Today was a bad day.
For the first time in my life, I'm selling something that is free. My gosh! Who wouldn't want to sign up for something that is free?
Well, it's not exactly free.
The "buyer" must commit to being at home when an estimator comes by to give a cost to that person for a service. That is the only commitment the "buyer" has to make. And even if he or she isn't at home when the estimator comes there will be no penalty. That person will lose respect for not keeping his or appointment, but other than that, that's about it!
I worked five hours today offering free estimates in a major department store. I talked to over 100 people, and I didn't get one person who wanted an estimate. Not one!
This was one of the first times I felt like crawling into a corner and having a good cry. Is it the economy? Am I coming on too strong, too weakly? Do I fall apart when people are about ready to say yes? Is there not enough time to build up trust with the strangers I talk to? Am I ugly? Do I speak too loudly, too softly, without enough authority or enthusiasm?
Oh, I got a number of legitimate excuses not to take advantage of this offer, but surely, one or two humans out of a hundred would not have an excuse. And some didn't. In so many words, they told me to get lost or totally ignored or avoided me.
I heard from other sales persons today who also sold nothing, and they were very disappointed, too. But there were others who gloated over their sales today. But I was different from each of these types. I was giving away estimates at no charge.
Maybe people are too busy today to commit one hour for someone to show them something that could make their lives better, could save them money, and could make better use of energy resources.
This was a big weekend of sales in my store. People were buying school clothes, bathing suits, shoes and summer dresses. Maybe folks' minds were on these sales instead, and weren't ready to think of more than one thing at a time.
So tomorrow I go to work and try again to market a free service that surely a couple people might be interested in exploring.
Meanwhile, tonight I ponder about what it takes to influence people, whether you are selling mittens, a party, an economy, a political point of view or peace and tranquility itself.
Seems that we haven't done too good of a job selling peace either. War sells much better. In the meantime, we can give it away, if people will accept it.
Some offers are just too good to seem real. And for a country constantly at war, the idea of peace seems implausible. Maybe we need to have a big sale on peace...for a limited time only, however!
But that's another worry. Tomorrow I just want to have a few yeses in the work I do.