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Death of a Salesman

Category: , Posted:01 Apr 2013 | 06:00 am

It was a bit like an out of body experience as I found myself reaching around the quacking salesperson's head, put my hands around her neck and squeezed hard. Hard as in fighting for a loose ball in a rugby scrum and hoarding the prized trophy while all manner of mayhem breaks out around you.
Hold on tight, tight and tighter.
But in the blink of an eye I was back in the present, with only my mind drifting into criminal intent. There would be no OJ Simpson inspired trial, nor were any gloves present in clear sight.
Welcome to the world of pitching property and a dreaded day of visiting developers model show units.
Quasimodo couldn't stand hearing those ringing bells, but for me what absolutely drives me to the frayed edge is the mindless modern day sales pitch.
Call me quirky but I find it highly annoying to first be given a set of rules rather than welcomed into the shrine-like aura of the highly esteemed and prestigious show unit. "No cameras" is the first quack that comes out of my host's mouth, along with "come now, we have others waiting." Worse still is actually showing up without an appointment, which seems tantamount to walking into the CIA Headquarters or the Kremlin and asking to use the bathroom. That first smile turns to a confused state, squinty eyes are up next and then the ultimate grimace.
Bring on the waterboarding, as walking in unannounced is a not dissimilar to a group of boat people showing up on the beach in Australia with Gucci luggage.
There simply is no explanation.
Once the tour begins, the monotone voice over kicks into top gear, combining the drone of a speeding motorbike and a Usain Bolt sprint from room to room.
Whatever you do, don't interrupt or ask questions, as the memorised drivel must be delivered in full. This has to be one of those arcane sales SOPs (standard operating procedures).
Over the years I've encountered some pretty savvy sales people who look you in the eye, grasp your hand and ask you questions. Suddenly it's as if someone turned up the heat in the room and a Woodstock burst of good vibes fill the empty space. Apparently those days are over. Though I have to say in the beleaguered timeshare world (whoops, make that the vacation ownership sector), those guys and gals know how to establish an instant BFF friendship.
But lets talk about the end game, what that sales person really wants it not to answer a question, nor do they have any interest in what you think or have to say, but it's the quest for your email address.
This is the end all, be all final goal. Once that's obtained, an article like chill comes over the room signalling it's time you left. That means now, not later. Go on… get the hell out! For anyone who asks for my email, they all receive the same response – a quizzical look and stunned humourless, deadpan serious answer: "what's email?" This usually stops the request dead in its tracks. No, I don't do the Yahoo.
There is no G spot in my Gmail. I need to get off this train before it starts to get embarrassing.
So there you have it – the real estate industry's trigger point of success in 2013 – the sales function is on autopilot.
Maybe demand is simply so strong that all we need are order takers? Or else the industry simply isn't attracting the caliber of sales professional it once was.
Okay, so you don't believe me, go out and walk in my shoes for while. Just cut your head off and send over the rest of your body. Be prepared for a vanilla experience without any of the fun kinky stuff and above all – get ready to Yahoo*.
* Note to readers: I received no promotional consideration from Yahoo when writing this piece, though I am open and ready to discuss such consideration, provided it does not entail email of any kind.

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