Four weeks ago I was telemarketed by a well known cosmetic company and invited to have a free facial to sample their anti-ageing products. It sounded like a good idea as I am getting to that time of life when the wrinkles are starting to appear but when I heard the store was located 40 minutes drive away, I declined the offer. A few days later I got another call. Again I declined because it was too far to drive and I had not got time. A week later I got another call from the same lady who was highly recognisable with her Philippino accent to invite me again. This time I was actually going to be driving for an appointment near to the store so I said “Yes”. (What was the sales lesson here?)
A Russian lady called Allana served me and explained in great detail her products whilst giving me the facial for well over an hour. She told me the products I had tried would cost $2,000 and to prove it brought the website shop prices up on the computer. As a person who never uses skin creams of any kind, I could hardly see the value in spending that amount of money. When I expressed my horror, the price came down suddenly to $750 after Allana removed a couple of products I might not need from the set she was recommending for me. (What was the sales lesson here?)I still was not convinced that the value was there so, to persuade me to purchase the products, she said “Look buy them now and if for any reason you are not satisfied with anything, make an appointment to come back and see me for another facial in 2 weeks. I’ll also give you our cleanser for an extra $50 instead of $100. It’s beautiful, made of coconut and avocado. I am not going anywhere and will be here to look after you. I will also refund your money if you decide not to change to other products we have, even though you have opened the products. Is that a fair deal?
Well, I thought so, paid $800 and went off home with the products. I was a bit worried that I could use the products and still get a refund so I asked her to write that in the notes against my purchase. She seemed to be typing and told me she was writing exactly what I had asked. I could have gone over to check but I had no reason to mistrust her at that stage and did not want to appear that I did.
The first day I came to use the face mask, I realised there were no instructions on any of the packaging. Allana had sent me an email with instructions but they were somewhat vague in very bad English. I put the mask on but I had no idea how thick it should have been. Then I tried the longevity cream. Well, I came out in perspiration wearing that and knew then the product was not right for me. As for the cleansing cream, it had no coconut or avocado content whatsoever (the only reason I wanted it in the first place). (What was the lesson here?) I rang to make an appointment with Allana and was told she was no longer there which then immediately made me suspicious I had been conned. I said I wanted to speak to the Manager and the lady who answered the phone told me she was the Manager and would be able to sort me out if I came in. Her name was Mary. On arrival I had made a decision not to bother trying any other products. It would be easier if I got the refund. I did not like the product I’d had anyway. However, Mary was very persistent that I should sit down for a chat about the situation and try some of the other products.
Lesson 4 and 5
The conversation got off to a bad start with “You know your glasses are dirty” she said. I was quite taken aback. As a sales trainer, I teach people to build rapport upfront by paying people a compliment not being rude to them. (What could she have said instead? Lesson 4)
A better comment would have been , “You’ve got a little mark on your glasses. Let me get a cloth and I’ll wipe it off for you.” Then she started to suggest some other products.
“No,” I said assertively, “I’ve made a decision that I would just like the refund I was promised please”
She said, “ I’m sorry we don’t give refunds once the products are opened. “
I said “”But Allana noted my situation in the computer, please check for yourself”
She checked and there were no notes in the computer at all. (At that point I realised I had been completely conned ). I said “Well, I am not leaving here till I get the refund.”
Mary said, “I don’t have the authority at this store to give you a refund “’
I said, “I thought you were the Manager, you clearly are not .” (I’d been conned again.)
So, I said “Who is the Manager? Can I have the name please?”
She said “ I am not allowed to give that out.”
(Now I am really getting annoyed)
“Okay”, I said, “where is your Head Office? I will call them from your shop.”
She gave me the number and I called the Customer Service Manager in Melbourne.
With whom am I speaking?
She said “ I am not allowed to give my name” (What was lesson 5 here?)
(“Oh my God “ came out of my mouth.”)
I told her the story and then she said “Well, we don’t give refunds. You can email your complaint to our office in America. Email it to me and I will forward it to them”.
Again, I said I needed a name to email it to?
“Just email it to support@____. com.au,” she said.
I was clearly getting nowhere and very frustrated by now.
Mary took me into the facial room determined to let me try another longevity cream that would not make my skin perspire. It was actually an improvement on the last one. She then proceeded to fill a bag with pots of skin care in that different range for me to take home and try to the same value supposedly as what I had paid but who knows? The pots of creams were much smaller .I figured I might as well take them home as it was unlikely I would get a refund. Guess what Mary then said?.
“Go home and try the products and if you still don’t like them bring them back for a full refund”
“But you said you don’t refund ,” I said.
“In this case, don’t worry, it’s me your dealing with, she said.
To my horror she kissed me on the cheek and hugged me. (What was lesson 6 here?)
When I got home I realised Mary had not put my receipt in the bag and one of the products I had paid for previously was missing. I would have to ring her next day to chase it. (What is the lesson here?)
Yes, she did send me the receipt back. I wrote a letter of complaint to the company 4 days ago but heard nothing back yet (What is the lesson here?)
I am not a person that tolerates lack of integrity and I have been aware of a number of sales people telling lies lately desperate to win the sale. I recommend you don’t do that because it undermines not only those of us who are honest in the profession of sales but also the sales industry itself.
Many customers are more on their guard around salespeople now. You need to sell the customer what is right for them so it is a win/win situation.
“People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”
N.B. This is a true story but the names of the people are fictitious . Sales Managers may use this for their sales team training.