Sales persons!

The other day, I decided I needed a new laptop. boy do I dislike most sales people particularly ones who don’t know what they are selling! Case in point: for my new laptop I had done some research as to what I was going to buy and why.  (See yesterday’s Windows Experience Index blog post). Yes I want the Dell with the Solid State drives but it was not going to happen. L I dislike “up selling” but if this sales person knew what he was selling and some of the features of Vista, he could entice many to up sell a few items. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that all salesmen should up sell, as they should not! But knowing a few things could help them when it is needed.

Here is what happened and why the salesman at Future Shop missed the boat a few times!
Before drove anywhere I went online to both Best Buy and Future Shop, so I knew the basics of what I wanted.

  • Laptop
  • Vista Ultimate because It need to connect to a Domain and have Media Center
  • Ready Boost USB key
  • Web Camera
  • Lots of HD space
  • Windows Experience Index of 4.0 or better
  • Wireless NIC

I had picked out two models from each store, HP and Toshiba. It turned out the HP models are exclusive to Best Buy and Future Shop as a way to prevent comparison with other retailers but that story is for a RANT on how vendors like HP, Yamaha, etc. make subtle changes to a “series” to give retail the illusion of  deals.

I had already been to Best Buy in Nepean and the Future Shop store next door before I drove out to the one in Kanata. I walked into the Future Shop store # 609 in Kanata. I quickly found all the laptops, and very quickly a sales person swooped down on me to get the sale. Now I know that Best Buy owns Future Shop and the main difference between the two is Best Buy the sales persons are NOT on commission and Future Shop they are!

Anyways, I asked to see the Toshiba and the HP. For whatever reason I didn’t like the Toshiba. I asked to look at the HP and was told it is not available on the “floor”, I would have to purchase a sealed box to get it. Since I had seen its counterpart at the Nepean Best Buy, I asked about their return policy, which was 14 days un-open. Of course I objected, and he changed his tune to allow opened but it can’t have any scratches or dents etc.  (Strike 1)

I asked what the Windows Experience Index was for that PC, without blinking he told me that it would be 3.0.  I already was fairly certain that would not be the case as I did see its counterpart at Best Buy. (Strike 2) Then he proceeds to provide me some details about the PC include that it has 250 GB of HD space. Which I know to be not true as it has 120 GB + 80 GB, I tell him so and he then tells me that adds up to 250 GB of HD space, I know that my math can be bad but 120 + 80  != 250. (Strike 3)

I asked about how much the extra RAM would be to get it up to 4 GB. He told me that it was a waste of time as Vista poorly handles management of RAM, plus I would not get the full use of the 4 GB of RAM (at least he was half right as I would only be able to use ~3.6 GB of RAM if I use a 32 bit version of Vista ) (Strike 3.5) but by this time I was trying not to laugh at what he had to say as it was clear that he had no idea about the hardware he was selling.

Finally I asked about Ready Boost USB keys and he told me that all USB keys can be used with Vista. (Strike 4)

By now I was trying to figure out if I wanted to buy from this guy and how I could email Future Shop / Best Buy management about this. To make a long story shorter. I did buy the laptop and yes it does do what I need and its Windows Experience Index is 4.5 before the RAM upgrade. Now I started to talk about up selling. This is where the salesmen could have done much better.

  1. Know the PCs that you are trying to sell.
  2. Know the Windows Experience Index number for all PCs  or have the Index number displayed with each PC.
  3. Understand what the Windows Experience Index means; it is not hard. I’m sure that even my mother-in-law could understand what they mean and why it was important to have a higher number
  4. Ready Boost key is a good place to up sell to people. Explain / show them how Ready Boost will speed up their computer
  5. Fully understand how Vista handles RAM
  6. Understand the different versions of Vista include the 64 bit versions.
  7. Understand what “Windows Anytime Upgrade” is and how clients can buy it. This is particularly essential since I think you can purchase it from their store!

Closing note: I have glossed over lots of details with my dealing with this sale person, but the key points here to remember.
(BTW yes, at one point I did sell PCs for a local computer store)


  • Don’t let salesmen sell you stuff
  • Spend a few minutes getting informed
  • Don’t get pressured into buying anything just because it is on sale and the sale will end.
  • Be careful with extended warranties
  • Get advice from family, friend , or your local user group on what to buy and where to buy


  • Don’t be slimy, if you don’t know something then say so, honesty will get you farther in the long run
  • Stay away from the hard sell
  • Spend some time to understand what you are selling and why clients should buy one PC vs. another. The key here is if you explain what Windows Experience Index is you will find that more people will buy a better PC, thereby increase your commissions
  • By understanding and again explaining what Ready Boost is and how it can help PC buyers, you will end up selling more Ready Boost USB keys. And people will be happier with the performance of their new PC.
  • To a much lesser extent if you understand that any PC can be upgrade to Vista Ultimate by purchasing the Windows Anytime Upgrade DVD, then when someone needs those features and their existing version of Vista does not allow them access to it, well you can explain at a high level how it works and “sell” it to them if they need / want it.

Reference Links
Ready Boost

Ready Boost Video

Windows Anytime Upgrade

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *