Last week, someone from Solar Home rang up and asked if we were interested in Solar Powered heating. Anyway, as we are interested in Solar heating, we had someone come round to visit yesterday. It wasn’t the best of evenings…
He arrived at 7:00PM– early enough to prevent us having dinner, meaning we’d have to wait until later to eat. Wouldn’t really have been an issue, except for the fact that he stayed until 9:00! He also managed to upset one of our next-door neighbours by parking in front of her garage, which really didn’t impress her (murphy’s law: if you choose one garage out of five to park in front of, someone WILL want to use that one and not one of the other four). Still, you just shouldn’t park in front of garages really and gone somewhere else… the guy was fairly nice but to be honest hearing the guy have a bit of an altercation with our neighbour outside (after she’d come round and knocked on our door asking if we had a car parked there) did put a bit of a dampener on the evening.
Aaaaanyway. Like I said, the guy seemed to be nice enough, but he wasn’t a classic salesman: he didn’t exactly do much other than read through the booklet from Solar Home. It’s what my lecturers used to do, and it annoyed me then: I am perfectly capable of reading something myself! Don’t bother reading something out unless you’re going to add to it (in this case, phrasing what the booklet actually said in a slightly different way does not count as ‘adding to it’). Basically it took about an hour and a half to go through this booklet, at an agonizingly slow pace, when we could have gone through it in – probably – around half an hour. This is a tip for anyone doing this kind of work: just give me the information I need to know! Don’t read it out to me, I am perfectly capable of reading myself. Be brief, you don’t have to assume that it takes me five minutes to digest the fact that your workmen are certified (lunatics?) or whatever.
The worst was yet to come, however. I can take being treated a bit like an idiot (to be fair, I probably give that impression by looking gormless most of the time). The problems came when we started talking about pricing. The guy gave us three prices (one for using our existing hot water tank, one including a new hot water tank, and one including a new tank as well as linking it up to the central heating). The prices that he quoted us were more than we were prepared to pay, as of yesterday (the most expensive was around Â£12,000). We told him this. He then called up his boss, told him, and got us a new price. This actually happened a couple of times…
The thing is, we weren’t actually trying to drive the price down. We weren’t haggling. We were saying no – we just don’t have the money right now to pay for something like that, and I’m not prepared to go with the ‘pay monthly’ option (i.e., basically take a loan out with the British Credit Association or something like that). We managed to get the price down to less than 50% of what we were originally quoted, which is pretty impressive, without actually really trying to!
After his final offer, which we turned down (again), it was about 9:00 and I basically said that we’d reached an impasse, that it was late, and he should probably be going… which he did.
The whole experience has made me realise, though — I never want to have someone come round the house again on a sales-oriented call. It’s a waste of time, and at the end of it you get blackmailed into making a decision you potentially don’t want to make (i.e., “buy the product now or you won’t get this discount”). I understand that a sale is much more valuable to a company than someone saying “we will actually buy it at some point in the future” – but at the same time, we will go to green power in the future (Solar Power does look very good), and probably at full price, just not right now!
By the way, I should probably mention, I don’t want to cast aspersions on Solar Home’s product itself, we were quite impressed with it. This rant was more about the common methods used by sales peoples, as I’m sure it doesn’t just apply in this individual case!