Move over Andy Rooney – here’s a rant you could have penned

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I’m feeling a bit testy tonight and am hearing Andy Rooney’s style in my head, so figured I’d jot a diatribe of my own.

For those of you not in the US, or of a younger sect, Andy Rooney provided the epilogue for the weekly 60 Minutes broadcast from 1978-2011 (dying a month after his retirement at the age of 92). His hilarious satirical look at everyday life made tuning into the end of the program a must see for anyone with an appreciation of the humor associated with alternative perspectives on what most accept as normal.

In his iconic, whiney voice he’d offer rants that frequently began with the phrase ‘ have you ever noticed,’  ‘why is it,’ or ‘I was thinking,’ with insights that were often laugh out loud funny.

Sadly, it’s tough to find some of his best material online, but here’s his take on bottled water:

So you want my time and won’t say how long it will take?

Have you ever noticed some marketers feel it’s smart to hide how much time they expect you to listen to their pitch?

Online videos

Lately I’ve seen a trend with videos to bury the length of the presentations. Usually these are the ones that go on for an hour or more (like I’m really going to respond to the old school precept that more time invested will compel me to buy). Even worse is the links that provide no option for pause. Catch me once (that’s how I discovered the long sell tactic). If a length indication and pause option aren’t provided, I leave the page.  Goodbye prognosticator.


Whether on the phone, via Skype or in person, if someone’s trying to sell me something, I want to know prior to the conversation how much of my time they’re requesting. If you’re hawking and someone doesn’t ask about the anticipated listening investment stint, offer this information and stick to your promise.

This is particularly important with group presentations and public speaking appearances. If time runs over, offer your audience an immediate exit opportunity the moment the clock expires on the scheduled period and you’ll be less likely to be seen as a blowhard and more prone to be perceived as a considerate and mindful contributor.

Of course, listening rather than talking is always a better sales approach, but some will never lean.

Instant messaging

Really? You want me to drop what I’m doing to respond immediately to your bite-size, hour-long series of offers? I don’t think so. Send me an e-mail, set a time for a call or schedule a Skype meeting (with a clear indication of how much time you will need and the consideration to stick to it) and I’m there. Expect me to accept the distraction of an unscheduled dialog while I’m trying to complete client deliverables and I won’t be so gracious about deeming you an ideal vendor, no matter how clever you are about the close.

Just dropping by

Might be convenient for you, but is rarely for me. Time for the day was schedule before you arrived. If you’re serious about selling to me, respect the fact that my time is valuable and unscheduled meetings are generally unwelcome. Even if you have the most innovate and valuable tool for my business prosperity, I’ve already formed an opinion about you – and it’s not good.

Andy Rooney’s talent and history

This is a long video (approximately 11 minutes), but if you want to see more about what this clever guy was all about, this is a good summary:

Why selling sucks

Most believe, erroneously, that selling is something you do to people. If you can amend your approach to make it something you do for people, you might be amazed at how much fun the experience becomes for both you and your prospects (vs. victims). Think about how you can be more considerate and helpful in your approach and you might be surprised how quickly prospects transform from weary receptacles tolerating but ignoring your message to clients and friends eager to embrace you as a valued resource to be bragged about to colleagues.





47 Responses to Move over Andy Rooney – here’s a rant you could have penned
  1. Jan
    July 28, 2012 | 8:01 am

    I’ve never heard of Andy Rooney… Loved the bottled water though!

    I’m with you all the way on this one! The trend for video sales that I can’t pause and have no idea how long they run for is irritating to say the least. I see one, I leave. Give me a sales page with writing on it any day.

    Four times this week I’ve had someone knock on my door trying to get me to sign up for some free insulation. The last guy (yesterday) got a very growly Jan with a lecture on interupting me with sales messages – he replied in disbelief, “I’m not selling, it’s free”.

    Quite frankly I don’t care how free it is, I don’t want the interruption and the sales pitch on why I need to sign up right now (yes, it’s still a sales pitch!)
    I got my own back, I kept popping out and shouting him then offering web services. It amused me, he wasn’t best pleased and eventually ignored me – point proven I think!

    • Nanette Levin
      July 28, 2012 | 10:33 am

      Ha – I’ll have to remember that one. Around here (not so much any more), it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They let themselves into your home without being invited and won’t leave. Oh, and speaking of letters – how about those 20-pagers with tons of yellow and red that don’t ever get to the point – or price. That’s another ploy that will never convert me. Don’t waste my time.

  2. Arwen
    July 28, 2012 | 5:22 pm

    ” If you’re serious about selling to me, respect the fact that my time is valuable and unscheduled meetings are generally unwelcome. ” YES YES YES!

    And I agree on the videos without time. I budget my time more than my money these days.

    • Nanette Levin
      July 29, 2012 | 3:26 am

      Thanks for stopping in again Arwen, and leaving a comment. Right – time is something we have that can never be bought back. Money comes and goes. I’m with you on putting more focus on budgeting time than money (good point). I tend to be a lot quicker to do business with someone who respects my time and appreciates my attention than those who disregard the value.

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