The Big Fat Solicitor Fail

by | Business Skills

Let me tell you a story…

A few days ago my wife heard a knock on the door late in the afternoon.  Upon opening the door she saw a man standing there with a clipboard and shirt with a logo for a cable/internet provider.  When she inquired how she may help him, he looked down at his list and asked for Shirley.  Shirley was the previous owner of the house who moved away almost two years ago.  My wife told him that she had moved and then, not really caring if she was Shirley or not, he then proceeded to ask her if she was interested in their service.

At this point my wife could hear that both children were awake from their naps in their rooms, getting upset.  She said, “No, thank you.” She was prepared to be done with it, but no such luck.  He urgently said, “But what if I could save you money?”  “No. Thank you,” was her reply, more forcefully this time.  He kept pressing the issue, to which she kept responding, “No. Thank you.”  Then he looked at her with disgust and said, “You won’t even listen to me.”  By this point my wife was anxious to get to our children, and with much frustration, she said something to the effect of, “You are right.  I won’t.  No thank you.” And then, feeling terribly rude, she simply closed the door.

After attending to the children she was so upset that she actually went out to look for the man to tell him all the things she couldn’t think to say in the moment.  It was probably a good thing that he was nowhere to be found.  Instead when I came home from work, I found a very frustrated woman who had to vent it all out to me.

He didn’t consider that as a woman, especially with small children in the house, my wife wouldn’t let a man in who didn’t have a previously scheduled appointment.  Not to mention that our neighborhood association had recently sent out emails warning of criminals dressed as solicitors trying to get into people’s homes.

He did not consider that she might have other things that she needed to attend to.  He didn’t ask if it was a good time.  All the while, our kids were crying in their rooms.

He implied that we were stupid for not wanting to save money. But his offering to bundle multiple services that we don’t use or even want wouldn’t actually save us money…  He also assumed that we weren’t aware of the options when we chose our provider.  The truth is we compared prices and chose the best one for us.  It wasn’t them.

And then he insulted her character as though she were someone too arrogant to even listen.  He did not consider how that would make her feel.  She is still fretting about not treating that man fairly, and truly feels badly for having to be rude.  But she felt she had no choice.  He wouldn’t stop badgering her, so rudeness seemed her only option.

He did not consider his potential customer.  And now we will definitely never be his customer.

This is the point.  Consider your customer.  Who are they?  What are their circumstances?  What is the best way to reach them?  And when is it time to step back and not push it?

What if this young man had said, “Okay, I’m sorry to bother you.  I really believe in my product and if you would be willing to listen to what I have to offer at a more convenient time, here is my card.  Thank you for your time and have a nice day.”?

It is quite possible that we would still not have switched, but now I can guarantee that we never will.

So don’t be like this solicitor.  Consider your customer.

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