Saturday Free-For-All: The Marketing Idiocy of Penguin Windows

by Trish

So, we let a Penguin Windows rep into our home yesterday. Big mistake. What was supposed to take 90 minutes took 4 hours. I like the product, no beef with it. The price: ridiculous. The sales process: full-on high-pressure sales.

We were asked to sign up for 50,000 dollars worth of windows on the spot. Oh, but we could get a discount if we bought right away, so the deal kept getting better. Still, 40,000 is not something I have just sitting in a easy access checking account. And, if I did, why would I plunk my hard-earned money down after a four-hour presentation? No. Talk about slick.

I have no beef with the product; just the tactics.

Plus, the sales guy had no idea that I had him pegged right from the start. When he sat down on my couch and asked “do you have an hour or so to spare?” I knew were in for it. I should have shown him the door then. But I’m nice (too nice) and I wanted to see how this would come down.

What happened:

1. He broke every rule I have about permission marketing in the first hour. You don’t interrupt your prospective client’s day with needless delay, you don’t make them conform to your stupid rules just to make your sales process easier (and your numbers look better), and you don’t use fear tactics. Yep, within five minutes, we had a sales guy using all of that on us. I got mad.

2. He continued to break those rules over and over and over and over again. By the middle of it, when I informed him that we pay cash for everything and we did not have the cash to do anything immediately, he said over my words, “well, I have to run these numbers by you so that my manager knows I did it.” NO, YOU DO NOT! We told you first thing: we were not buying, we were pricing. But our request was ignored.

3. He had a cold and snorted his way through the presentation. I’m sorry, but that’s disgusting. Get well, then do your sales. I am not in the mood to sit in your aura of germs, thanks.

4. He made me feel guilty for not buying. Um, no. You are selling to me and you need to make me feel good about my decisions. This is my house. You are my guest.

5. He joked that I would change my mind once I found out his “final numbers” or heard about his promos. Whatever. By that time, I just wanted him out of my house.

Moral of the story: It’s unfortunate that Penguin can’t see past their own sales process to hear their customer needs. I would love a showroom to look through. I would love to be able to get a price quote in 20 minutes without the full-on sale pressure. I would love them to ask me to contact them when I’m ready, rather than send out someone to talk crap at me for FOUR HOURS.

A person can dream. The product is fabulous, but we’ll be taking our window business elsewhere.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary February 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Uh, well, maybe it’s just me (LOL!) — but I would have felt absolutely no qualms about showing the guy the door after the clock moved past 2 hours. Unless I was seriously able and ready to buy.

No offense. But I think one reason incredibly rude sales people do such stuff is because WE, i.e., potential customers, sales leads, “marks,” whatever, let them get away with such stuff.

I also have no problem when I get telemarketers or phone survey people simply saying, “No thanks, I’m not interested,” and hanging up.

No excuse, though, for the incredibly rude, high-pressure BS of the sales guy.

realbrilliant February 7, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Hi, Gary, well sure, you try to get him to leave. I’m not the first one who has not been able to make a Penguin Windows sales guy budge. I was thinking about threatening him, but we just kept moving him along. He still did not leave. Just to say, easier “said” than done. I’m not a pushover either. I’ve been doing sales since I was 17 years old! But this guy was tough to shut down.

realbrilliant February 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Another thing: a bit of false pretense. He said 90 minutes to get in the door, he then did an “energy” inspection. We got a 25-dollar gift card from GI Joes out of it, but I’m spreading the word. Don’t give them your info and don’t let them in your house! No matter if they “promise” it will only take a minute. They are lying.

Doug February 9, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Ha! Had a similar incident with a guy selling us a water softener. We set-up the appointment, so it was our own doing, but it dragged on and on. At first he was entertaining, it was like a magic show. He turn our water different colors to show all the bad things it contained. At the 1 hour mark, we kind of pushed him to wrap up. The upshot was his system was $3,700.00 We bought one, installed, through Sears for less than $700.00 — though we did get the free show.

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