I'm actually kind of confused why this warrants a post-mortem given that I would hope that no one ever duplicates this sort of tactic in a legitimate business. Let the product sell itself, don't "become the customer's friend" in order to push it on them.
I don't know, I feel that way, too. I've been through long sales pitches, mall workers, even TV commercials . . . and I'm pretty sure the emotions I feel are not the ones they intend me to feel.
When I hear friendly pleasantries or "This is a special deal just for you" or "I just marked down the price 50%" or "Super exclusive supreme top-of-the-line product" or whatever, I'm supposed to feel . . . I don't know, flattered? Excited by the opportunity? That's not what I feel. What I feel is more like, "Don't insult my intelligence, you jerk." And maybe a little, "Don't pressure me to make a decision with insufficient research. Jerk."
I don't know, I generally like to think the best of people, but every time I've interacted with a salesperson, I've spent the entire conversation with the forceful emotional impression that they were insulting me and trying to take advantage of me. And I never buy anything from them.
But man, when the unwanted upsell starts . . . I politely say no, but I'm sure you'd be able to tell from my demeanor that I feel quite insulted.
But with my parents who I think are quite "normal" and live in my small home town, the vendors and pan handlers can smell fresh meat a mile away. It's not that they're stupid or gullible. It's just that when someone approaches and starts talking - they give them their full attention. And as per small-town courtesy you wait for a conversation to wind-down - which will never happen with these guys. They will literally never let you walk away until either you buy something or you "rudely" remove yourself from the conversation. It takes them a little while to get into that "city" state of mind where you realize that the best approach is to not get yourself sucked into a conversation in the first place.
It is Stockholm syndrome in miniature. I have seen people thank the salesman who has just roped them into buying unwanted, overpriced junk. Hell, I have even seen people thank aggressive panhandlers and wish them well.
And for the ones who push past that, well, annoying/ignoring the intentions of person you're selling to is sort of a jerk thing to do, so that mitigates the guilt a bit.
When you just wave the off and walk past you never enter the danger zone. Things get increasingly more difficult once you engage in conversation with them as they won't let you go unless you rudely quit and walk away, and most people don't want to do that. The logic goes that since you've already spent a while talking with them, spending your time and their time, why stop so suddenly and throw all that away unless you end up buying something to warrant the effort made. It's basically bullshit but that's how many people go about it: you either decline right from the start or end up "having to" buy something. It takes some strenght to break out of that pattern.
So if I see something offered that I need to buy and the price is attractive, I leave and wait for some time - again, depending on the sum in question it may be a day, maybe more. If after the wait the offer is still attractive - I take it. If after the pressure is off I discover the deal doesn't look as nice as it looked - I pass. If the salesman says "if you don't buy now, the deal is off" I say "it was nice talking to you, good bye". So far this rule worked quite well for me.
As for using it in business - it is used all the time. I've been subjected to it (to remove any doubt - in US, not Israel, and not by Israelis :) many times, and not only in the malls. It is being used because it works - you think people doing it do it for their own enjoyment? They do it because that's how they make the most money. Not my money, though :)
Every single smartphone maker in the world is listening
I have an aversion to anyone who is pushing sales onto me like this. Even if they were trying to sell something I would be really interested in, the method would cause me to avoid it.
Sounds like modern agribusiness.
This leaves open the question of why the OP approaced the salesman in the first place.
Thing is, techniques that work great on one type of person will repulse another, so it's perfectly normal for a nerd to be completely immune to a sales pitch targeted at a neurotypical. But that doesn't mean you can't be manipulated; it just requires different techniques. To believe otherwise is dangerous overconfidence.
>I'm actually kind of confused why this warrants a post-mortem given that I would hope that no one ever duplicates this sort of tactic in a legitimate business. Let the product sell itself, don't "become the customer's friend" in order to push it on them.
All co-location is sold this way. As are commercial real-estate leases... and most residential leases, for that matter. All of us, if we go into business, will have to buy products or services sold by those sorts of salesmen. Knowing a bit about how their manipulation works is the first step towards self-defense.
I mean, it's not usually unsolicited... but if you want to lease some co-lo? almost nobody except maybe some of the tiny nobodies list prices on the web page... and 90% of the time, those prices are not solid; they are significantly higher than the 'special for you' price.
If you want to lease bandwidth? same thing applies, only the difference between the first price you get and the 'special because you are my friend' price is larger. I'm paying 1/5 the 'list price' for my large Cogent pipe.
So... it should be obvious why you need to study this stuff. Well, obvious why I need to study this stuff; I blow through north of a hundred grand on co-lo, bandwidth, and other related fees every year; I'd bet money that I'm not within 20% of the lowest possible price, so yeah, it's worth quite a bit of effort to figure out how this bullshit works.
All that said, it is bullshit. I avoid it whenever possible. I build my own servers from parts, because you don't have to negotiate to get reasonable prices on parts, but you do have to negotiate to get reasonable prices on assembled servers. The negotiation effort is far greater than the assembly effort.
Really, I think this is one of the primary reasons "the cloud" seems so much easier to deal with than co-location. No negotiation, no dealing with the co-lo jacking up your rent every year. (Yeah, just like a commercial or residential real-estate lease, every time your lease is up, the rent goes up in proportion to how difficult the landlord thinks it is for you to move.)
I've tried putting 'real prices' on my website for things like bandwidth and co-lo (the bandwidth prices were really good, for the amounts I was offering. The co-lo prices were reasonable but not unheard of.) Almost no bites. I did get salesmen calling me up all over the place; for a 10% cut, they'd send me all kinds of customers.
So yeah... as far as I can tell? this is just how some goods and services are sold. As far as I can tell, the optimal move is usually to rearrange your life and your business so you buy as few of the products that require negotiation as possible; But eh, depending on your sector, well, this may be impossible. In that case? yeah, learning sales bullshit and negotiation is important, if nothing else, to defend yourself against others.
I mean, I've negotiated a fair number of co-lo deals. Probably more than your average person negotiates residential leases during their lifetime. But the person at the other side of the table? they are a professional. They do this all day, every day.
So yeah. Even now? I do sometimes come away finding that the professional has manipulated me into doing something stupid. For me? key is to not agree to anything in person; take it home, show it to a (more conservative... my problem is that I optimistically buy more for a lower unit cost and end up not using most of it.) friend, sleep on it, and then decide. I mean, I am in business and my conservative friends are not, I can't completely defer to them, but getting a perspective that is different from your own is super important, because sales manipulations that work on one type of person don't work on another.