If there’s anything I abhor, it is the overabundant use of BS as a tool to drive sales. Be it marketing that promises miracles or a salesperson desperate to meet their quota (commissioned or not), there are just some things that should be left alone.
Namely? False flattery. It doesn’t matter what is being sold, but since this is a beauty blog, let’s talk about the use of BS to land a makeup sale.
I’m a regular face in my local Sephora. Sometimes I’m browsing what new stuff they have, sometimes I’m buying, sometimes I’m getting a sample before committing to a product. If they don’t know my name, they at least know my face and recognize me.
There’s one employee, though… I haven’t had this issue with any of the other employees. We pleasantly chat without awkwardness – we talk about product and technique and YouTube and weekend plans (and it all happens way more comfortably and naturally than that time I got my hair cut).
The particular associate is friendly, energetic, and personable… but trying entirely too hard to make me feel warm and fuzzy, to butter me up to buy product. Yes, I have done my time in retail. I get it – you have sales goals to meet! Landing this makeup sale or upselling directly impacts your store’s labor budget which translates to hours for you and your teammates. You want me to feel good because customers who feel good tend to spend more money. There’s a way to build a positive relationship and leave a lasting good impression without bombarding me with false flattery.
It feels insincere. And I can tell. Why?
I’m human and I have not dwelt in a safety bubble my entire life. I’m not going to make a bullet list of my perceived flaws because they don’t matter – my face is how it is, I am not bothered by these things, and there’s no point dwelling on it and making myself crazy. My skin itself is relatively healthy because I work hard to keep it that way – but it is not flawless. I know this. Acknowledging that, but not letting it rule you, is maturity, not insecurity.
This probably-well-meaning associate, however, makes a big production about how, “completely flawless,” someone’s clearly flawed skin is is a little insensitive, isn’t it? If I were self-conscious about the pores in my T-Zone, my chickenpox scars, and so forth, having someone who is two inches from my face with a brush raving about my, “perfect, flawless skin!” would probably make me feel really bad. A better way to go about it might have been, “Your skin is so clear, supple, and healthy! It’s so easy to work with!” The only way those remarks could be sincere with her that close to my face is if her eyesight needs to be checked. If you’re doing artistry, it probably isn’t a great idea to go about your work without correcting your built-in filters. Glasses or contacts for that ish, no excuses.
Fortunately, I don’t feel bad/down/sad about those situations; I feel annoyed – like you don’t have to try so hard, you know? You don’t need to convince me about my skin. You do need to convince me to like the products you’re working with. I’m not here to hear about my face. Talk to me about that setting spray, damn it. Tell and show me why I need* it – that’s your job, and that’s how you land a makeup sale.
Yes, it might be easier to tell someone that they have amazing cheekbones/eyebrows/flawless skin/insert-flattery-here, and some customers might dig that. And I’m not so bitter and cynical that I can’t take a sincere compliment, but you should not use that as a crutch to secure a makeup sale. If the compliment helps seal the deal? AWESOME. But it should not be given with some ulterior motive because most of us see right through that shit.