Hey hun! Those immortal words! We all have them in our lives in some shape or form, a sales rep. Love them or loathe them, it doesn’t matter, at some point you will have to cross paths with them. But what happens when the nice lady who is selling you a skin tightening cream is actually harvesting your details? Or how you can you stop it from happening to you?
I’m going to start off with a true story, something that I have considered writing for a while but kept putting it off because I didn’t want to kick the hornet’s nest. I took my first job in sales when I was 13 years old, I sold thermal underwear on a market stall. I was taught by a bunch of market traders the gift of the gab and how to make a sale. Since then, I have been in and out of sales for around 20 years. I’ve worked in a shoe shop and trained as a visual merchandiser. I worked in a bank and handled account openings and ISA transfers. I’ve sold newspapers, I’ve sold boiler insurance, I’ve been a promo girl for beer. I’ve even been a rep for Juice Plus and Scentsy. I’m well versed in the in and outs of selling. That means the good, the bad and the down-right ugly. And it is those reasons why I don’t do the hard selling on this site. I’m gonna be honest, I make my money when someone buys stuff through the links on the site, but do I push them? No! The links are there for your convenience. Could I turn on the charm and make you want to dump the contents of your purse/wallet/bank account into my hands? Absolutely.
When I first started in sales, it was great. It was fun. I got my basic wage but I could always make more by selling a certain amount of stuff. Commission was awesome. But, over the years, especially in the last decade, the world of sales became a dirty place to be. Zero contact hours, no basic wage, just commission, those elements made some salespeople into desperate con-artists. I saw it with my own eyes and that is why I stepped away from that world. Underhand tactics and stealing information became a big thing. And this is how the story starts….
A couple of years ago, I bought something from a sales rep. I won’t mention the company, just think of those people on your Facebook friends list who post things like, “I need five people to test out this new make-up product! PM me” followed by a million emojis. Got the idea? Good. So, I ordered something and it came to about £40 odd quid. I decided it would be saver to give her my debit card details rather than a wad of cash, because at least if something went wrong with the debit card I would have a leg to stand on rather than her disappearing with my cash. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know this girl, she had been recommended by a friend of mine for tummy tightening cream. Everything was fine, got my stuff and all was good. Then three months later, £140 disappeared from my bank account. It was a sign-up fee for a different MLM that she had signed up for. Yes, you read that right, she had a couple of sales reps gigs on the go, and that is illegal because you are only supposed to work for one MLM in case of conflicting interests. That bitch had signed me up without my knowledge or consent with some fake details and I had become a rep. Well, you can imagine how that went down with me. It took a month of back and forth before I got my money back but I did get it back in the end. And the only reason that I knew it was her was because she was listed as my up-line.
Fast forward to the present day, I was poking about on Facebook (bad Lindsay! I am supposed to be off social media!) and saw a post in an anti-MLM group. The post was about how a certain company makes money despite around 80% of their reps not making any money. When I saw the name of the company, I jumped in with my two-cents about what this company did to me. The group are not the most sympathetic lot but I expected that from them. What I didn’t expect was there to be a frecking rep there who pretty much called me a liar. According to her, I would must have given all of these details over so I could be signed up. If I had given over all of those details, it wasn’t so that I could become a rep. I know for a fact that I didn’t give these details over, but I do know how she could have gotten them if she had asked the right questions.
Name- Hey hun, what name should I put on the order?
If they haven’t already lifted your name from Facebook, they are going to make sure that they get it somehow. If you are at a sales rep party and want your full name, don’t give them it. They don’t need it. Just tell them a nickname you go by. If they insist in taking your name, ask them why. There is no reason they need anything other than your first name because it can easily be labeled “care of so and so party”. Tell them that you aren’t comfortable telling them your full name, and if they keep pushing then cancel your order with them.
Date of Birth- Hey hun, I’ve a special running for my customers. If you give me your date of birth I can sign you up to my birthday bonus and you will get a goodie bag on your birthday!
This is so simple, yet so sly. Who doesn’t want a free goodie bag on their birthday? There is a good chance that you might get a goodie bag that might have a full sized item and a handful of samples, but these are promos that been sent out for demos. Nothing is truly free in this world. There are so many schemes that can be run using your date of birth. I once worked with a car salesman who admitted he took peoples date of birth, told them it was for marketing purposes, and then was signing them up to insurances and extras that were hidden in the monthly repayments. Unless you are buying insurance or a financial product, sales reps generally don’t need your date of birth.
Address- Hey hun, your order is here. What’s your address and I’ll drop it round to you? Can you give me your postcode for my sat nav? I’ve no sense of direction lol
How nice of your rep to drop that order to you! Sure, you were planning on picking it up yourself, but if they want to waste their petrol, go on ahead! Amazing! Errr….no, not really. Can you see what I have done so far? So far, without you knowing, I have managed to collect 3 of the most important details about you. If you place an order with a rep, either pick it up from them directly or meet them in a public place so that you don’t have to give out your address. Let me put it this way, do you know your friends addresses? I couldn’t give you the address for a friend that I have known for 20 years. I know where her house is, but if you asked me her address, I wouldn’t have a clue. And if you do make the mistake of telling the rep your address, they might ask, “have you lived here long?” they are trying to find out if you have lived there for more than three years. When you apply for credit, they ask how long you have been at your current address.
Contact Number- Hey hun, what’s your number and I’ll drop you a text when your stuff arrives
Nah, you’re alright. Let’s face it, they have probably added you on Facebook already and could drop you a PM when your stuff arrives. I mean, really, who uses texting these days? Texting is sort of dying off. The only people I text are my husband, my daughter, my mum, and maybe three friends. I don’t think anyone has my number because they don’t really need it. Anyone else who wants to speak to me uses Facebook.
Email Address- Hey hun, if you give me your email address I can sign up to the newsletter and you will get exclusive offers and discounts
*Le sigh* how many times have we all heard this one? Not just from sales reps, but websites too. I get it, if you are planning on spending money with a particular business over the next few months and that discount could go a long way, great! But for most of us, it is a one-time thing and we have no real intention of getting anything else.
Bank details- Hey hun, don’t worry if you don’t have cash, I can do debit cards too 🙂
This is were it can get really messy. This is the biggest piece of advice I will give you. Do not give your details over to a stranger like this. Pay in cash but only if they have the stuff there and then. I know some brilliant reps who order stuff in, pay for it themselves, and only then pass it on to the customer. I have a friend who sells smelly stuff and she refuses to take orders off people. They can place an order with her if she doesn’t have something in stock, but she won’t take the money off them until she has the product to give to them. I know plenty of reps who are the opposite and refuse to keep a stock of products and will only place an order once they have received their money.
These are the most simple sounding questions that can yield massive results. By just being nice to someone, you can easily collect someone’s details and use them to your advantage. And before all the sales reps jump on the comments section, screaming that they would never do that, good for you. But some would, some have, and they don’t come with warning labels. Think of your customers and arm them with this advice so that they don’t get scammed or have their identity stolen. Look after your customers and they will look after you.