Copious compliments, laser-like focus, talking a mile a minute = Mayday!  Mayday!

A door-to-door salesman showed up on our porch last week.  (Yes, they still exist.)  As I’ve mentioned before, our front doors have gigantic windows so it’s a double-edged sword: if I’m in the family room there’s no point trying to pretend I’m not home, but if you’re on my porch there’s no way to avoid having the dogs spot you and launch into attack mode.  (Defend the homestead!)

What they probably look like as they charge the door.
What they probably look like as they charge the door.

This is precisely what happened when the gentleman knocked on our door.  He knocked, spotted me on the couch, then quickly stepped back as the dogs catapulted themselves at the door.  (It’s times like these that I’m REALLY glad we have that tempered glass.  Watching 65 pounds of golden retriever rebound off the pane elicits visions of shards everywhere and a dog flying through the frame, landing on a VERY surprised visitor.)

Anyway, the dogs were going insane but I finally managed to slip past them and out the door, only to discover that the man had backed off the porch and retreated about ten yards down our sidewalk. Once reassured that we really don’t feed visitors to the dogs he made his way back toward me, and he was off and running before he even hit the first porch step.  Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone talk that fast.  It was a little dizzying.

Later on I broke down his approach and, while somewhat frustrating at the time, it was also pretty fascinating.  Here you have it, my twenty minutes with the door-to-door salesman:

  1. He quickly created a connection by pitching several fast ball compliments.  They may have been a bit far-fetched, but that’s okay; if you hurtle them quickly enough, one’s bound to stick.
  2. He then slipped smoothly into selling the product, starting off with “What would you give to be able to…?”  In this case, what would you give to be able to clean all those streaks off the front door’s window?  (Ummm…almost anything.  Especially if that includes someone to clean them off for me.)
  3. He demonstrated the product, over and over and over.  And granted, it did work.  On window streaks, on sidewalk stains, on Sharpie marks on a cloth…he couldn’t have proven it more useful short of walking through my front door and spraying down every surface within reach.
  4. When I finally tired of the frenetic pace and took the direct approach, I asked straight out what the cleaner costs.  His answer?  $140.  I tried not to snort.  I don’t think I was entirely successful.
  5. When I told him there’s no way I’m paying that much for a cleaning product, no matter how well it works, he pitched the fact that it’s not $140 per spray bottle.  This price buys me four bottles of concentrated cleaner that I can dilute.  Ummm, even so…no.
  6. Barely missing a beat, he shifted right into “Well, then you can at least try one for $24.99.”  At this point I’m getting annoyed, which reminded me how little I actually clean as well as the vast number of cleaning products already present in my home.  So I declined this offer as well.
  7. We then moved from the financial to the personal appeals — What was your first job?  How did you build your success?  Do you believe in rewarding that hard work in others?  Do you believe in helping others succeed?  If we were in a lifeboat, would you throw me a lifeline? Then how about helping me out and trying one for $24.99?  Good God, man, TAKE A BREATH.

I found the entire encounter exhausting.  And annoying.  Not exactly in that order.

I reassured the gentleman several times that he’s obviously very good at his job but I wouldn’t be buying anything that day.  Then I added that we’d had some unexpected expenses and didn’t have extra money in the budget for cleaning supplies.  No, not even for $24.99 worth of cleaning supplies.

Then I simply shortened my answer to NO.  (But, because the southern has apparently seeped into my bones, I added a “thank you” and a small smile.)

My take-away lesson?  I’ve found the door-to-door salesman resembles a toddler.  They may be more creative in varying their angles of attack, but basically they have their desired answer and then come at you a dozen different ways to get you to agree.

And they have a very hard time hearing the word NO.