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My least favorite sales technique

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Nick GriffinMy least favorite sales technique
by on May 30, 2010 at 7:03:01 pm

It's that time of year again here in the Mid-Atlantic... Memorial Day weekend, time to open the pool. (Yea, yea I know California and Florida. Here in the colder climes we actually have to go without having a pool for nine months out of the year.) Well just as been the case in too many other years for me to want to think about, the opening did not go smoothly and this time, due to fatigued or damaged parts, the filter couldn't be started. Once back at the shop the technician would have "the boss" or some other manager call me. So, with apologies for my ramble, here comes my least favorite sales technique:

"Sir we couldn't open your pool because the technician says there's a 'problem.' The main o-ring is stretched out of shape and the drain plug is damaged. Both need to be replaced," says the voice on the other end of the phone.

"So, do it," I say. "How much?"

"Well that's the 'problem'... Your filter is very old..." (it was put in new about 8 summers ago) "... and that's a 'real problem' because we're going to have to RESEARCH where to get these OLD parts before we can even give you a price... and finding these really old ('problematic') parts could take a while. Our owner has been in the pool business for 28 years so we hope that he'll know where to find these 'problem' parts... Would you like us to price out what it would cost to put in a NEW filter to replace the really OLD one YOU have?"

"No, not until we know the cost of what sound like two, easily replaced minor parts'" I say.

 "OK, but that could take a while."

So my next step was to try a little research of my own: get the name and model # off the filter and call ONE pool store. Viola! 'Problem' solved. The heavily 'researched' o-ring and drain plug plus silicone lube $23. Successfully installing them myself... Priceless.

So there's the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) sales technique -- where the answer to most questions is almost always "that's a 'problem'... one that only they with their specialized "knowledge" can solve. I'm not a fan.

Taking this forward into our business, we like to make sure that virtually nothing is a 'problem.' That, I like to think, is one of the primary reasons so many of the same clients work with us year after year. They hear 'NO problem' or 'we'll figure it out' instead. Nobody wants problems from people they deal with on an ongoing basis. They want solutions.

(And next year... I'm thinking of addressing the pool opening adventure with a bulldozer and several tons of fill dirt.) 


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grinner hesterRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 30, 2010 at 7:53:54 pm

I never saw that as a sales technique but a que to fix it myself. To me, if someone doesn't knwo their craft, I have no need to hire em.
Could you imagine if you are i tried that technique?
"So, how much will my video cost, Nick?"
"hmmm, hard to say. I just won't know what all is involved until we start rollin'."
lol
or the doctor approach...
"I'm here for my 9am edit session, Grinner."
"Ok sign in here and have a seat in the lobby reading magazines for an hour."
or the mechanic way:
"yeah, Mr. Smith? Hey, this is Grinner. It seems your video is gonna cost 28k instead of the 8k we agreed upon. Yeah, once I tore into it, it was just a bigger pain that I expected."
Then there is the suggestive sale, ala the drive thru:
"You want a master with that?"



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Nick GriffinRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 30, 2010 at 8:13:57 pm

LOL, Grin!

Then there's the car salesman approach: "What's it gonna take to put you and the misses into this 2-3 minute corporate video this afternoon?"


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Todd TerryRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 30, 2010 at 9:13:43 pm

A couple of Grinner's observations in particular strike a chord...

Recently we had a cheapskate client in for a broadcast commercial... who "didn't realize" we would actually charge for masters (everything, of course, was spelled out in their original contract and estimate). They wouldn't pop for the 25 bucks for Betacams, so they said they would take their freebie approval DVD copy of the commercials around to the various TV stations they bought and wait while each station either captured the video or copied the DVD. Sheesh.

Another time, when a particularly-pain-in-the-ass client was coming in... who happened to be a physician... I did purposely have him cool his heels in the lobby for quite a while, even though I was probably just surfing the net while he waited. Mean, I know... but he had been nothing but trouble. At least we had good magazines.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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grinner hesterRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 30, 2010 at 9:27:42 pm

lol
charging for masters and havin' em wit FTW!

I had a bad doctor once who stood me up for an appointment. It was a bad appointment anyway so it was just insult to injury. The second time it happened, I had no choice but to invoice him for two hours of my time. He called all fussy with a "What's this 400 dollar bill for!?"
I aint a mean guy. I'm a respectul one so I require equal respect.
I don't do doctors anymore. If I want drugs, I can find em cheaper from a dude without a white coat and point od sale on his wall.

Reminds me of a bad dentist I had. Chick broke a 2k crown while she was cleaning my teeth. Instead of replacing it, she decided to put a filling on it. That's bad enough but a week later, I kid you not, I got a bill for 200 bucks for the filling. I took that as my cue to have the crown replaced by a real dentist and send her the bill with my atty's digits on it. Her decision, not mine.

Bottom line is some seek business and some enjoy driving it away then pretending to not know why they are not booked. Nobody is workless without knowing why.

I'm gonna use that bill 25 bucks for the master beta the next time I wanna weed wout a client I've outgrown. That has to do wonders.



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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.Re: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 31, 2010 at 12:52:50 pm

Reminds me of a bad dentist I had. Chick broke a 2k crown while she was cleaning my teeth. Instead of replacing it, she decided to put a filling on it. That's bad enough but a week later, I kid you not, I got a bill for 200 bucks for the filling. I took that as my cue to have the crown replaced by a real dentist and send her the bill with my atty's digits on it. Her decision, not mine.

Grin believe it or not it sounds like you were the grinder here and the "chick" Doctor was happy to get rid of a problem patient.

You cannot break a good crown unless it was already damaged. Even when they need to be replaced it is very difficult to remove them. If there was a bubble in the porcelain or imperfection in the original, thats the labs fault.

I don't understand how a broken crown can be replaced with a filling. Thats like saying I did high speed photography with a Polaroid. You can fix a chip in a crown with a filling though. So are you sure it was broken but not chipped?

The "chick" was right to bill you as she fixed a problem that was not her fault.

I am not picking on you personally, I think this goes to show how people that do not understand our profession make assumptions and accusations, treating us video guys unfairly. Now you can understand how easy it is to think you are %100 correct and the other person is wrong with our limited knowledge of the profession.


Emre Tufekci
http://www.productionpit.com



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grinner hesterRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 31, 2010 at 1:34:43 pm

Interesting perspective.
Wrong but interesting.



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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.Re: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 31, 2010 at 2:11:50 pm

You are probably correct, you should not go back to that dentist.

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” Mark Twain

Emre Tufekci
http://www.productionpit.com



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grinner hesterRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on May 31, 2010 at 4:35:56 pm

Bringing this thread full circle.
When a company invites you to not use their services again, be it by bad sales tactics, lack of effort/knowledge, or up-charged surprises when it comes bill time, take em up on it.



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Chris BlairRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 1, 2010 at 12:36:30 am

Nick, I preach this to our employees but too often it goes on deaf ears. There are people in this world who view every obstacle as "a problem" and I'm not sure it's possible to change them.

I tell our employees, "how do you like it when you go to a contractor or salesman or vendor and they start their answer to your questions with, 'the problem is...'"

I hate it...especially if that's their stock answer to every question. So your story is a great reminder that our job is solve customers' problems and do it without stressing them out or aggravating them in the process.

I love it when people are asked to do a job and they just go do it. Especially if they have to go figure something out and they just take the initiative and do that too.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com
Read our blog http://www.videomi.com/blog


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Ron LindeboomRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 1, 2010 at 1:13:47 am

[Chris Blair] "I love it when people are asked to do a job and they just go do it. Especially if they have to go figure something out and they just take the initiative and do that too."

Me, I like the ones who do this AND fill out checks that clear the bank.

;o)

Ron Lindeboom


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Mike CohenRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 1, 2010 at 10:42:10 pm

Recently I used a duplication vendor for two jobs. The first one they delivered on time, but more than 5 units had corrupt data. 5 out of a few thousand is a reasonable tolerance, but more than that and you are afraid to distribute any. The vendor's response, "hmm, it seems our duplicator outsourced the job to save costs. Sorry"

My response "well, you already charged me a large sum of money, what are you going to do for me?"

This went on and on until they A) said they would refund my money if I return the order and B) said they would get me a discounted price the next time.

The 2nd job (simultaneous) was delivered 2 days late to the correct address but in the wrong state!&^%$

Again I got the same spiel from the owner - we'll get you a great price on your next job.

Yeah right. Excuses and promises don't make up for shoddy work.

Well, the next time I will find a vendor who charges a fair price and who can deliver.

A bit off topic Nick, but I know what you mean.

It is a buyer's market for vendors. Vendors need to remember this.

Mike


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cowcowcowcowcow
grinner hesterRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 1, 2010 at 11:43:57 pm

lol
"I know we didn't do a good job this time... we'll be even cheaper next time!"
Reminds me of a job interview I was in once. Head guy told me I was over qualified. I told him "yeah but I don't plan on doing my best."



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Jason JenkinsRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 2, 2010 at 5:02:00 pm

[grinner hester] "Reminds me of a job interview I was in once. Head guy told me I was over qualified. I told him "yeah but I don't plan on doing my best.""

Classic!

Jason Jenkins

Flowmotion Media

Video production... with style!


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Alan LloydRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 2, 2010 at 11:44:08 pm

Fair warning - I'm stealing that one!


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John CummingsRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 10, 2010 at 12:39:35 pm

"Reminds me of a job interview I was in once. Head guy told me I was over qualified. I told him "yeah but I don't plan on doing my best."

LOL,I almost spewed coffee on my monitor.

J.Cummings
Chicago
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50
847-220-3172


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Aaron NeitzRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 3, 2010 at 8:45:39 pm

The two absolute worst companies at this: Jiffy Lube and EZ Lube. I don't patronize either anymore after too many years of telling the guy "no, I DON'T need XYZ done."



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Kai CheongRe: My least favorite sales technique
by on Jun 5, 2010 at 5:11:06 am

Personally, I'm usually a little too quick to say 'no problem!' to clients' [ask my director, he usually turns and looks at me with concern/horror when I'm on the phone :P] - because I know most things CAN be done... it just might take a whole lot of hassle, time and research.

But when you're running a business and doing this professionally, sometimes you need to be a bit more measured in what you promise. In general, we act in good faith and help out whenever we can, if we have the time and resources. But sometimes, we need to bite the bullet and turn down the often last minute requests to throw in a freebie or make that change on something that's already prepped for delivery.

Though a new client we took on recently told us of something that really takes the cake: they asked the production house that did their previous corporate video how much it would cost to get the masters from them. They replied something along the line of a four-figure amount for one SCENE. Whoaaaaa. It's nothing spectacular or involves talents... basically straight up interviews with the clients' own partners. Kinda gives the rest of us a bad name... and end up making clients write ridiculous T&Cs like "unlimited revisions" because they've been burnt before.

Kai
FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
http://kai-fcp-editor.blogspot.com
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