It’s been a while since I’ve been to Toa Payoh, and at the bus interchange yesterday, I got to meet some rather, shall I say, “enthusiastic” credit card promoters. Walking past them might be akin to swimming through shark-infested waters. Have you ever got that feeling? 😉 And there are many reasons why people try to avoid speaking to these promoters. For one, I don’t like how some of these promoters encourage people to sign up for more cards than they require (“Oh you can just cancel them later. It’s free!“), and even if you insist you need just ONE new card, they can eventually check a few more boxes for you after you’ve left the booth, and you’ll receive a couple of cards plus a line of credit too (and they get extra commissions for that).
But credit card promoters are a common sight at bus interchanges, MRT stations and shopping malls. I got to observe them for a bit yesterday, and was amused at the responses from fellow Singaporeans:
#1: The HAND
This is quite simply the easiest way to indicate that you’re not interested. Or that you want a palm-reading done. Either way, it tells the promoter that you do not want whatever he/she is selling. Period.
#2: “I’m in a rush” / “I’m in a hurry” / “I’m busy”
Sometimes my hands are simply full from all that grocery shopping, AND YET promoters still walk up to me and ask if I have a minute. Nope, I need to go home to my fridge! 😛 Of course, there are also times when I have absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go, but I still don’t feel like chatting with them, so “I’m busy” is pretty useful. Of course, there will be some persistent characters who will say “It’ll just take one minute. ONE minute.”
#3: “THANK YOU!”
This is by far the most puzzling response. And I’m guilty of saying it myself. Though I cannot imagine why I’m thanking these promoters. Thank you for blocking my path? Thank you for breaking my train of thought? Thank you for thinking I might need new luggage? I don’t know why Singaporeans like to thank promoters for no apparent reason instead of saying “no, thank you”.
If you are unable to spot these promoters from afar, then you really need to pay more attention to your surroundings! Many people tend to take a different route from their intended one or keep close to other passerbys so the promoters don’t get easy/direct access to them. If you can’t get close to me, you can’t sell me anything, right? 😉
5) My phone demands 100% attention from me
I do this sometimes. Even scrolling through contacts works. Of course, some credit card promoters will STILL ask for a minute, but it’s easy to look like I’m about to make a call, or have to send out an urgent message, or that I am late for an appointment. 🙂
I am pretty impressed, though, by how these credit card promoters face rejection after rejection yet they soldier on, unfazed. And some can even say a cheery “thank you” even after people show them the hand.
I wonder if any of them have given serious thought to what makes people actually want to stop and spend just a few more seconds to hear them out.
What I heard yesterday was:
“Hello! Hi! Are you currently using any *** credit cards?” / “Hi! Do you have an *** credit card?”
Insurance agents tend to be a bit smarter with their questioning. Their questions are most likely to elicit a YES from most people. For instance, “Do you live around this area?”, “Do you shop here often?”, which is difficult to say ‘no’ to.
Most will also say “I’m not selling anything, just doing a short survey. Can I have one minute of your time?” That’s hard to say no too as well.
Perhaps… if credit card promoters were to tweak their questions a little, more people would be a little more likely to hear them out:
Instead of “Hi! Are you currently using any *** credit cards?”, ask “Hi! Just a quick question: Do you like traveling?” (then state you are giving away luggage with each new sign up) OR “Hello! Do you like visiting Japan?” (our cards give X-number of free miles) OR “Hi! Could I interest you in a 1-for-1 deal at your favorite restaurant?”
How to say no to any of these?!
Of course, it’s always simpler when customers come to you, instead of you trying to holler for their attention. Maybe…
- Have a Hello Kitty credit card? With special cardholder perks like a free trip to Japan with minimum spending of X-dollars, or an exclusive plush toy?
- A card that lets you decide which perks and vouchers you actually desire, instead of having the banks randomly send you stuff you don’t even fancy?
- A card with less hefty late payment charges? 😛
Something for the banks to consider, I guess. 🙂