the doorstep, I grew increasing skeptical and knew I had fallen for a manipulative sales tactic.

I asked questions about what they were doing and they replied with fast, confusing, jargon-filled ‘sales’ talk. They could tell I was feeling uneasy so one of them tried to divert my attention by asking about me and pretending to care about my life.

I could suddenly see straight through them and asked them to return the bill and information they’d written down, which they eventually did begrudgingly. A quick Google search afterwards presented me with hundreds of negative reviews complaining about the same experience with this company.

This made me reflect on what makes a good salesperson and it was definitely a lesson for how NOT to sell – I was confused about what they were offering, they lied and were incredibly pushy. Perhaps if they had taken a different approach, I might have switched my energy supplier.

In my opinion, a good salesperson builds trust. When I think about my experience of winning new business at social media/PR agencies, it’s been through understanding the needs of clients and explaining what’s in it for them. It’s been about ditching false ‘sales’ talk and using honest, clear and concise language. It’s not been through being aggressive, manipulative or pushy, but instead by being friendly and showing that I’m someone they can trust.

What makes a good salesperson in your opinion? What was your worst sales experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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