Salesmen or Customer Service Rep

What’s the difference between being pushy and being helpful?

Last year I went to a used car dealership and looked into getting a car. I really liked the car they showed me, but the tactics used by the men at the dealership were so underhanded and vitriol that it has put me off ever going to a used car dealership again. If I do go to a new car lot I will be so against the dealership that it’s going to be difficult for them to help me even if they are actually there to help me instead of helping line their pockets.

Some of the things they did:

  • Telling me what I needed instead of listening to what I said
  • Assuming I’d buy it even after I said no.
  • Changing their wording to try and get me to do the thing I said no to already
  • Treating me like I was stupid for saying no.
  • Telling me they knew better, or the bank knew better then I did about my finances.
  • Making it physically difficult for me to leave.
  • Asking again and again for that sale to the point of harassment.

It’s unfortunate that I’ve seen some of these tactics bleed into other businesses, though not as bad as that dealership was. But, I do see people “assuming the sale” and pushing for that “no,” often dozens of times.

It’s frustrating, even aggravating. If I were to walk into a store and the employees started assuming I’d buy whatever they handed me I would be inclined to leave. I know my budget, my tastes, my desires. Often I don’t even want a specific thing when I go into a store I just want to see what’s available. Having your employee sit there and give me things to buy doesn’t make me want to buy, it makes me uncomfortable and want to leave.

But I also recognize not every customer is like me. There are others who don’t know what they want. They need more help picking the right outfit, or the right sized couch for their space. I get that. A good “customer service agent” can tell the difference between someone who needs that extra bit of help, and someone who just wants to be left alone to pick their own things. They will ask if they need help. Watch to see if they look confused. Offer little bits of information about products or services. Only if the person wants to engage in conversation will they but in. And if the person is just looking, or doesn’t want to be bothered, then they will let it go.

But it seems that more companies want “salesmen” instead of “customer service agents”. They care less about the customers good experiences and more about the amount of crap they can push off on the general public.

I get it. Your growth business is no longer a growth business. It’s just another stock on the market maintaining it’s shares, and you’re looking to raise capitol to make your stockholders happy. So you’re expanding your sales, pushing more merch, and upping quotas to get bonuses so you give out fewer bonus (thus saving money) and push your employees to get more from the public to try and meet the insane quotas. I GET IT. You have to please the stockholders.

I also understand that as long as we, the public, keep going to your shop, allowing “salesmen” to sell us crap, then you’re going to keep doing it. “It works” you say, all the while annoying some of your customers to the point that they quit shopping with you, and pissing off some of your employees because they didn’t sign up to be aggressive salesmen. But IT WORKS, so you’re going to do it.

I just wonder how long it will take for this salesmen attitude to infiltrate all of our businesses and shops. Till then I will keep looking for the shops that encourage the employees to be friendly, and chatty. Where I get greeted by name, and they already know my favorite drink. Because I’d rather pay extra to get that personal service then pay the lowest common denominator to watch my fellow human beings be turned into pushy salesmen who only care about the bottom dollar.


2 thoughts on “Salesmen or Customer Service Rep

  1. I hate that kind of thing too. My car dealership, Toyota Fredrikstad, weren’t anything like that fortunately. They’ve been incredibly helpful and their maintenance policy is superb. But I’ve had plenty of experiences with pushy salespeople and I usually just leave.

    • Ya I’ve had some okay experiences with dealerships down in California. Even talked one down to 2k on a car by basically saying “2k total or I walk”. They gave in and gave it to us for that price. (Trick was to find one that was really dirty and had been sitting there a while. We drove that car for years.)

      I think here in Seattle there are a lot of dealerships, and the market is saturated, and there is craigslist taking a huge chunk of sales. So the first place we went had us wait in their lobby while the “bank decides if they will give you the loan” for over an hour. They didn’t even come out to update us or anything. It wasn’t until we were just about to walk out that he finally came out to let us know. It’s a stalling tactic to get you to just sign the damn paperwork. That was after they also did a bait and switch and got rid of the car from their website that I had just called them about. I wasn’t happy with that experience either but I had to have a car for work. I would have left otherwise.

      But the other company… I was about to call the police because they wouldn’t give me my keys back so I could leave. They kept saying “the bank says you can afford it, that means you can afford it.” BULLSHIT. The bank knows my credit, they don’t know my finances. I think they are doing to cars what they did to the housing market, giving financing to ANYONE on a car just to get the interest. And then they can’t afford it, and the bank takes the car. The dealership doesn’t care, it’s not their problem. You didn’t have to sign.

      It’s just a bunch of bull. I hate seeing it creep into other businesses.

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