Being disinterested: #5 on the list of sales killers

Disinterest is the funny/saddest thing about selling

Colin Pearce says disinterest is selfishness on legs

Talk about being disinterested!  I popped into a B-I-I-I-I-I-I-G name hardware store to price up a cordless drill. I approached the power tool desk and interrupted the salesperson placing price labels on placards at the rate of one per yawn. His store overalls were perfectly pressed, he wore his hair with a flair, he had spunky spectacles and swish loafers. He looked dashing. I asked him to point me in the direction of the drills, and that’s what he did: he pointed and said, ‘They’re somewhere down there’, and went on with his sticking.

Being disinterested is theft

When you are disinterested in your customers, and your job, you are a wages thief. Asking to be pointed in the right direction is known as a ‘buying sign’ by the way. You’re supposed to take the hint and lead your buyer to the exact spot and ask if there’s a question you can answer and even ask the buyer some appropriate drill-use-type questions and believe it or not, get the sale.

Being disinterested is selfish

Later I approached a woman in a sales outfit, puffing a bit and taking a glug from her juice bottle. I gave her a bit of cheek about consuming suspicious liquids on the job, and she came back with a retort about not sharing any with me. I asked her to tell me about the best drill for my purpose. She got right to it. She asked half a dozen questions knelt down to the lower shelves, clambered up to the top, peeked and poked behind boxes and encouraged my choices. I got what I needed. Mid-stream the first man approached and announced he was off for a smoke to which she only responded with a sniff and I muttered to her, ‘Bubba don’t know diddly.’

She made a growling sound and snorted, ‘Tell me about it. We’re short staffed today so his manager sent him to me. Now it’s worse than if I had no help at all. He likes being on the checkout desk where he doesn’t need to know anything. He hates being moved so he’s putting on a pout.’

Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand. (Bodie Thoene)*

Being disinterested is destructive

‘Bubba’ had robbed my salesperson of her joy at work. He’d dulled the atmosphere. He’d become a distraction. He put me off as well. And it appears that his manager and the other team members are supposed to put up with him, carry him, cover for him and compensate for him. Charming! I think If I were his boss I’d be fairly disinterested in paying him.

People get disinterested in selling when:

  • they have more personal hang-ups than a cave full of bats (poor hiring decision),
  • when they are socially and emotionally immature and inept (poor hiring decision),
  • when things in their life outside work go pear-shaped (poor HR care),
  • when they are harrassed and or bullied (poor management),
  • their efforts are not recognised or rewarded (poor management),
  • there is no team spirit (poor management),
  • they don’t get any feedback (poor management),
  • they hear others getting negative feedback (poor management),
  • they don’t have the right tools or know-how to do the job (poor management).

Ooh! Look! It’s all about management!

So what do you do?

If you’re in management with disinterested salespeople, get some help. [Hello-o-o-o-o. I’m available. Look this up.]

If you’re disinterested in selling, there are plenty of jobs where you don’t have to sell or deal with people. Do yourself a favour. Life’s too short to be disinterested in it.

Put your people through my online sales training course. Check here.

Oh, and pease leave a comment below.

*Readers Digest Jan 93 pp64

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic or comprise 'ambush marketing' and/or SPAM.

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5 thoughts on “Being disinterested: #5 on the list of sales killers

  1. Hi Colin.
    A genuinely typical event!
    Once inept “passenger employees” come to realize that the ultimate transaction to occur is the transfer of money from our pocket to theirs, then hopefully the light will be turned on.
    It is for reasons akin to your story that I only go to a smaller brand hardware chain where I actually have staff approach me to provide good service.

  2. Hi Colin hope you’re well!
    A good read as always, although I do think it was very unprofessional of the woman who served you to talk badly about a colleague to a customer. Her concerns should be raised with management – customers don’t want to be involved in that stuff. Even when, like you, they initiate a conversation along those lines. Smile, stay professional, don’t trash your colleagues to a customer, and get on with the sale.
    Regards Gary

    • Thanks Gary. Disinterest flies under the radar doesn’t it. Bullying, cheating and manipulation get the headlines while plain old disinterest simmers away on its own slow burner. As for the comment, on reflection as the initiator, I should have withheld my opinion. Thankfully, there’s always next time. (At least I wasn’t disinterested)

  3. Dear Colin
    Yes that was a good read . The same happens where I am in schools We can not discount our customers and clients; the parents and children. Enjoy them

    • Thanks Murray. The causes are universal and I hadn’t thought about teaching particularly but I guess there are many more causal factors in your field than just management, but in the end that old buck has to stop somewhere. Wishing you well.