Sunday, October 28, 2007

Getting talked OUT of a sale

Okay, this is an impromptu rant that really needs to be made.

Came across what I though was a really good computer deal for under $200. I won't say which store, but I will say it was the same franchise that I had the online sale problems with from my earlier article. I needed to get a replacement second computer because my current one is literally dying, and money, unfortunately, was once again a problem.

So after a little hashing over between last night and this afternoon, I came to the decision to go buy that computer.

I show up there WITH a shopping cart and ask the first salesman who dogs me to tell me about that computer other than what I can read on the little information tag.

"You really don't want to get that one."

Excuse me? Here I am with a shopping cart IN HAND ready to make a sale RIGHT THERE, and this guy is actually talking me OUT of a sale!

He tells me that this computer is running Windows Vista Basic. Yes I know this.

He tells me that it only has 512MB RAM. Yes I also know this.

He tells me that the system will run VERY slowly because of the RAM.

You're not dealing with a noobie, gramps. I've been playing this game before you even knew what a computer looked like!

I tell him EXACTLY what I would be using this for. I tell him that I'm replacing a 6-year old computer that is running on 256MB RAM, a 60GB drive that is FAILING, and a video card that refuses to work on a cold startup. I tell him that I would be using this for playing music and some modest web surfing. I even point out that I ALREADY have another computer that I do the bulk of my work with.

But no, he still wants me to look at some of the other computers with more RAM. Oh, hey look at this one... 1GB of RAM, only $400! And here's another one for $599!

Okay gramps, I'll humor you this one time... I'll look around. And then I'll return to the other computer and either you will make the sale for me or someone else will do it and HE will get his name for making the sale.

As has been typical for this store, once the salesman leaves you to go check on other people, you pretty much won't see him again.

Now mind you, as I'm trying to get talked out of this sale, ANOTHER person comes up, sees the same computer as I'm looking at, and he is ALSO getting talked out of the sale! Now this guy starts spouting off how much of a deal it is because he can tell you how much it costs to actually MAKE a computer by buying all of the components (which you can also do right there in the store). But he's also hearing the same spiel from a different salesman. "No, you don't want this, you want the more expensive computers over on the other sales island."

So needless to say, after another twenty minutes of pacing around the little sales island and looking at all of the computer and then coming back to that computer, another salesman figures out that I'm looking for some help. I tell him that I want to buy THAT computer...

"Um... I really don't think you want to get that computer.... it'll run a little slow."

Here we go again!

I give him an even SHORTER version of the story. I'm using this to replace a backup computer that is running on 256mb RAM, a 60gb drive that is FAILING, a video card that is FAILING, and it would be used for music and some modest web surfing. I tell him that I am hampered by two things, necessity and money. I've SEEN the other computer offers, and they are all outside of the affordable price range. Now can you PLEASE get me that computer?

He goes to the back, five minutes later he returns (after talking to another customer), and tells me that he just can't seem to find that computer anywhere on the shelves. Maybe there's another computer they can get for me?

Nope, there isn't. Goodbye.

And I walked. Actually I was TOO kind in that I returned the shopping cart. I should have just left it right there at the other end of the building to remind them that they LOST a sale!

They didn't even offer to box up the computer on display! If they were so desperate to sell out that series (which was their last excuse) then they should have at least offered to do that.

This store made SEVERAL mistakes that cost them a sale.

First: a person who walks into that store with a shopping cart is NOT someone who is causally browsing! That person is looking to BUY. That means that you have a REALLY good chance of making a sale right there. So the very last thing that you want to do is to talk someone OUT of making that sale!

Second: if that person is looking to make a purchase and you think that there is a problem with the product in question, then you don't try to talk that person into trying to buy a more expensive computer. The consumer sees this as bait-and-switch! If they know that you have some complaints about the product and they still want to make the sale then you MAKE THE SALE!

Third: if the product is REALLY sold out - and it's not just a convenient lie to get people to not buy the product for fear that you may have to restock it later when it is returned - then you sell the demo model at a discount! Or you offer to add something to it! If the problem really is with available RAM, then you offer to increase the RAM. That's not bait-and-switch - that's actually showing that you CARE enough to want them to enjoy the purchase.

Now the hard part... figuring out what I'll do to replace the computer that is dying. I'll probably have to go to some discount computer shop and see if they have any refurbished XP systems for that same price range. At least the people there care enough to want a sale made.