I got called on by a sales person a few weekends ago. I was working in my driveway when a door to door salesman walked up and introduced himself.

He was selling solar power, with the hook that there are all kinds of incentives and tax rebates for going solar right now. A valid proposition and not out of the realm of interest for me, since I live in an area where the power bills easily exceed $500/month, because of all the rate hikes that we’ve been hit with in the wake of Hurricane Michael over two years ago.

Because I’m a sales nerd, I listened to his initial pitch and it wasn’t bad. He had a clear attention hook (squirrel statement) in his opening two lines. He got to pain quickly and with highly relevant pain, and he even opened with some version of a time qualifier. As quickly as I dismiss those who prospect me who don’t have any of those things, I was actually impressed with the basic process he was following.

After hearing out his initial pitch, I informed him that while I wasn’t opposed to looking into this, I was simply not ready, since I had 2 large ticket items for the house that were higher on the priority list than dealing with switching to solar.

And that’s when he went from trained to untrained, because just like that, he went into Auto-Dump mode. He proceeded to keep talking, faster and faster, switching back and forth between rapport building chit chat and feature and benefit spouting, in nor particular order or sequence. He reminded me of the scene in the Terminator 2 when the T-1000 gets dropped in the lava and just randomly switches back and forth between disguises as a last breath effort to survive.

The Auto dump is a bad reflex. A terrible sales habit caused by not having an “out” process. A process for when you need to work your way out of the sales call. Now, you might be thinking that he was trying to save the call, and that’s a good thing. My answer is that he needed to save the potential sale, at the expense of the sale in the moment. I’m a prospective customer for him, I’m just not a prospective customer for him RIGHT NOW. My no was “no now, not no forever” but if his response is flailing to maintain the sale, that tells me he’s only in it for the quick buck, and it lowers trust for potential future business.

Don’t flail your way out of sales calls. You know going in that some of them are not going to move forward. Have a plan for working your way out in the same way as you had one for working your way in. In this case, something along the lines of:

“Totally get it. Do you have a time frame for knocking out those other two big ticket items? I think we’re really competitive in this field and I want to make sure we are one of the options you consider when the time is right. When should I make a note to touch base?”

When you can tell you are not going to them to buy now, your new mission is not to ruin the chances that they will buy sometime down the line.