Earlier this week, after a long day of work, I cut through the mall to reach my car and head home. I did what any pleasant but uninterested person would do when I attempted to pass you. I didn’t make eye contact. I didn’t even glance at your product because, after all, I didn’t want to lead you on or make you believe there was a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d be willing to listen to your sales pitch about your “miracle” lotions. But it had been a good week, I was in a great mood and I, typically, really like people. So when you planted yourself in front of me, 5 yards ahead of your kiosk and breaking my brisk stride to hand me a “free” sample of hand lotion, I smiled and said “thank you” without slowing down, fully expecting to continue on my way. Clearly, I underestimated you. Because that’s when you sidewinded back to your lair, beckoning me to join you, attempting to separate me from the rest of the herd so you could give me the “really” special product for the skin around my eyes. You thought I was simple-minded. You assumed I was easy. You thought you could coil around me and squeeze. You thought wrong.
Let me tell you something; women today are a lot smarter and more independent than you give us credit for. Do you honestly think that your aggressive tactics will force us into submission? I resent feeling like I have to take an alternate route to my destination or feign preoccupation with my cell phone just to avoid being verbally accosted by you. My only other choice is to walk through your attack zone, fully ready for battle. I resent you trying to tell me that my own logic, my decision to not try or purchase a product, is faulty. I resent you trying to tell me, by your refusal to acknowledge my polite rejection, that I am not intelligent enough to make up my own mind. And let me tell you something else: the phrase “no thank you” means I’m not interested. It isn’t an invitation to launch into a more determined pitch. Your hard-sell tactics aren’t enticing to me. They just make me more suspicious. You, Mr. Kiosk Man, make it extremely hard to be nice. After all, a mouse can’t let her guard down with a snake.
The truth is, Mr. Kiosk Man, I don’t like being pushed around by anyone… least of all, you. I’m an intelligent, hard-working woman who has a firm grip on what I want and need. If that something is a product you offer, I’ll ask you for it. Until then, please respect my intelligence, my right to walk by you, and my right to choose, or be prepared for your prey to fight back. It won’t be pretty.
(As if you couldn’t tell, I’m a firm believer in relationship sales techniques, and am quickly turned off by the “hard sell.” What are your thoughts on the idea? I’d love to hear your stories, your thoughts, or how you’ve dealt with crazy kiosk or telemarketing salespeople in the past.)