Don’t be the guppy

The ‘Piranha’ is an omnivorous (eating both animal and plant foods) freshwater fish that inhabits South American rivers. Fortunately, we as Canadians have little to fear from Piranha, the fish. Unless of course you’ve just booked your family a discounted trip at some unrated beach front resort along the Amazon River.

However, we do have Piranhas in our midst, and they look nothing like the intimidating creatures made famous by the reality documentary ‘Piranha 3D’. The Piranhas in our society generally source their prey by phone, and with a voice as soft and elegant as any member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will begin their conversation with, “Hello! I represent Willy’s Window Replacements, or Ralph’s Roofing Restauration, we have a sales rep in your area, and we’re looking to . . .”.

That’s when you say, “I’m sorry, we’re not interested”, and hang up. I know, it’s difficult as a polite society to cut somebody off in mid-sentence, especially a potential member in good standing of a church choir. But, for your own safety, and best interest, you’ve got to do so. And, you’ve got to be firm in your follow through, because the Piranha on the other end of the line will keep talking, regardless of what you say, and never loosen its bite on you.

To make hanging up easier, visualize the person on the phone for what they are, a horrible, large-headed, jagged-teethed creature that is genetically driven to devour you. Or, watch the entire Piranha, Piranha3D, Piranha3DD, triple set series.

What’s the danger in allowing further contact, or inviting these out of town contractors into your home? First and foremost, your home was not chosen because you’re special, are deserving, or are so revered by the home improvement sector that you alone merit special pricing on replacement windows. You were called because either your name and number are for purchase on a telemarketing list, your home is situated in an area of affluence, or you reside in an older neighbourhood where renovations are likely required. In other words, you’re a guppy.

Local retailers rarely use telemarketers to generate business. So, you can pretty well be assured this company is an out of town force that has one thing in mind, to get a deposit out of you, lock you into a high-priced contract, then have you at their mercy when it comes to installment and further payment.

What about simply listening to what these guys have to say, or even getting an estimate, so you can compare them with some of our local retail people? If you think these people are hard to shake off the phone, try shaking them out of your home, or out of your office. The thing is you’re inviting a trained negotiator into your space. You may think yourself mentally tough enough to stay firm, and be focused, and not get suckered into signing their one time only, 20% off, all taxes in special, but it will be difficult.

I know, I’ve made the mistake of agreeing to listen to several of their 15 minute presentations. Only 15 minutes. Doesn’t sound like a lot of time to give a fellow human being, but then again, these guys are only part human. The introduction person on the phone is a genetically modified Piranha, while the sales person trained to entice and seduce you into signing a contract, is a Cyborg.

The sales person’s mission is simple. Read the script, wow the customer with a video, and don’t leave the meeting space without a signature. If the customer seems hesitant, pursue harder, push the fact your company is a multi-million dollar firm with thousands of satisfied customers (nobody that you will know, of course), and if all else fails, request to speak with someone of higher signing authority.

Again, don’t be the guppy. Shop and deal with the people who care, and who will go out of their way to make things right. Those are your local retailers and contractors.

Good building.

As published by the Standard-Freeholder
Handyman's Hints Standard-Freeholder Cornwall Ontario by Chris Emard

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