Sexist or Practical? The Two-Person Sales Pitch

A newspaper columnist in Detroit recently raised a question about a particular kind of sales pitch that initially seemed sexist. The writer was looking for a quote for home improvements, specifically window replacements. Each window company she called said they would only send a salesperson if her husband were also present at the appointment. “Single” appointments were available, but only at inconvenient times (mid-afternoon) that would require her to take time from work.

After doing a little more research, she found that other consumers had the same experience – but not just women. Men had also been told that sales appointments could only be set if their wives would be present. And the practice wasn’t limited to windows. Consumers also identified roofing companies, heating and cooling companies and other home improvement contractors that use the practice. The columnist’s view on the matter changed from being a “sexist” sales practice, to being a high-pressure pitch.

The window companies that would comment on the columnist’s sales experiences insisted that their approach was not sexist, but simply practical. Many homeowners will listen to a sales pitch, only to defer the decision to an absent spouse. (“Well, I’ll talk to my husband/wife about it and get back to you.”) To avoid that, the companies would only offer the sales pitch if both decision-makers were present.

While the tactic isn’t sexist, it’s designed to put the buyers in an awkward spot. This approach is likely to trigger uncomfortable discussions between the buyers, pit the buyers against each other, or force the buyers to reveal information that they don’t want to disclose. And in the end, it puts pressure on the buyers to make an immediate decision without considering other options.

At Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating, we offer our product information to anyone who is interested! We understand that sometimes, it’s more convenient for one homeowner to hear the sales presentation and relay the information to their spouse or another decision-maker. We also know that replacement of a major heating, cooling or plumbing system in a home or business sometimes can’t wait, and that’s enough pressure to make a purchase decision! When a new system is a choice, every available option deserves some careful consideration.

Don’t get us wrong: we’ll always take an immediate answer, but we don’t expect one right away! We’re homeowners, just like our customers are. We don’t like being on the receiving end of high-pressure sales pitches, so we don’t treat our customers like that.

If you’re looking for information about replacement options for your heating, cooling or plumbing systems, but don’t want a high-pressure sales pitch, give us a call at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911. We’ll lay out your options, costs and provide information about financing, rebates and tax credits that may be available to you.

Photo Credit: penywise, via FreeImages.com