SUBJECT LINE:  A Great Example Of How NOT To Sell! . . . 

It’s almost the end of our financial year in Australia.

So on the weekend, I thought we could go and check out computers to take advantage of the End of Financial Year sales.

You see… I am getting tired of Rae hijacking my Mac. She never leaves my tabs open and recently she confused the heck out of me by not logging out of Gmail… no wonder I couldn’t find the message I was looking for!

Anyway… the struggle is real, so I needed to do something about it 🙂

Rae’s not a fan of Macs and isn’t really tech minded. And I don’t know much about PC based laptops… So I had to do some quick research to help me know what would be best for her.

I found a few contenders and knew where we’d find them.

Armed with my newly acquired knowledge, we headed out to a few stores.

Our first stop was a store, which specialises in office supplies. They have a small range of computers, so it wasn’t too complicated.

We were wandering around looking at the computers and were talking about the brands. Rae said she liked a brand that I really can’t stand.

A woman came up and said… “I don’t like that brand either and that’s why you won’t find any here.”

We started to have a bit of a chat and everything felt nice and friendly.

The saleswoman was knowledgeable and wasn’t too pushy but… unfortunately, didn’t have what Rae needed. And she knew it.

Sad we couldn’t buy from our new “friend,” we left the store.


We drove to our next target… a huge store with a huge “way over priced” range.

As soon as we walked into the computer department, we were attacked by the first salesman.

“Can I help you?” he asked attackingly.

“Nope! We’re just looking!” I said defensively.

“Okay then!” and he walked off dejectedly.

No sooner had he left, another popped up and asked the same question… and then another… and then another. It was like playing “whack-a-mole!”

All up… 5 “SalesDudes” approached us in under 5 minutes. All were desperate to make the sale (and the stench of desperation was overwhelming!)

Finally I had a question… so I asked one of the dudes to help us. He puffed up his chest (in a display to the others that HE had been chosen) and proceeded to “answer” my question.

Except… he didn’t. He hadn’t listened to me at all.

Then Rae had a question… Uh, oh!

Before I go on… I have to explain something here…

Rae doesn’t suffer “SalesFools” gladly!

In fact… cool, calm and collected Rae can lose her “shit” pretty quickly, given the right situation. (It’s spectacular and at the same time, fairly distressing to watch.)

The salesdude stupidly spun her question around and started to answer an entirely different question.

She looked at him and simply said in her best “Don’t F*^k With Me” Sergeant voice…Well, that wasn’t MY question or MY experience!”


The salesdude recoiled violently… like he’d been hit in the chest by a 50 caliber round… and then the “walking brain dead” proceeded to open his big mouth again…

“I think you’re wrong. It’s the best thing ever!” he said

5…4…3…2…1… BOOM!

“Really, and you’re qualified to give me financial advice, HOW?” Rae said.

He shook his head… and Rae continued… “It sure sounded like you were trying to! You have nothing I want here, especially customer service!”

She casually turned towards the exit and walked away.

He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and I quickly said…

“Here’s a Tip… Don’t tell customers what they want… let them tell you.”

I hurried off to catch up with Rae.

After she calmed down, we went to one more store and had a slightly better experience. But we still had the feeling we were being preyed upon… so we left empty handed.

The retail torture experience, although horrible and traumatic… was a great reminder of…

Knowledge Nugget #45 – Don’t Tell The Customer What They Want or Need… You Are Not The One Buying!

The salesdude made a huge mistake in not asking Rae what she wanted and then proceeded in telling her what she needed… from his own perspective.

He was condescending, patronizing and less than helpful.

He was desperate to make the sale, had his rigid sales technique to make it happen and he was sticking to it no matter what. (And it was obvious he had a sales quota to meet and we were going to be part of it!)

The poor guy probably went to the Sales School that says… “Each NO you get, gets you closer to a YES!” (and probably put Rae’s rejection or moodiness down to PMS or something just as offensive!)

It might have worked for the Wolf of Wall Street… but not many customers (if any at all… and especially when their initials are Rae Brent!) appreciate these hard sell tactics.

The saleswoman at the first store did something clever.

She stood back, gave us enough room to look and listened for an opportunity to join in with our conversation. She did it in a courteous and respectful way. (Way different than the salesdudes)

The only thing that prevented the sale was her lack of appropriate stock.


So, at the moment, we are still in the market for a suitable computer. Rae is particular about what she buys. And I like that about her.

One thing I know for sure is… we won’t be returning to the “Dude Zoo!”

In fact, I don’t think we’ll ever step foot in that store again! (It’s not the first time it’s happened there.)

As I said, a few valuable lessons were reinforced…

It’s a “well known” fact that people hate to be sold to… so why try and blatantly try to sell to them.

And although it is true, people do WANT to have an experience… they don’t want a bad one!

Sometimes it’s “good” to have these negative experiences so as business owners, copywriters and marketers… we can stay accountable and ahead of the pack.

Also, sometime in the future, I’ll reference that visceral reaction Rae had and channel it into some copy. It’ll be amazing!

Until next week… be safe, take care and go out and have fun 🙂


Pauline xxx

Pauline Longdon
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”

P.S.   Another important thing the sales dude missed was… Rae doesn’t want a computer. The computer is just a tool for her to get to what she wants. He was totally trying to sell her the wrong thing. I pity the fool!

P.P.S.   Applying this to copy is not as hard as you think. You find out what they want before you start to write (research) and you address their concerns / objections as you write. Which leads to the foregone conclusion of your solution in the offer section.

P.P.P.S.   The way you enter the conversation the customer is already having in their head is important.  The salesdudes tried to force their way in and were stopped. The saleswoman caught a snippet of what we said and eased in… I wish she had a computer to sell us!

*Just to be clear… this is not a gender thing. It’s an arrogance and disrespect thing… and they are universal across the genders.


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