Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Dangers of the "Walk-In"

Their first goal is to sell you something, the sooner you accept that, the sooner you save yourself trouble down the road.

Well, the posts have been scarce and for that I apologize. Still realing from the Patriots loss I guess... Whatever, the Tour of California awaits to cheer me up.

You're in your office, store, place of business and someone walks in, looking to "speak" with a employee about your business. This individual uses some trendy buzz words, acts like they know your business, you sign something, and they are gone. A few months later your bills have sky-rocketed, you cannot track down the person who said they could give you the world, and basically, you are S.O.L.... Ladies and gentlemen, you've just been hosed.

This happens all too much and it is sickening. A sound business owner should always be very skeptical if a salesperson comes in and requests that you sign something THAT DAY! Why would you want to alter your business and take the advice of a person you just meant and does not know diddly-squat about your business? Thus, the importance of building relationships with your suppliers, clients, vendors is one of the most crucial aspects of business. So, here are the Small Biz. Guru's First Line of Defense Tips to avoid being "hosed":

Issue 1: "They Don't Know Your Business, But They Want You to Buy Their Product!!"

  • An individual walking in for a "cold visit" has the intentions of selling you something that day. They want to make money, regardless of the benefit to you, because most likely, you will not track them down later.


  • If this person raises your awareness on something, tell him/her thank-you and to leave some contact information to reach them later (most likley not). Do not sign anything from a person who just introduced themselves for the first time.
    Why are they all of a sudden qualified to consult you on your business?
    After you see the salesperson off, you contact your vendor. We'll use the example of telecommunications. Vendors come in / call all the time saying they can reduce your bill. If you think there is some truth to that, pick up the phone and speak with your representative. They know your account. They know you. Most importantly, if you have the relationship, they will tell it to you straight and not try to dupe you.

Issue 2: "It's a Free Upgrade.."

  • This unfamiliar face states there is a deal for a free upgrade on your service. Big no-no. Nothing in life is ever-free. These people sucker you in with promotions that last for three months then your bill kicks up 50%.... YIKES!


  • Once again, take their information, and call your vendors and see what they say.

Issue 3: "They laugh at your bill"

  • They look at your bill and laugh. "You're paying too much. Sign this and we'll fix you right up"


  • This person does not know your set-up. For what your business is trying to do, it could be the ideal set-up. The lowest cost is not always the best way to do business. Remember, you get what you pay for. However, you could be paying too much, but it could be your fault. How often are you in contact with your vendors? While they monitor your account, your business could be evolving and your current business model is not adapting properly. Also, there could be new alternatives. Having a relationship with people involved with your business is the only way you will be successful long-term.

Overall, be smart about cold-sellers walking into your building. Build the relationships with your providers / vendors so when you have questions you can contact them and not the sleazy salesperson that walks into your place of business recommending solutions to you without knowing your business. Remember, they walk in trying to sell you something that day.


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