Selling Techniques - Brilliant or Bollocks?

by 1:18 PM 24 comments

I want to try something different today. I'm not going to show you any makeup or my nails. I want to discuss something that happened to me the other day that has never happened before.
When you are browsing items or getting services done, when the staff try to sell you or up sell you products, I am used to the nice, polite "Oh this would look lovely on you" and "You must try this, it will complement your eyes perfectly." This is nice. I like being told I have fabulous eyebrows, nails, skin etc. Who doesn't? But have we gotten to the point where these attempts at flattery are no longer effective in making us open our purses and shell out for things we don't necessarily need?

I ask this because it seems that people have moved on to passive aggressive and just plain aggressive sales techniques.

Case in point, the other day I was getting my eyebrows threaded and the lady says to me "Do you want me to do the upper lip area? You have a bit of a mustache going on."

I shit you not. That's what she said. I would also like to say, I do not have a mustache, nor even dark hair above my lip that might suggest that. But I sure did get my lip done. How could I say no after that, I was so shocked and I certainly didn't want to be the girl with the mustache.

Have you ever had your upper lip threaded? Holy damn, I was so close to crying from the pain it wasn't even funny. So much worse then downstairs waxing.

Then not a few days ago, I had a lady just walk up to me randomly, I wasn't even looking at the makeup counter she was at and said "Hmmm, your eyebrows need a lot of work, I have just the thing for that". Seriously. I was really quite insulted. I quite like my eyebrows and have in fact gotten many compliments on them. This time I didn't buy the product out of shock. Having hair needlessly removed from your very sensitive top lip area will do that to you.

So what I want to know from you guys, have any of you experienced this? Is it just me or is the world getting bitchier. Sales staff with their claws out who manage to sell products by insulting the buyer? I saw it happen to another girl as well. She was so insecure about her own self image that she pretty much bought every thing the sales attendant told her that she needed.

Tell me your stories here. Did it work? Have you had this happen to you before, seen it happen to someone else? I'm very curious now. Is it just a Brisbane thing or is cattiness with a side serving of insult the new "Hi, how are you going?"

That's it from me today.
Be awesome to each other.

Bec

Makeup Artist

I am a fully qualified makeup artist who is internationally published, and I have worked with and been mentored by some of the very best in the business! Now I'm ready to share my tips and tricks, answer your questions and most importantly, help you make every makeup moment a memorable one.

24 comments:

  1. I haven't hit that in my area of Brisbane yet.

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  2. These type of sales assistants would not get my business, noooo way!!!

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  3. I would feel to embarrassed to go back there and then they would have lost my business forever.

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  4. I worked in retail for 6+ years at 3 different stores and I am very critical of good customer service. I think a sales person should greet you within 30 seconds of entering the store "Hi, How are you? Is there anything I can help you with today?". If they say yes, then you can help them. If they say no, you say "Okay, well please let me know if you need anything" and then leave them alone.
    I hate the whole fake flattering thing. We all know why they are telling us all of these nice things and it feels so phoney. Saying the same thing to every girl that walks into the store makes the comment lose its appeal.
    Luckily I can't think of an experience where someone insulted me when trying to make a sale. Good thing too because I would so tell them off. lol
    I did have a really annoying experience in Victoria Secret a few weeks ago. My sisters and I were looking at their makeup and within a 3 minute span (no exaggeration) we had 4 different sales ladies come up to us and try to push their product "Oh this one is my favourite", "Isn't this the best eyeshadow colour?". We basically left and refused to go back because we didn't want to be hounded anymore.
    On the other side, I hate when sales people don't give you any attention. Like when you are holding piles of clothing in your arms and they don't ask if you want to start a room or if they are on the phone chatting with a friend and seem annoyed that you are even in their store.
    Wow...this was quite a rant...lol...but I am a big stickler with customer service and it drives me nuts most of the time... :)

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  5. omg they told you you have a moustache! that would definitely not get me to buy anything, I would give the girl the dirtiest look ever and never buy anything in that store again!

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  6. Hi Kira,

    I would steer well clear of the YSL counter at Myer on Queen Street then and Brow Bar at Garden City. Where are you based?

    Bec

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  7. Hi Jadegrrrl,

    I def will never be bullied into buying a product I don't need ever again.

    Bec

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  8. Hi Lisa,

    I was mortified on both occasions. It wasn't until I went away that I realised that I had nothing to be embarrassed about, they should be ashamed of themselves. If I were a lesser person, I would have told you about the fact that she look like a three year old had painted her makeup on for her and that she had a monobrow herself. But I'm not, so I won't. ;)

    Bec

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  9. Hi Alicia,

    I totally get where you are coming from. I worked in hospitality for nearly six years and I would never, ever had said anything intentionally to hurt or insult anyone. Even now I don't do it unless I am being childish and they have done it first.

    I am normally all for honestly, so if I walked up to a makeup counter and my foundation was orange, I would appreciate a quiet "honey, maybe you should try this foundation, it will work a little better for your skintone." I'd be horrified, but if it was justified, I would appreciate the honesty because it would most likely be just as embarrasing for the sales person. But insulting for the sake of a sale, so not cool.

    I hate being hounded by multiple people, a quick greeting, a can I help, and a follow up later is all you need. I don't know what I hate more, too much help or being ignored. Actually, now I've said that - it's def being ignored. I have been known to drop piles of clothes I was holding on the floor in front of an assistant who has ignored me and to walk out of the store in front of them. Childish, I know, but it really gets their attention.

    I love it when people get their rant on. Makes me ok to do it too!

    Bec

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  10. Hi Justine,

    I will never, ever do it again. It was just the pure shock because that had never happened before.

    Bec

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  11. I would have been absolutely mortified and insulted if that happened to me. I'm quite insecure with my appearance, but luckily most of the sales assistants I've run across or asked for consults have been very polite and helpful when it comes to picking out products or clothing. One woman at Sephora was very nice about helping me match my foundation better(I'm very pale and I had trouble with using tones too dark) and I didn't feel insulted at all. That type of passive-agressive insulting would make me want to punch the salesperson in the face, not buy their product! You catch more flies with honey, as they say.

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  12. Hi Attackedastoria,

    I normally do not have self confidence issues, but the shock of it being told something like that by a complete stranger who is apparantly "in the know" is horrible.
    In a reverse to you, I have asked the girls at MAC to help me colour match a foundation and they wanted to sell me one that made me look like a muppet. I highly recommend that you take along a friend or relative who will give you an honest opinion when looking at foundation. It's so easy to feel obligated to by the foundation that they have said suits you, even if you know it doesn't. I know I have a friend who finds it hard to say no to products she doesn't need or like when a store clerk spends a little time with her.
    You are so right, compliments go so much further in my opinion too!

    Bec

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  13. not ok. not not not. i recently had a woman FORCE me into her chair, then make a list of things i needed to preorder. she was so pushy i was afraid to say no. so i gave her a bogus CC number and she has left me 10 messages! hello, take a hint!

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  14. Heya Jess,

    Not cool at all. It's sooo bad when you have to lie to get out of there! I've done the fake name, phone number thing with places too. I have another story related to this that I am planning on sharing tomorrow that happened to me on my lunch break today. I swear I am not going nuts, the bitch epidemic is spreading!

    Bec

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  15. I think women on beauty counters most often are a little bitchy. i remember when i was 15 and had just started my first job i went to buy loads of benefit makeup with my new cash and they all ignored me cause i was young. Phhhh. What happened to you has never happened to me, but i think id cry if it did!!xx

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  16. Oh my gosh! I would feel so insulted I wouldn't know what to do either! This is a good issue though, as I'm starting my first job in retail soon and would love to know about these kinds of things so I can avoid them! But certainly I would never be so passive-aggressive.

    And with the fake compliments, I must admit that sometimes I do get lured in. I know that SAs do have a sales quota that they have to reach and maintain so I know that they have to drive a sale somehow, just as long as the compliments aren't too over the top. And sound at least mildly genuine. I have been known to buy a top or dress simply because the SA said it went SOOO well with my body! And in fact, that kind of happened last weekend, but then again I've been on the hunt for a playsuit since two summers ago and I really couldn't resist the 1/2 price off so I didn't really need much complimenting anyway. ;)

    But yes, sometimes I do succumb to the "Oh that would be perfect with your shorts!" *blush* But haven't we all? A little complimenting goes a long way with our egos. We're human after all.

    Sorry, long thing here too. I also agree with Lo, I absolutely HATE it when SAs do that to me simply because I look young or I'm not dressed in ostentatiously extravagant clothes (at expensive clothing/makeup stores). Shopping is meant to be comfortable! I don't think I need to dress/be exactly like how SAs imagine their target customers to be just to buy something their store!

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  17. Thankfully this kind of situation has never happened to me, but I'm afraid it'll start to happen soon: at most shops I already find seller who completely ignore you if you're not dressed in "ostentatiously extravagant clothes", like Joan said perfectly, or sellers who approach you when you're still thinking about going inside the shop (yup, just thinking! I've already been approached by sellers when I was just passing by, but a little too close to the main door X__x). I still can't decide what's worst *sighs*

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  18. I can't believe that!! I only give out compliments if they are deserved, but then again, sometimes you can just tell that someone needs a pick me up! I don't work in retail, but I always try and compliment one person a day... stranger or not! I know how good I feel when somone goes out of their way to comliment me on my handbag, my eyeshadow technique, or just tell me my hair looks nice.

    Seeing as how I'm at it, I'd like to invite you to enter my 100th Blog Post give-away! I figure it will keep you out of the stores for a few days, because its going to be a good one!

    www.alluringbathandbeauty.blogspot.com

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  19. Hi Lo!

    Haha, I still have that problem now at the Benefit counters and I am 24. Lol. Oh well, their loss, I could easily spend a fortune there.

    Bec

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  20. Hi Joan,

    A little complementing does goes a long way. I think the best thing you can do is stick with honesty, and if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Even if I can't find anything I like about someones makeup, outfit, hair etc, sometimes you can compliment them on a facial feature like their cheekbones, their eyecolour or the shape of their nose. If you are honest in your compliments, and most people are aware if they have a really good facial feature, I think you are likely to make more sales. Make the customer comfortable with you and you should be fine.

    Bec

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  21. Hi Karina,

    It's a little crazy how snobby and rude sales assistants can be. A while back I was in the shops and the woman who was serving me was looking at me like I was scum. I had a few things to buy and it totalled quite a lot, at least a few hundred dollars. I pulled out my card, which happens to be a Visa Debit, and the woman looks at me and said, "It's so typical of your generation to buy things you can't afford. You young girls put everything on your credit cards because you don't bother to work hard to earn things." Yep. She followed that little gem with "Are you sure your limit will allow this purchase?". Ummmm...I work for the federal government, have a university degree and probably make about three times a year what she does. I just smiled and said "You know what, you're right. I don't need these things. I probably can't afford them because I probably have a really crappy job. Thank you soooo much." Then I went and bought them at the store across the road and wrote a letter of complaint to the department store.

    Bec

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  22. Hi Nail Crazy,

    You would not believe half the things that happen to me.

    Bec

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  23. Hi AB&B,

    That's super nice of you. I think everyone should try compliment one person a day. The world would be a much nicer place and everyones self esteem would be a little better too!

    I'll be over to check out your blog shortly.

    Bec

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