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The Door-to-Door Saleperson

It was a no-school/no-work day in our family.  It was a great day to sleep in and catch up on more intensive chores like digging out the depths from under the bed.  I had unearthed a lot of dust with all the tidying and I was just starting my detailed vacuum job when I heard a knock on our door.

In our new house in a new neighborhood, we get a lot more knocks on our door than before.  We have a lot more foot traffic.  When I opened the door, a youngish man in a tie stood with a slip of paper with the statement "We will Deep Clean & Dry Foam one room - NO CHARGE".  He explained he was showcasing the Kirby, that he wanted to demonstrate what it could do.  

He caught me at the right moment, just as I had been sweating for a couple of hours already cleaning and vacuuming, just as I was lamenting the condition of our carpet in the entryway and just as I was getting ready to ask a neighbor to borrow (again) her industrial carpet shampoo machine to deep clean the entryway.  When this man, with his trainee, offered a free deep clean in 30 minutes, no obligation to buy, I was sold.

The moment the salesperson and his trainee set foot into our house to take a look at our carpet, I was suddenly suspicious.  Were they *really* vacuum salespersons?  When I said, "I don't have too much time", he responded, "Do you have to go to store, or pick up kids?".  I wondered if he was trying to discern whether I'd be home later that afternoon, perhaps he'd come back and victimize our house and set off with our belongings.

Well, nothing like this happened (yet), and - as he continued on with his demonstration of the machine - I could not help but feel continually guarded.  He asked about my kids, how many I had, was I married, what did my husband do, did I work, and what did I do.  It turns out that his trainee was his partner, and they had a 6 month old daughter who was being watched by his parents so they could work.

I do not think I have ever invited a door-to-door salesperson into my home to demonstrate a product before.   I don't think I would be open to it.  But, today....  well, they just caught me at the right time, selling the right product.

When they brought out the cost sheet, I was flabbergasted.  "Today only! $2,295".  My jaw hit the ground and I actually said "holy @h*t".  That's a lot of money.   "We offer some great financing options, just 36 payments of $92.45".  I kept shaking my head in disbelief.

At the end of the day, this couple really worked hard to demonstrate this product.  They vacuumed and deep cleaned my entryway and a good portion of my living room.  Had I known how much this product was, I might have never entertained the demo.  I can't help but keep thinking about this couple, who explained to me that maybe 1 out of every 3 folks who receive a demo would buy a machine.  He had sold 7 so far this month, and he was hoping to sell 15 units in one month so he would be promoted.  I asked him how he was being received by our neighbors, and he mentioned that there was a very mean older couple around the corner who slammed the door in their faces.

I am still in disbelief over the price-point.  But, as I sit here, faint aroma of the deep clean solution in the air (I am told they are non-toxic enzymes that bind with the dirt), I can't stop thinking about this couple, their machine, how it is indeed an amazing appliance, and how I would never, ever find myself in the position to pay 36 payments of $92.45 after a $270 down payment.

Have you experienced demonstrations from door-to-door salespersons?  Did you buy?  Did you decline but still think about the product?  At the end of the day, this fellow said "When you find yourself in the position to make this kind of purchase, we just ask you that you think of us and our product."

I have to say: I appreciate how decent he was and how he didn't really push the hard sell.  It was all-in-all a pretty good experience.  And, my carpet in the entryway is pretty damn clean.

 

Comments

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I know this sounds bad, but I am generally not trusting of salesmen(or saleswomen), let alone someone coming to my door to sell. Especially someone who wants to come in. I probably wouldn't have even opened the door, unless it was a sunny day, the stars were aligned, and the wind was blowing in the right direction-maybe then I'd open the door. But I figure I don't need any help figuring out what I need to buy. If I need it, I can figure out the best deal with my own research and get it on my own.

I'm with Cranky crank. I work in sales (not in that way) and trust me, first asking about you, being nice, claiming he sold 1 in 3 after his presentations and trying to play on your sympathies are all sales techniques for initiating the process and then overcoming objections.

I find door to door solicitations particularly irritating and intrusive---and to a large degree, ineffective. The successful sales people rely on marketing, increasing their profile and strategically creating a desire for their product. It's precisely why I generally email my company's information, create a system for increasing prospects and increasing visibility.

BTW, while I get he was trying to establish a bond with you (to make the sale, again, sales 101)---his mentioning the "old meanies" down the street was supremely unprofessional and belies his green behavior. Slamming the door in his face was completely their right---HE intruded in their home, uninvited, requesting their time. Since I've done this before (recently two Mormon missionaries looked absolutely shocked that I had no wish to hear about their religion) and I even work in sales, I'm sure plenty of others have treated him similarly, as well.

And if he wishes to continue in this capacity, he'd better develop a thicker skin.

We seem to get a steady stream of solicitors/sales people, even with a prominently displayed sign and a 80lb dog lunging at the front window. If I open the door I am inevitably drawn in - and as Henry Rollins said about people that waste his time, "It's part of my life I won't get back. Like they're murdering me, but just a little...with this really tiny knife."

It's such an awkward thing for everyone involved. My worst experience was a sales call by a young man wanting to replace our windows. He started off pleasantly enough, even after being pawed by the aforementioned 80lb dog. He even gave me a coupon for 25% off. After 15 minutes of talking he got around to asking how long I'd owned the house. When I told him we were renters he glared at me, ripped the coupon out of my hand, and pranced off with some choice words about wasting his time.

I'm not above hiding from solicitors of all stripes (except children selling Thin Mints).

Ha! Great story. With the exception of the one time I was caught off-guard and actually let a window salesperson give me his whole pitch (nightmare, b/c then they kept coming back...), I always approach the solicitor at the door with the same attitude: a smile, but a firm "sorry, I'm not interested." Like others, part of me resents that they even interrupt whatever I'm doing by knocking on my door, but another part wishes to at least be neighborly by not completely ignoring their knock. Meanwhile, my husband is way too nice and not good at interrupting people once they get started. The result is that the Jehovahs' Witnesses keep coming back for him! He's told them he's basically an atheist, but I think he says it so nicely that maybe they don't believe him.

I am not very trusting. We used to live in a neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic and when people came to the door trying to "sell" something, I always assumed they were casing the place to come back later and steal something. I'd barely open the door, let them see a glimpse of my barking 100 lb dog, and kindly say it wasn't a good time. I'd certainly never ever ever let them into my home. It sounds like you got lucky today, but I'd definitely be more wary in the future.

OK, so, I have nasty allergies and appreciate a good vacuum and all, but, still--that's a @*$#%& lot of money. Whoa.

My mom was devoted to "her" Fuller Brush man in the 1970s; his mops really were all That. That's the only success story I've heard.

I don't open the door, just talk thru the door's window. Because they still come, even tho' we have a sign up. If I'm in the front yard, I get aggressive and belligerent (OK, as much as a lumpy short gal can), and don't care if they make "hurt" remarks about how rude I am. My hubby will open door and listen to the spiel; he's "imposing."

I think you were really lucky. Sorry to say that, bec sounds like they were legit (in selling you a product, not out to rob or hurt you). It's not worth it: can't imagine a product/service sold door-to-door that you can't get cheaper elsewhere.

I don't open the door at all, after a woman in our neighborhood was assaulted. If it's an organization I know at love, I may go out on the porch to join them, but that's my limit.

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