The End of Old Fashioned Selling

On the Friday after Christmas our heater went out. We noticed it at about 6:00 at night. We called a local service company to come out and take a look. Within sixty minutes they were there. Another 20 minutes later the heat was running again. Unfortunately this is where the impressive service ends. The service technician told me the unit we had was completely shot. He went into detail as to why that unit is bad and how it was improperly installed. He went on to tell me it needed to be replaced immediately even though it was working again. I said to have someone come out and give me an estimate.

The next day I was supposed to meet with the sales guy to get an estimate. They explained the estimate would take 90 minutes! ! couldn't believe how long it was going to take and cut into my family time on a Saturday. At the time he was supposed to get there I received a call from him saying he was fifteen minutes late. Thirty minutes later he still wasn't there. I called him back and said we had things to do and we now only had one hour left to meet with him. He said that wasn't enough time to go through the presentation...Presentation? I thought it was just an estimate. I said I was sorry but we couldn't wait around. He preceded to pull over and give me a quote right there in his car. So he was able to give me a quote without ever looking at my system or what I needed. He ended the call with dire warnings that if I didn't agree I could have a major problem going forward.

Obviously this guy didn't know he was talking to another sales guy. But I was amazed/appalled/shocked that this type of selling still exists. This is exactly why people in sales get a bad reputation. These types of sales people ruin a once noble profession. They attempt to take advantage of people with a problem and give threats that if they don't do X then Y will happen.

This is the same way some people in my arena try and sell security. They talk to people with warnings of compliance violations and fines if they don't buy what they are selling. This is not the way! No one I have ever met likes to be told what to buy or else. That is threatening and turns people off. Every business needs basic security devices like a firewall and backups, but they first need to understand what these products will do for them. Once they know they need a firewall they have a world of options. No one firewall can solve every problem for everyone. No more than a single car company has a model for everyone.

I am an advocate for educating business owners and executives on security. IT knows they need these products but the executives don't understand why. Like Stephen Covey says, slow is fast. This is true with security. A good security professional will first understand what is going on, then make recommendations around that need. There isn't a blanket solution. Every business owner or manager needs to work with professionals who know what they are doing and can solve problems. I promise you that things will be a lot less dramatic and you will have better results.

To conclude my heater story, I called another company and they came out and did exactly what I would expect. And they were half the price. Because they listened to what we needed. They didn't make assumptions.