Have you ever heard of the old “bring the puppy home” sales trick? If not, here’s how it goes.
Say you’re cruising around with your family and you stop in a pet shop. You think you might want to get a dog for you and your kids at some point, but you’re not quite sure just yet. You look around and spot a cute little puppy that you all adore. You love the pup, your kids love the pup, all is right with the world.
Except, of course, you’re not totally sure you even want a dog in the first place. The pet store manager knows this. The manager also knows a sales trick or two, so they make you a seemingly fair offer. Bring the puppy home with you, and if you don’t want to keep the little romper, you can bring him back tomorrow.
So you take the cute little puppy home with you and lo-and-behold when tomorrow rolls around you can’t bring yourself to return the little guy… even if you remain just as unsure about your future life as a pet owner as you felt the moment you walked into the store.
It’s hard to return a product or service after you’ve “brought it home,” and every sales professional worth their salt knows this core tenet of buyer psychology.
Why do you think so many products offer 30-day-money-back guarantees?
Hell, why do you think so many products offer 60, 90, or even 1-year-money-back guarantees?
Because the longer you use a product or service, the less likely you’re going to return it. Even if you don’t love that product or service like you love a cute little puppy, even if that product or service barely meets your needs, if you bring it home with you, chances are you’re keeping it.
Most PBX providers use this tried and true sales trick. Money-back guarantees are sketchy enough when it comes to selling relatively low-impact products like toasters or microwaves, but they’re downright slimy when used to sell products and services requiring large-scale infrastructure adjustments, such as PBX services.
Think about it. In order to take advantage of a 30-day-trial offer from a hosted PBX provider that company will need to come in and make you jump through a whole lot of hoops. You can not base your implementation decision on a trial of a few phones with a demo system. It will give you a sense of how usable the system will be, but will say nothing about it’s performance or provider’s ability to smoothly transition from one system to another without downtime. You can’t just bring a PBX package back to the office with you, plug in a chord or two, and then try out your new service. To run a PBX system through a proper trial you will need to muscle your way through the whole process of provisioning, deployment and network analysis. In other words, to “try out” a PBX system you will need to have that system fully installed into your infrastructure. And if you decide at the end of 30 days you aren’t so happy with the system you’ve been trying out, you’re going to need to:
- Have all that infrastructure pulled out.
- Have your old infrastructure re-installed.
- Hook up with another provider.
Hosted PBX providers offer 30-day-trials because they know the hassle of giving them the boot at the end of your month of service represents a massive inconvenience. Most of the time that inconvenience will translate into inaction.
There are better ways to evaluate whether a PBX service provider is worth deploying:
- Read independently written reviews
- Call reviewers for references. Even if they were staged at some point, chances are you will learn something new.
- Make sure that your service provider can explain every detail of their voice offering in lay man’s terms. This is usually a sign of competency in technical and customer relationship areas.
If you have more than 5 extensions in your office, don’t sign up for some bogus “30-day-trial” or you’ll likely end up keeping that puppy for a looooong time- even if it messes the carpet.