Friday, November 06, 2009

What's your excuse?

You may or may not know that I am one of those irritating people that jump in front of you with a clip board and a cheery grin in attempt to stop you shopping and sell you something! Probably the most competitive and fiercely fought arena in the direct selling game is energy - gas and electricity that is. For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, I currently find myself attempting to impede shopper’s progress within the mighty Marks and Spencer emporia in an effort to lure them away from their present energy supplier so that I can gain myself a pound or two to spend on wine and a good time! Fortunately for my colleagues and me, we are considered to be at the top of the tree in utility sales with sales persons from all of our competitors queuing to jump ship and join us.
Spending eight to ten hours on your feet spouting the same mantra time and time again can be a little boring, so we often indulge in little games to lighten the mood between sales pitches. Our favourite pastime is to list the most frequently used excuses we hear when people wish to avoid being stopped. We make a bet on which we think will be the most used phrase that day and put ticks against a list which we keep under the counter!
I thought you might like to view the current chart positions of the most used excuses and see where you fit into our top ten!
10. You are all the same. Ok so there is not a lot to choose between us but we are hardly going to admit it and we really are very nice people.
9. I’m happy where I am. Under the false impression they have the best deal
8. Sorry, I’m in a hurry. You see them accelerate as soon as you make eye contact!
7. I could do with some energy! The favourite quip of elderly people with walking difficulties who think we’ve never heard it before!
6. I’ll come back tomorrow. Oh yea!
5. I'm on my lunch break. Probably the only valid reason for not stopping we hear -assuming that is that they are in fact on a lunch break.
4. Too much hassle. Our system is hassle free whilst most are not, so it’s understandable that some people believe it to be. If only they’d listen...
3. Got to get back to my car before the meter runs out. I always offer to pay for another hours parking just to see what they say!
2. I've got a credit card thanks. The second most popular reason to rush on by, even though we are not selling credit cards! Remarkable since we stand in front of an enormous display unit clearly advertising our product!
1. My husband / wife / partner deals with it. By far the most used excuse which falls apart when a few minutes later they walk past together and have to find a different excuse!
The other things we look out for are the visible yet silent actions people take to avoid talking to us. It really is terribly funny and blatantly obvious.These are the most used four.
4. Look at their wrist watch as they walk past
3. Take a diversion just before they reach us then pop out again a few metres further on!
2. Look over their shoulder as they approach (and invariably bump into someone!)
1. Press a cell phone to their ear and pretend to be having a conversation.
Fortunately a lot of people do engage us in conversation, in fact half a million folk have come on board since we launched 10 months ago making us the biggest success story in the industry. Most are polite, many are unbelieving and quite a few are downright rude. But the vast majority who take the time to listen do sign up and invariably come back and thank us a few weeks down the line, and that makes it all worthwhile.
So, what’s your excuse?


  1. Ha ha I used the look on my watch one and I am in a hurry. I had to promote our computer courses on a fair and we had some of these as well. I grew up in a sales environment though so I am a little used to it

  2. Very interesting observation Keith, jolly good past time studying customer behaviours?

    I'd definitely glance, smile and say "No, Thank You"

  3. I will gladly send you a few punds to buy wine. There is no need to go begging up business in the street!

  4. Quite right Mr Hillman you have been blessed by being the centre of attention. I do hasten to add a few punches may have been missing out of that top 10........Oh yes true ....... I do know how annoying fuckers like that can be with their whimpering and sniffering and constant whinges of selling you this and that.......OHH and the incesant complaining about ya family being bald or something worse.........being still alive.......Oh we do feel a tad sorry for you Mr Hillman.......and in due course ........Karma will find its way back ...........maybe this morning...a phone call at some ungodly hour perhaps............



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