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A few years ago, I posted about an experience I had at a Direct Buy sales presentation. To date, that post, and the couple I did as a follow up continue to be in the top 5 all time in both traffic earned and comments submitted.

Turns out, lots of people want to learn about Direct Buy before they go to a presentation. Lots of people want to vent their buyers remorse. And a few even want to defend their memberships. Every once in awhile, a person will email me personally to ask advice about how they can get out of their contract (as if I have a clue).

This by no means is proof that Direct Buy is “evil” or a “scam”, or even a “bad deal.”

The percentages make sense. Happy customers just aren’t likely to be searching for information on Direct Buy. And they’re certainly not as likely to voice their satisfaction in public forum–much (I’m sure) to Direct Buy’s chagrin.

This post is not another personal commentary on the company. For the record, I don’t really have an opinion about them. The deal wasn’t for us. I thought it would make an interesting blog post. I’ve moved on.

But today I got another personal email from someone (who did not leave their full name) that I found interesting and enjoyable to read on a number of different levels–the least of which has anything to do with Direct Buy as a concept or a company.

So I figured, if I liked it, I thought you might too. Here you go (I’ve changed employee names to protect the innocent but apparently um. . . ill-trained. And to avoid getting in trouble myself:

Dear Chris,
I was thrown out of a Directbuy sales presentation for what I believe to be asking too many of the wrong questions.

I have been a sales professional for the better part of 12 years and have dealt with every type of customer personality there is. Today, I got to be a sales prospect at Directbuy of Baton Rouge, La 14141 Airline Hwy. After having seen a TV ad for their service, I made a call and set up a visit for Saturday 6/19/2010 at 2pm cst.

Directbuy’s sales approach is very clever, and very, very structured. Directbuy grabs total control over the sales presentation.

Oh, before I get too far down the road, you need to know that when you visit them, you are going to get a sales pitch. I have nothing against selling especially since it’s what I do for a living. But the closest thing I can think of to describe their approach is that it’s like being invited on a 2 day weekend to a Florida resort all expenses paid, only to become a captive for a sales promotion.

You are only allowed to come by appointment, if married both husband and wife must come, and if you have children, LEAVE THEM AT HOME! As you might have begun to figure out, Directbuy wants you and your spouse to be under their control, without any distractions, for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

I am still ok with that.

There were many times when greeting my sales prospects I wished they had left their kids home, and that I had BOTH spouses present (to avoid getting the “I have to talk it over with my spouse” sales objection).

What happened today however came as a complete surprise and prompted me to write this review.

The issue I have is that the sales rep, Alan, was not properly trained to deal with questions that did not have a pat, scripted answer. He became increasingly frustrated that some of my questions (and his answers) made Directbuy membership appear to be less of a value than being represented.

Since the presentation was given to three couples in a group, he became concerned that the questions I asked, and the answers he had to give, could ruin his chance of selling either of the other two couples on their $4,790 membership plan.

Near the end of Allan’s presentation, he asked me about the price I paid for a front loading LG washer, steam dryer, and matching pedestal stands at my local big box store. I was supposed to say “$3,000 plus tax and delivery”, to which he was supposed to flip over his little sales pitch card showing that Directbuy members only pay $2,182 for the same set.

Only problem for Allan was that I answered, before the group, that I only paid $2,200 including tax, delivery, and set up!

He then tried to attack me personally by suggesting that “Directbuy isn’t for everybody… If you want to spend time hunting for deals then go ahead”.

To this I answered, “everybody is looking for a deal, that’s why I am here in the first place”!

This was all he could take! He called me and my wife away from the group, and ordered us to leave. I asked what the problem was, and all he could say was some gibberish about the way I was conducting myself, and that he did not have to state why I was being ordered to leave. He even said he’d call the police if I refused to go immediately.

The “fake” Mr.Friendly veneer came off, and he turned on me and my wife like a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

Upon reflection, I think his background did not allow him to risk giving up total control of a situation or being made to look inferior.

The irony of the whole thing is that my wife and I were the only ones in the group that he had ANY chance of selling! I am wondering if Craig and his wife Jenny from got thrown out too?

Craig was also asking legitimate questions that Alan could not always give a “good” answer to.

The take away here is that if you go to Directbuy, don’t ask any questions that challenge the sales person and might diminish the value of their membership.

They tell you once you are there,

  • “you will only get one chance to join and it’s now”.
  • “You either sign up today, or you’ll never be able to join again”.
  • Since I was thrown out because Alan didn’t like me, I guess I will never know whether or not it’s worth it to join Directbuy. I do plan to take this up with his boss, and Directbuy corporate offices.

    Remember…”Dont ask the wrong questions!!!”