Monday, January 14, 2008

Selling Me?

I recently received a letter in the mail from a local women's club, health center.
The location alone, of this fit club, was what urged me to dial. The letter spoke to me about a potential healthy relation between her and her gym, and I. For she was interested in using me, my weight, and my testimonials as part of her "gimmick" to promote her place. She's interested in using my blood, sweat, and tears along with the changing improvement of my fat % and frame, to show just how beneficial her infrared sauna treatment works.

Sidenote- along with eating healthy and vigorous exercise. I'm considering it.

I'm considering this promo mainly due to the location.
In fact I could wake up at quarter of 6am, walk to her women's only gym, arrive there before 6, work out for 45minutes and return home before The Dawg catches his train into Chicago. Really, it is a decent walk from my home.

Situated down near the train station that Bigdogg hops on, I figured, there is a reason this letter was given to me. Plus,this would be really helpful, especially since I have been contemplating my own goals, and walking and short sprinting is just not "doing it for me."

Of course there's a monthly membership fee, with certain perks that she'd be awarding me. So I give her a call and we talk for a bit. An appointment was made to sit down face to face to discuss her needs, as well as mine.

As luck would have it, I have a Sauntering Frank appointment this week. So to combine her meeting along with a training session, and the pain that my teeth will be in, it just didn't seem like a right time. Plus, the cost of the membership I need to compare to the other locations, and it wouldn't really help with Bigdogg and his work out. It doesn't seem like the right time.

I called over the weekend and left her a voice mail message kindly telling her that "I appreciate the time she spent speaking with me last week, but unfortunately I needed to cancel the appointment. Also, in speaking with my husband as well as his father, I feel as though this type of "work" isn't in my best interest as of late, especially due to the monthly $privilege to see pictures of me, and my words in writing, on her fliers and testimonial website." I was courteous and continued to tell her voice machine mail that "I'm going to forgo another avenue, and along with that, a different type of gym that would assist both Bigdogg and I, with her location just strictly women's only." I told her that " in speaking with my husband's father who is in the same field as her, only out along the east coast, and he feels at though, blah blah blah.."

When I had spoken to her last week she ran over the hours of operation, what the first meeting would consist of and the first workout with a one on one trainer.
I did happen to call her off hours.

Sunday night, last night, my phone rings...
She had said there was no one in on Sundays, that the private club was closed.. I thought that's what she told me? Hmm, benefit of doubt, perhaps she is just in working being the owner and all.

"Hi, Elizabeth, it's Elaine from 'sweat your ass of with only women around' I saw your call..

"Oh, hi Elaine!" I reply, "I'm sorry about having to cancel the appointment, but now is just not a good time."

Elaine appearing like she didn't hear what I said, I swear I could hear her wheels turning, "oh, my voice mail isn't working, the phone company has to come out and figure out what's wrong..I didn't get your message..."


Elaine I've left a career behind to raise my three babies, but what my career was mainly based on, was sales...

First bad move, lying about not getting the message. How could I tell? The pitch in her tone, in her voice, to be successful in sales, you must learn how to listen, listening to the sudden pitching of her tone, was obvious that a white lie had been told.

Second bad move, the phone company coming out to fix her voice mail. (I worked for Ameritech/SBC/At&T years ago in Business to Business sales, and know first hand how much of a lie that voicemail story is. The voicemail is internal and fixed from the central office, or rather the CO.

How many times have we used that old, "oh I didn't get your voice mail, it's not working right"..and really the only thing that wasn't working was our fingers dialing the prompts to reach our voicemail messages. Really it's more about the sales aspect not looking at the fact that they'd have to face rejection by a message left. Some may say it's a wise approach, to make the consumer or business executive think that you haven't heard their sales turn down, but really to me, and I have success,proven in writing, from sales, and I'mnot just tooting my own horn, know that by returning a call in a business environment (not personal that's different) and not listening to the message is a strong no no. For some they think it's smart so that the individual declining the promo or product has to verbally tell the seller No..From a social standpoint, saying no is difficult for me, but in business, and to me this is a business venture, it's not hard at all. Bad move to lie about not listening to the message.

She begins to push me with her selling tactics...
I tell her that if she's looking for me to assist her club with written weight improvement, a sign up fee isn't warranted. Most clubs in the area don't charge a sign up fee because of the New Years 08 Promotions..

She continues to try to sell me...
Not really listening to what I have to say, which to me, having been in the sales industry, I can "hear" when someone isn't really listening to you, rather, they're hearing your words but too busy thinking of how to rebuttle, which to me is cold selling, nothing compassionate and caring about this approach. Nothing relayed using the common saying, "I understand what you're saying.."
None of that.

I inform her of what my husband's father told me over the phone last week when he called to wish me a good birthday.

She proceeds to ask me this question:
"You had said that your father in law is in the fitness business, but how does your father in law know what's best for you? He doesn't run a woman's fitness club."

Bad move lady.
See? She had listened to my message because the message was the only time I had mentioned what my father in law is involved in. I might not have caught that either, if I hadn't been listening.
Never assume in a sales moment.
Just listen.
Never lie-be upfront and positive even in rejection, you'll be surprised the results.
Now, you're arguing with the maven.

I proceed to tell her that my husbands father along with his wife own private 24hour fitness gyms out near the beaches of Virginia. Some other locations that are indifferent to this story.
I was honest and told her exactly what he told me, that there really shouldn't be a sign up fee, that infrared sauna treatment doesn't help you lose weight, but eating healthy and cardio with minimal strength training will really do the justice. Plus, there are so many clubs looking for new members that for the start of the New Year you can be competitive on where you go as the majority of them do have an "enrollment fee," but they roll it into the monthly membership fee...but to stay away from Sauna's no matter where you go, that's a staph infection waiting to happen..

I was quite disappointed as I really was looking forward to this new venture, only because of the convenience factor.
Location and Time.

Both which are very important to a stay at home mom.
Well, to me, at least.
I'm not interested in the Oversized meat market Chain Gyms, those have always frustrated me. I prefer peaceful, quiet, and small, more one on one, and I was really looking forward to this new location.
The incentive made a plus in my book too.

Until the rebuttal phone call from her yesterday..
Grrrrrrrrrrr....I had my heart set on this place.
Bigdogg was content with just sticking to his running, he didn't need a gym membership to keep himself in working order. He figured he'd just go running with my brother as he has in the past.

We negotiated more over the terms of the club membership. Elaine telling me, if you "sign up" right now, I'll reduce the enrollment fee and roll it into your monthly membership.

Sure! That's more like it I think to myself, because I have an idea of what is ideal, and considering the location of where I live, this makes much more sense-having spoken with Bigdogg's father, this was more comfortable to me.

So I told her, that I would consider signing for the one year membership as she informed me last week that she'd prefer all new members sign up for that, and to roll in the enrollment with the monthly incentive.

"Oh," she says, "well, if I shave off the enrollment, I'd do it for a six year membership instead of a year."

Of Course, I think to myself, because a 6month is more than a one year.

I being the pain that I am, say this, "oh, I'm a bit perplexed, as you had informed me last week that you'd much prefer a one year commitment, but now you'd rather I just sign for 6months?"

Obviously we're not dummies here, folks, it's all about the $. I know we all manage money differently, but some of the most successful millionaires will tell you that you should always always negotiate your dollar. Don't be a cheapskate, but be frugal, that's how the dollars turn into more. Forget for a moment that I could completely bypass it all, and just continue my walking and sprinting that's free after all.

But, I need a bit more substance. Plus, it's more of a motivating factor to me if I have given money somewhere, to get my dollars worth of value, so to speak.

So we go back and forth, this Elaine person and I. Finally I tell her this, "look, we'll keep the appointment as scheduled for Monday night to sit down and talk, but I still will need to discuss it further with my husband. I think it's important for me to see your establishment, and to determine the value of the membership, after all, I wouldn't buy a car without sitting in it and driving it, so lets follow up as planned on Monday evening. But I will let you know that I will still discuss this further with my husband."

Elaine her rebuttal rolling says to me, "But your husband should care that you want to lose weight, that's what's most important, and he should be concerned about your needs, your desire to improve your inner core.."

Another bad move lady, because if you're trying to put yourself up against my husband you'll lose immediately. Bad move to tell me that my husband isn't supporting my desire to lose weight. My husband supports me 100%.

She tried the wrong selling approach with me.
I know we live in a rather snobby town, where money is very evident, but how you use the money earned is up to us and us alone. I don't care if other people that live in large homes don't care about the cost of a membership, I value our dollar, I value the time that Bigdogg works, I value the fact that money is something that people reckless use, spend unwisely and I could go on and on. What's wrong with me looking to get my money's worth? I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all.

After all, look at Bill Gate's wife, she's a wise wise shopper, giving more of it and her time than many others that we all "know." I look at the good examples, and prefer not to lead my life following the frivolous ones, like the spendytrendy Hilton's.

I am still set to go tonight to see the place and what it has to offer. The location is still the number one factor for me. The convenience of it all.

So, would I settle for convenience over snootiness from the owner herself? That will be determined tonight around 7.

Welcome To Crustybeef~
We shall see, but she'll be wise not to try and pull anymore sales tactics, I should remember to look down at her blinking office Cisco phone system, and exclaim to her, "OH, they finally fixed your voicemail notification!"

People like her, with me having had the sales experience that I have had, I have to just laugh at the ignorance of it all. Like you'd see a Plumber with 20+years of experience under his belt, laugh at the Joe that works at the board of trade with zilch for pipe experience, when he attempts to install a new talking toilet in his 8person shower-he'd be best to stick with what he's good at, and allow the maven of pipes to do what he does best. For Elaine, she should focus on fitness, and leave the selling to someone with a much softer empathetic tone.


Tex said...

Crusty, will you go with me when I buy a new truck?? God, you're so on top of things.....
Well done...BREAK HER!!!!!!


Guess what, I told her no..and I cancelled and didn't go. After searching inside more, I decided that no location even if it's next door deserves my money if they tell me that my husband should be "supporting me."
I will walk and sprint and as my 2nd sis suggested, carry buckets of water up and down the stairs..REALLY! She did!


Portia said...

This story tickled me to death! Aggressive salespeople make me sick. You handled her perfectly. Trying to talk down about your husband was a pretty silly move.
I hope you're having a good evening...and sleep well tonight! :):)
Thank you for the email btw:) I'm Forever catching up....

Portia said...

p.s. I forgot to say, I love the new signature:)

Brad said...

Glad you canceled. If it were I, I'd never have forgotten the tactics and held her in low esteem. We own a small business and deal with our customers honestly. I expect the same or I'll go else where -

If you want help with sitemeter - just let me know - It really wasn't that tough after all- I'd be glad too help

austere said...

That's SOO lovely the flourish.

Awestuck by the manner in which you handled her. Completely awestruck- you're TOO GOOD. Next time I'm doing a big ticket purchase, please come with me.

On smart living, Mr Buffet rocks.

Kelly Jene said...

Crusty, I'm in awe. That was fantastic! Good for you! I thought I was pretty good at seeing through people, but with your selling experience, you took it to a new level.

I'll be interested to see how it went.

Hugs... and love the new signature!

Gypsy said...

Thinking your husband should be supporting you - goodness me Elaine if you are going to make a mistake you might as well make it a WHOPPER. What a twit!!!

When we lived in the burbs we had a sign on our front door that expressly but very politely said, No Hawkers or Salespeople. One day a guy came to the door selling children's videos. We were on the bones of our backsides financially and I couldn't possibly make the budget stretch any further. This guy would not let it go and finally accused me of not caring about my children's education (they were 18 months old at the time). BIG mistake buddy. I wasn't as subtle and classy as you.....I slammed the door in his face....the one he wasn't supposed to knock on in the first place. What a nerve!!

captain corky said...

This is exactly why I belong to the Y. Month to month and they barley look up at you when you ask for an application. ;)

SOUL: said...

good job crusteeeeee- well done.
and ditto on the sig...

and hey-- "crust"-- in my coffay?

would that be like a crouton in french onion soup???

anyhow--- i have lots of extra cofee this mornin.. cmon and have some---


Cheryl said...

I clicked on your signature, and saw how to do it!


It's easy, isn't it Cheryl? Actually really fun! I typed in swear words too..was fun to see them in "fine elegent cursive!!"

Soul: slurp, french onion soup with extra cheese, please!!

Capt: the darned Y costs more a month here than a women's club..unreal..and it's a "Christian nonprofit.." hmmm...

gypsy: that guy sounds like one we had a few years ago..thank you for reminding me that I need to get one of those NO SOLICITATION squares for my front doors. Damn sales people..I was one of them, but my success came from treating people with respect..not pushing "IF YOU BUY TODAY I WILL do THIS THIS And this" approach..yuck!

Kelly: I saw it over at your place and Andrews and LOVED IT! I didn't go..actually, I cancelled the appointment..I could pay money to something that talked down my husband when it's his income after all. rude woman.

Austie: Isn't she the sweetest everyone? She is always the first to congratulate, to give warm regards, and well wishes..she is someone that you'd be blessed to have in your life!!-Austie-that's you my dear friend!!!

Brad: i will be stopping by in awhile, I am working on some other "projects" that are pressing and have put sitemeter on number 3, I'm on ticket #1...but, I will be chatting with you soon! Have a good night, Uncle Brad!!!

Portia: Why thank you! I got it over at Kelly's and also Andrew's's fun and change is good, right? :)