Have you ever come across a salesman that was just so good that you forgot you were actually being sold to? When the Kirby salesman came to our condo in 2010, he did such a great job demonstrating the demo that I had to have one. He went on and one about the features & benefits:
- Kirby vacuums are made entirely of metal, they are real tools instead of your plastic toy vacuum.
- All Kirby vacuums come with a lifetime warranty.
- The Kirby had two motors so the sucking power would never be degradation like other vacuums that only ran on one motor. One motor is used to propel or drive the vacuum, while the other is used to suck up all the nasty stuff on your floor.
- The Kirby wasn’t just a Vacuum, it was also a shampooer.
- The Kirby also had other attachments that would allow you to clean all kinds of flooring: carpet, hardwood flooring, tile, etc.
- This beautiful hunk of medal could even spray paint (the only feature I have yet to use)
As he went on with his pitch and demonstration, I can’t help but remember some of his catchy phrases, when preparing the vacuum for cleaning:
“Red on red and you’re ready to remove the head”
“Green on green and you’re ready to clean”
Those little jingles do stick with you and make it easier to explain to people how to use the vacuum. Yes, I know, it should be intuitive to use a vacuum.
I remember my mother in-law borrowing the vacuum one time and it required me to spend a full 10 minutes to give her the rundown of how to operate the thing. She wanted to use both the vacuum function as well as the shampoo function.
When she returned it she told me how hard it is to push the beast back and forth while using it. She forgot to put Mr. Kirby in Drive. Yes, it’s a lot harder to effortlessly use it when you leave the thing in neutral.
But I digress…
The final demo, before the close, was the salesman telling us about all the bed mites and dead skin that built up in our mattress over years. He showed us how we could use the Kirby to suck up all those nasty mites and dead skin. I was completely grossed out by the pictures he showed me and had to have one.
I am sure there are a ton of details I am leaving out as this was a 2 hour sales pitch and product demo. But my memory is a little foggy since it was over 5 years ago. Let’s just say he had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Up to this point it was a very soft sell. In reality the first 90 minutes was really just a demonstration and transfer of his product knowledge (extremely polished and rehearsed).
Then came the Hard Selling Tactics:
- Urgency – You can only buy this from a distributor and we are not sure if and when we are going to be back in your neighborhood.
- Scarcity – We are offering a special price tonight only. So even if we were back in your neighborhood one day, you won’t get the same price again.
- Exclusivity – I think both 1 & 2 cover this one as well.
Still no mention of price.
He then proceeded to ask me the following questions:
- What do you do for a living?
- You must make pretty good money for your age, right?
- Do you own or rent this place?
- Either way, you want to keep this place nice right?
Again there were other questions he asked, which I am pretty sure were just qualifying questions so he could decide where to start on his offer.
Basically he was trying to gage how much of a sucker I really was. And boy was I the biggest sucker that night. At this point I was getting tired, I was worn down, and was sold that I needed that vacuum.
I look back on this situation and just laugh at myself, because there is no way I would ever do something like this today. I research every product I buy and grind the price as low as possible. I have a rule to never buy anything over $500 on the spot. Plus these days I tell anyone that comes to my door that I am not interested. I don’t even know what they are selling.
And one more thing before I get to the price that I finally paid. At the time, we were living in a 1,100 sqft condo with only about 300 sqft of carpet.
The Close & The Cost
The salesman finally delivered the price of Mr. Kirby.
He said something to this effect: “So here is what I can do for you tonight, I can give you the vacuum, all the attachments, extra bags, and shampoo liquid. All this for the same price as I normally sell just the vacuum itself. I can do it for $2,800.”
Holy Crap! (I said that out loud.)
That is a lot of money to pay for a vacuum. He then went on to explain that this wasn’t like any other vacuum. This would be the only vacuum that I would need for the rest of my life. Plus, you said you make good money, so it’s not that much in the grand scheme of things right?
He was now playing to my ego. If I said yes, then I would seem like a baller right? Well, at least in my head. But I was determined to get something from him before I said yes.
I proceeded to tell the salesman that it wasn’t about the money. I could write him a check right then and there on the spot. This was the truth but not really something I really wanted to do.
He explained that if I was willing to do that, he would be able to knock $200 off the price.
I then told him that I really didn’t want to pay for it up front, but I wanted the lower price. Then he offered a payment plan with financing (with something like 6-8%). I proudly told him that I don’t pay interest, I only earn it.
In all honesty, I was trying my best to get myself out from buying the vacuum. And it almost worked!
Then in a last ditch attempt, he asked me what it would take for me to buy the vacuum that night. I thought to myself, “What is an offer that he won’t be able to do?”
So, I told him that I would be willing to buy the vacuum tonight if he could drop the price to $2,000 and give me 0% financing for 6 month.
He had to call his supervisor to get approval for the deal. At least that is what he told me. He came back saying the best he could do was $2,200 with 0% financing.
Somehow I thought that was a good deal and agreed to the counter offer.
Let’s just say I was sold that day!
That purchase would go on to help form my own philosophy on price. That being that the price you see is not the price you pay.
– Gen Y Finance Guy