I got suckered into attending a time-share-like presentation for a discount wholesale travel club. It took about an hour and a half, but it felt so scammy that when we left, I just wanted to wash myself clean of the hard sales tactics.
During the presentation, we watched every marketing and sales technique being thrown at us. I suppose they thought they really had to try all this to get anyone to come up with the almost $10,000 they were asking for a lifetime membership.
The tactics spanned what I call the seven S’s of salesmanship:
There were more high-pressure tactics, but I said simply, “If you are so confident in your product, why not give us a free trial to see for ourselves?” That wasn’t what they wanted to hear — how about a “trial” membership for three years for just under $3,000. Uh, no!
I reflected on how I didn’t like wasting my time there, but realized that this had been a great lesson for my youngest daughter, who got to see the extent of what other people will do to try to get you to hand over your hard-earned money.
In contrast, this is something I really like about technology — you don’t really have to convince people to buy it. If it’s good, it sells itself.
Of course, there’s competition — sometimes cutthroat — between vendors with similar products, but the hardware, software, databases and connectivity has demonstrative intrinsic value that you want to buy, because it makes whatever you do better.
A colleague recently pointed this out, saying that you can’t be competitive without modern technology, you’ll simply be out of business. So whether it’s a business trying to do more with less or people wanting to have more functionality and day-to-day convenience, you get the technology and don’t have to be coerced into a 60-minute sales talk.
Perhaps this is why with technology, it’s common to do proofs of concept, pilots, beta tests and software trials, because we tend to like to prove out the value and not just push out a slide presentation.
Are there IT salespeople who will impose death by PowerPoint and other hard sales tactics? Of course, but that’s why we can always ask to take it for a test drive first and make sure the value proposition is there. Smoke and mirrors are for time shares and discount travel clubs; I’m glad I work with technology.