21 Apr 2014

A few months ago, while skating around South Beach I realized the Rollerblades I had on my feet were 15 years old. Not the wheels, but the boots and overworn brake were original from my freshman year of high school. Sometime after college I tried to buy new skates; I bought good (read: expensive) ones that killed my feet, so needless to say they didn’t make the move to Miami. I can’t imagine Rollerblade expected the cheap plastic boots to last 5, let alone 15 years, so rather than rolling the dice, and risking being without comfy skates I figured it time to start the search for replacements. 

Off to Amazon I go where I locate a suitable pair of ladies skates. Amazingly my old skates still had the size sticker on the boot, so I figure: same brand, same size. HA! They arrived and were visibly, easily 2 inches longer expected. … and back to Amazon they went. In the course of events I also noticed they were VERY narrow, so I decided to just buy men’s skates instead. Found another pair with promise and prime; two days later the skates were mine.

Then I get an email from Amazon informing me of a recall. After contacting Rollerblade they instruct me to ship them the skates so they can perform an inspection before returning to me either the original or a presumably un-defective replacement pair. Enough time passed that the delivery from UPS pleasantly surprised me for I was eager to resume my replacement research. After tearing into the box like a kid on Christmas morning I found that the left boot was loose and decorated with a bright orange sticker. Now, had the recall conversation never taken place this fact wouldn’t have been so suspicious. I would have laughed it off, screwed in the boot and went on my merry way. Actually that’s precisely what I did, right after I emailed the Rollerblade lady to see if she thought it was a bad idea.She did, it was, but I survived. The very next day I received - what I hope to be - the last pair in this process. But as I boxed up the broken boots, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that Rollerblade managed to get me so caught up in the recall process, that I’ve yet to reflect on whether or not they are comfy. Without even knowing if I even like them, I’m already possessive about the product.

I wonder whether this kind of three card monty would work in a sales cycle. Or worse, is this what prospects do with RFPs: get us so wrapped up in answering bogus questions that we forget to sell? If so, how do we tilt the tables back in our favor? I figure this is probably the secret sauce that make free trials successful. Money back guarantees, free shipping both ways, complementary data migrations, all nice tactics to get customers focused on using, touching, and ingesting the product. And as much as it pains me to admit, it works.

So this week, let ‘em get their hands dirty. Do your sales number, help the customer understand the value, and get out of the way. When you trust your product to deliver on your promises, you prospects will trust the contract is worth signing.

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Last modified on Thursday, 08 January 2015 20:04
Erin Wilson

I find great amusement in everyday absurdities and am constantly surprised by how my bar-ventures, my travels, and even my food-qusitions relate to the shenanigans that is software sales. I am grateful for the opportunity to leverage the Sapient Salesman as an outlet to share with you my follies, and I hope you can enjoy the schadenfreude.

Website: ebullienterin.com/

Erin Wilson is the author and publisher of the Sapient Salesman

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