As a sole proprietor with no staff other than my own little lonesome, I find myself in an uncomfortable no-man’s land place when it comes to running my business like a business. Things like marketing budgets are usually determined by percentages of gross receipts or a percentage of a single customer’s value over the lifetime of their relationship with you as a customer.
This means that a realistic marketing budget for me — for most of us — is pretty small, as business marketing budgets go.
The other day, I got a call out of nowhere from the company that puts the ads on the shopping carts.
Here’s where I get cranky: I asked if they couldjust e-mail me their rate sheet. Yes, I have expressed interest in exploring this venue for advertising, but I also know that most advertising costs are either completely out of my league, or not really a good deal for me. It would save both of us so much agony if I could just see their rates and decide if I want to continue from there. No dice — of course. I have to let the sales rep come by to speak with me in person.
And he did. And I had to put aside my lunch so the he could spend 15 minutes repeating the name of the company and asking me if I knew how to say it with a Texas accent. WTF? Really dude?
After cutting his pathetically annoying little slide show on his iPad short and explaining to him that this was not my first rodeo so cut to the chase please, he proceeded to whittle his prices down from $2,400 per six months to approximately $1,300 for an entire year. Which is not a bad price, but this is why you shouldn’t send me a sales rep. I wanted to know what it would cost so I can weigh it against other local options and consider it for the future.
I was never going to sign on the dotted line and give this guy a check for a deposit before he left my business. The smell of desperation that he emitted did nothing to help his case either. Nor did his constant, “I understand. You see those prices and you have sticker shock. You can’t afford that price, but don’t worry because today I’m authorized to give you a discount so we can get that price down to...”
Really dude? Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t need a sales rep to totally gloss over the information I’ve offered when I say I’ve been in business for 20 years and that I’m 90% booked and then tell me that he “understands” that I “can’t afford” what is really a pretty mundane advertising rate.
Um. No. I’ll tell you what I can’t “afford,” and that’s wasting my time listening to an antiquated salesman archetype who still treats female business owners like tittering Avon ladies from the 1950s.