We are probably the only people in the country to actually be kicked out of a travel sales presentation.
I mentioned yesterday that we were going to some kind of sales presentation last night. SuperDad read up on these sorts of things in advance and learned about the various sales techniques, plus he read up on complaints filed with the BBB about such ventures. Thinking that we were going to be pressured to purchase a time share, our main defense was the fact that we actually enjoy tent camping (even when things go wrong). One of my dh’s dreams is to visit every single one of the 392 National Parks in the United States.
At 6pm, we arrived at the meeting place and signed in, but they weren’t ready to begin because no other prospective clients showed. (FAIL #1)
At 6:15pm, they decided to go ahead with just us. Our first sales person was a friendly young woman from Russia. She was pleasant, but the music in the background made it difficult to hear her. (Apparently the loud music is a sales technique designed to disorient us, but it merely served to annoy me and make me less likely to interact. FAIL #2)
At around 6:30pm, the friendly young woman introduces us to the sales pitch guy. He’s clearly used to (or at least prefers) a room full of prospective clients. He wants interaction while making his presentation but we are beginning to show ourselves as duds. He’s not selling a timeshare; he wants to get us to buy into a travel club. Perhaps there is a small glimmer of hope since we’ve been to NYC, but he quickly learns that we prefer camping and National Parks. What the heck is he going to do with us? (FAIL#3)
By 6:43pm, my dh has pointed out that their company concept of the deal going straight from the industry to the consumer is what we already do. SPG claimed they get a bigger discount because they buy in bulk, and we do not argue his point so he moves on. Since we are the only other people in the room, the sales pitch guy notices* when I pull a few folded papers from my purse and hand them to SuperDad. Suspicious, SPG asks what they are and my dh tells them they are for taking notes (true!), but SPG points out that they have already provided a tablet of paper and pen for note-taking. Clearly, the sales pitch guy is on the defensive. At this, SuperDad –who had already alluded to doing some research into sales presentations like this– confesses to SPG that he has a list of known sales techniques and is going to check them off as presented. SuperDad tried to say this in such a way that SPG might find it quirky but perhaps funny. Instead, the sales presentation guy is greatly annoyed and he calls my husband “a smart aleck.” (FAIL#4)
Now, I don’t deny that he was being a bit of a smart aleck. Heaven knows, I live with the man! But we had been actively listening to his presentation up to this point, following his logic and asking appropriate questions. I’m pretty sure that it is bad form for a sales person to call the prospective client a derogatory name.
SuperDad turned to me somewhat incredulously and said, “Did he just call me a smart aleck?”
SPG heard this and said, “If you don’t want to be here, you can leave.”
SD to SPG: “Did you just ask me to leave?”
And that is how we ended up getting kicked out of a travel sales presentation.
*Had there been a few more people in the room, this might have never come up because it wouldn’t have been noticed, but we were the only ones there. From what I could tell, there was only one person at the presentation immediately prior to ours. Yesterday was not a successful day for the company.
All was not lost, though. While we didn’t end up with any airline tickets, free weekends at a resort, or $600 rebate vouchers, we found a busy street to take a pleasant walk and people-watch. For about $10 –the cost of gas and 2 coffees from Starbucks– I had a 5-hour date with my smart-aleck husband. _____________________________________
Today is Small Business Saturday. It’s a great way to support your local small business owners and keep dollars in your local economy. I’m heading into town (population 6,000) to do a little shopping in the stores there after stopping at the farmer’s market.