Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lessons learned: Door-to-door salesmen and looking like a kid

On Monday someone came to our door (during dinnertime, no less) trying to sell us new siding. For free! “Minus your insurance deductible,” he kindly whispered.

We tried to ignore the knocking but after he came on the porch and saw me through the window our cover was kind of blown. First thing he says to me?

“Hi. Is mom or dad home?”

I guess I look somewhat young, maybe? But young enough to ask if my mom or dad is home? I’m not so sure about that, sir. Someday I will probably be thrilled to me mistaken for being younger than I am, but this time it sort of irked me.

His smooth-talking way with words (and his virtually silent sidekick) should have been the cue to close the door with a simple, “no thanks.”

Sure enough these fellas got us thinking, and we agreed to let them come back to take a closer look at our siding. We had a large hail storm in the summer of 2010 so several people on our block are having roofs and siding replaced. We’ve toyed with the idea, but haven’t given it too much serious consideration.

After they left Sean immediately took their business card and looked them up online. According to the Better Business Bureau, they had several complaints filed against them and a big red warning that the company is no longer in business anymore. Huh? Sure looked like they were (at least pretendng to be) in business to me.

After a little more research (and a lot more mostly negative reviews), we made up our mind. We may consider residing our house, but we won’t be doing business with these guys.

I called their office and let them know they didn’t need to come back out after all. “We’re just not in a position to have the work done right now, sorry,” I told them.

But it got me thinking about a couple of things.

First of all, the benefit of having places like the BBB and other review sites to rely on. If it weren’t for those, we probably would have trusted them openly. And would we have been let down? I don’t know.

In my job, we talk a lot about word-of-mouth marketing. It goes to show how powerful it can be, in both positive and negative ways. What happens if the majority of the people that speak out are actually the minority? It certainly helped us form an opinion about this company, but what if it’s not accurate or fair? I feel a little more compelled now to make more of an effort to leave reviews for companies or products we use—good and bad.

I also started thinking about whether I should’ve been more honest with them. The truth really is that we aren’t in a great position to get new siding (even if it does only cost us our deductible). We have a wedding to pay for! But if it weren’t for the information we found—particularly the BBB info—we probably would’ve at least heard them out. Should I have explained that to them? Do they have a right to know that this information is out there? Even more, should I have let them know that we did do our homework and that we’re not just going to sit by and let someone do work on our house without a little background first? 

1 comment:

  1. That happens to me all the time, too! People come to the door and ask if my parents are home, and I'm like, yeah, I own this house...
    So irritating!