Selling Stupidity: the story continues…


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Home improvement sales people are not known for their intelligence, but the Anglian Windows sales person who just knocked on my door while I was struggling to get half-a-dozen urgent client projects finished was almost certainly in the lower quartile, which probably makes him the intellectual equivalent of a Paramecium.

Without pausing to check whether this was a convenient time to talk (my body language undoubtedly indicated that is wasn’t) he went straight into his spiel, apparently not noticing that all our windows had recently been replaced by an organisation that employed sales people that at least had the basic ability to listen.

Once this was pointed out to him, he then ran the full gamut of my unlikely requirements, including replacing my soffit boards, doing a rip and replace on my guttering, or changing the solar glass in my conservatory for, you’ve guessed it, another type of solar glass.

An utter shower

I at least had the satisfaction that I was listening to this drivel from the shelter of my comfily insulated hall while he was standing in an increasingly heavy shower of rain with the drops collecting on his cheap looking bright green clipboard. Let’s hope his canned pitch didn’t start to get all smudged and blotchy before he could unleash it on the next pensive punter.

When is a sale not a sale?

But, just as I thought I had heard it all (and was desperately trying to not hear any more), he delivered the piece de resistance. Upon being told I wasn’t interested in buying anything, he brightly responded “I’m not trying to sell you anything – just giving you a quote“. At which point he heard the reassuring sound of my recently installed triple-insulated front door being firmly closed.

Who is training these sales people? More to the point, who is recruiting them? Do they really think that winding these unfortunate souls up to pitch without listening dozens of times a day is actually going to generate sales amongst any but the weak minded?

The real customer experience

Don’t they realise that spending millions on expensively produced TV ads featuring faded personalities shutting out fearsome gales is all for nothing if the actual customer experience – the one delivered by these excuses for sales people – just creates a negative reaction bordering on outright hostility?

Now, hopefully your sales people have an average intelligence somewhat higher than the pond life that dripped onto my doorstep this afternoon. But are you absolutely sure that some of them aren’t antagonising their prospects rather than aligning with them? I’m not sure that the Anglian sales manager knew or cared. You need to…

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Apollo
Bob Apollo is the CEO of UK-based Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the B2B sales performance improvement specialists. Following a varied corporate career, Bob now works with a rapidly expanding client base of B2B-focused growth-phase technology companies, helping them to implement systematic sales processes that drive predictable revenue growth.


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