Worst Sales Pitch Ever

My DH was a Kirby Telemarketer back in the day.  He rocked the house, often securing more “free” carpet cleaning appointments than his co-workers.  He’s a charmer, my DH, and a natural-born salesman.  He could charm a snake out of its skin, then sell it back for a profit and have the snake thanking him in the process.

The telemarketer who called me yesterday couldn’t sell a fishbowl of fresh water to a dehydrated guppy in the middle of the Gobi Desert.  

**Here follows a shortened version of our conversation for the sake of clarity.  These lines are verbatim without the extra condescension smack in the middle of the phone call.**

Him: Can I ask why you don’t want to renew warranty on your 2008 vehicle?

Me: Because it’s still under warranty.

Him, sarcastically: It’s expired.  A vehicle is only under warranty for three years.

Me, losing patience, of which I have times infinity: I would appreciate if you wouldn’t talk to me like I’m stupid.

Him: Well apparently you are.

Yep, he had me.  I simply could not subtract 2008 from 2010 and come up with three years like Boy Genius did.  Thankfully he pointed out the error of my thinking and charmed me right into renewing my warranty.  Not!

Just sayin’, but it might behoove us writers to learn a trick or two before peddling ourselves and our novels to the reading public.

Are you a natural-born salesman or does it take a concerted effort to put yourself out there?  How will/do you handle self-promotion when it comes to marketing yourself and your book?

Got any more What Not To Do stories for our learning pleasure?

24 responses to “Worst Sales Pitch Ever

  1. I wonder if they are even bothering to train most sales people now days. I had one telemarketer guaranteeting she could cut my mobile phone bill by 45%. When I asked how she could guarantee this without knowing how much I already spent, she launched into some random spiel about caps and the like which is when I hung up on her.

    • My guess is not. With technology the way it is, people have little need for actually communication. These telemarketers have likely grown up on chats, emails and now texting. What’s the point of honing our oral communicatioin skills?

      Telemarketing is a thankless job. It’s also a perpetuating cycle of pain. We hate telemarketers interrupting our time so we hang up. They get tired of getting hung up on so they get cranky. Even the sweetest victims will get rude when cranky telemarketers call and in turn…

      I wonder, was it the chicken before the egg? Whe got fed up first?

  2. Here’s a what not to do.

    Put an apostrophe in “Sales.”


  3. I’m horrible at selling myself! At the conference, on Friday night, they had a book sale for published authors. We were supposed to stand behind our books, which were displayed on long tables. It was so tight, we were shoulder to shoulder. I stood for about five minutes watching people either: A – ignore my book and walk away; B – touch the cover, then walk away; C – read a few pages, then walk away.

    I guess I was supposed to schmooze them but I couldn’t – I stood and watched. About five minutes was all I could take, so I left my post and wandered around. I repeated this ritual several times, hoping it’d get easier upon each return, but it never did, so I finally left to get a reasonably priced drink outside the hotel**. I’m a failure at self promotion 😦

    ** Don’t worry, two friends went with me so I wasn’t drinking alone 🙂

    • LOL, Lori.

      I fear that will be me someday. I’m the world’s worst small talker and I have a hard time saying Here, buy this of MINE. It’s great!

      Although my parents may beg to differ. As a child, my nickname was Mouth. I think it’s because I talked more than anyone else in our family. Doesn’t take much when they’re all introverted : )

      At least now I know: bring friends and money for a margarita!

  4. That sort of reminds me when a parents calls and they identify themselves.

  5. Okay, I am a total wet blanket, but my understanding is that the “year” a car is, is not quite what it seems. The 2008s came out in the fall of 2007, therefore, three years old by fall of 2010. He sounds like he was totally obnoxious, but he could be right about your warranty. 😦

    • P.S. That would not, however, give him permission to be a condescending and probably misogynistic ass who doesn’t deserve the commission anyway.

    • Layinda, the year a vehicle is made is the fall before–kind of like the fact that you can already buy the 1011 Writer’s Market.

      However, I had just gone over the mileage facts, etc with the first rep and since I just purchased my vehicle a little over three months ago, I know the warranty is not up until next year. He was a booger, plain and simple.

  6. Yikes – what a twit! Not exactly a way to get sales!

    I haven’t put much (okay, any) thought in about how to promote my book – but I’m really far from that possibility – I’ve got lots of time to learn from the experts.

    • When you find an expert, let me know. This is one area where I’d like to have a sit down with about 15 experienced authors who will tell me exactly what to do.

  7. Even if someone was mistaken, you don’t tell her she’s stupid. Not only is it unprofessional, it’s mean and rude. He’s going to have tough time making sales with an attitude like that.

    I’m shy and don’t like being the center of attention. I’m not thinking about the whole self-promotion thing and putting myself out there yet because it makes me nervous! So I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!

    • Another shy one. I just figure I’ve been building my bridge in the hopes that someday I’ll be able to cross it. However, the thought of actually stepping foot on something so tenuous as a swinging bridge across the Grand Canyon is a bit nerve wracking!

  8. Bet this guy has a non-sales track record, that’s for sure!

    I never get into these kinds of conversations with telemarketers, because when I answer the phone, they always say, “is your mom or dad home?”, to which I answer, very truthfully, “nope”. All’s well that ends well LOL

  9. unfortunately I’m a very bat saleswoman. I have no idea how I will handle self-promotion, considering how bad I’ve done so far (I do have published some graphic novels, and haven’t sold a copy because I can’t write a “press release” to send around)… sigh! I sure hope finding an agent will help… or I’m lost! 😦

    • Barb,

      So true. Self-promotion is a big deal and sometimes we are ill prepared for it. It’s always easier for me to advocate for somebody else than myself. So, maybe you can find others to help you promote so you don’t have to do so much on your own.

      You could host a writer and do a guest post on their blog for starters. And what about having links to writer books on your sidebar and reciprocating with others trying to self-promote? I bet you could also find a book on writing press releases or at least on online site that can help with that.

      Just some ideas. I hope it all works out!

      • thank you for the ideas… ideally I have a friend who should be able to write those press-thingy, but he’s sooo busy! Besides, I know the market of comic books and graphic novels is not the same for prose…
        Eventually I’ll work it out, I know I can do it! 🙂
        Thanks for the encouragement! 😀

      • While the market is different, we still have to work in much the same way.

  10. Omg, how rude. We should all take note, when selling our books, no matter grumpy or frustrated we get never call your potential audience stupid. I’m shaking my head in shock ;p

    As for selling our books, we could all pass each other’s books to one another, like kids do in grade school, until nobody has their own copy, then, we must read and promote whatever book we end up with. Since it’s not ours, we won’t have to feel awkard about telling the world how great we are, plus, it looks good when someone other than yourself is talking about your book, lol.

    But if that does’t work I guess I’ll have to do what I always do, fake it. I always tell my little sister this when we perform. I am one the shyest people I know and a severe introvert, but when I dance, I pretend. I pretend I’m confident, I pretend I’m comfortable with every eye in the room on me, and if I don’t remember the choreography there’s nothing left to do but continue on and fudge it. If you smile and hold yourself with confidence, people won’t notice what your hands or feet are doing. I imagine selling a book would be similar. Confidence is the key and if you don’t have it, learn to fake it.

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