If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they'd punch you in the face

(Title via Hugh MacLeod.) Yesterday, I got a phone call. I get a lot of phone calls offering me various outlets for advertising (for the photography business), some more suited to me than others. This one seemed like something I may be interested in, so I heard the guy out.

The initial spiel took a little long, but overall it wasn't a bad opportunity. It did, however, cost more than I wanted to put into advertising for the year. Most of my business comes from word of mouth referrals, or internet searches that land folks on my blog. I book consistently with next to no advertising, so buying ad space isn't high priority right now. I told him that it's something I couldn't commit to right now, but thanks for calling.

He gave me the "act now, supplies are limited" line. Sorry, not right now. He says maybe he hasn't showed me the value, but no, I get it. Limited number of competing listings, high search ranking, I hear you. He asks what's keeping me from signing up right now, and now I'm starting to get just a little bit irritated. I tell him that it's just not in the budget for this year, and he counters with "See, when people say that, what they usually mean is..."

I tell him it means I'm not signing up. But, thanks. Really.

I know, the guy is doing his job. Hell, I've done his job. Tech support for most companies is just an excuse to try to sell you something at every turn, whether you need it or not. I don't fault people for using certain sales techniques - they're effective. But nobody appreciates the hard sell. Give me the information, give me your "10% off if you sign up right now", but don't badger me. After the fourth "No, thank you," I'm running out of polite ways to get you off of the phone. If I ever was considering buying your product, chances are slim now that I associate your company with being harangued by your salesperson for 15 minutes. This is why I usually let sales calls go to voicemail.

It's easy to forget (especially over the phone, or the web) that you're talking to a person. I mean, would you buy from you?