Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Temptalia Asks You


How do you handle aggressive salespeople at the beauty counter? Share your tips!

Temptalia's Answer.

I usually just say, “I’m just looking,” in a firm voice–I try to let them know that I’m not a buyer, so don’t waste your time on me!

Thanks to Sally for this question!

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60 thoughts on “How do you handle aggressive salespeople at the beauty counter?

  1. ditto. it always works. if i have my heart on something, i just buy it regardless.

  2. macpixie55

    I tell them I’m just looking and that I’ll let them know when I’m ready or if I need any help. It lets them be aware that I will be buying something eventually but to give me my time to browse. I hate when they follow you around though!

    • Casey

      I do what you do..it seems to work well unless the sales person it partially crazy and doesn’t seem to get it..haha. There is nothing I hate more than being attacked by pushy sales people.

  3. I usually start out with “oh, I’m just looking” and try to get a good idea of what I’ve specifically gone there to look at before asking for help if I need any. I think it helps also to have specific requests in mind (to color match this foundation, or whether the SA thinks one foundation is better than another for whatever skintype and conditions) because that gives less of an opening to sell all sorts of different things.

  4. Zee

    If I’m not looking to buy something I will tell them that I’m just looking.

    If I am buying something and they are annoying and persistent in trying to push something else on me, I tell them, “I just came for this one thing. If you keep pushing me, I will leave and not even buy this.” That usually gets the point across. haha

  5. I listen to their whole thing sometimes if they are super pushy, and if I decide I’m not interested I say maybe another time, or I’m not looking for that at this time. Sometimes I just say right away I’m just browsing to avoid it all.

  6. Mai

    I avoid the Benefit counter :P

    No but seriously, I find many of the aggressive salespeople to be working for Benefit due to their “traffic stop” way of business.

    Most of the time saying I’m just looking works.

    • amelia

      i agree that BeneFit salespeople are the worst…. followed closely by Makeup For Ever.

    • Anitacska

      I agree about Benefit, it’s really difficult to just browse their stuff as they always attack me and want to show me this and that. That’s why I don’t own many Benefit products and definitely regret buying PosieTint due to a pushy sales assistant. :S

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alicia alicia

    I only normally get really aggressive salespeople approaching me in the middle of the mall like at one if those carts that sell beauty products. I just avoid eye contact and just say no thank you when they try to use tricks on me. if I’m at a counter I’ll say I’m just looking around and I’ll let you know if I need anything. I try to let the sales person know I’m not interested so they don’t waste their time trying to sell me something I know I don’t want. hating pushy sales people I try to be the opposite and let customers know I’m friendly and that they are acknowledged. but then I v
    back off.

    • Violet

      I absolutely agree about the cart salespeople – it makes me so mad that they feel entitled to grab me on my way to the store I want to go to and try to sell me something. Often it’s not just making a sale – they want to try something out on me, and there’s a creepy guy wanting to rub lotion on women passing by, or try out a novel scalp massaging tool. I ignore them as much as possible but sometimes when they physically step in front of me, I have had to forcefully yell “NO!” and walk away. Once one of them got mad because I refused a free sample… he looked baffled and yelled “But it’s FREE!” I wish there were a way to put a stop to this. :(

  8. mm

    If you’re just looking that’s fine & say so but please remember that in this economy salespeople are under extreme pressure to make sales goals or lose their jobs. I’m just saying, don’t get offended if you walk up to a counter & they try to sell you something.

    • audrey

      but it’s totally different when they get pushy and agressive and try to get in your way! Most of the time, people don’t stop at the counter, they just walk by and the salespeople end up chasing you down to try to sell you something.

  9. If it gets really uncomfortable, I just say, “I’ll think about it.” Or “I’m just a student, I can’t afford any of this.” Then I’ll walk off. This is why I like looking at swatches online, you don’t have annoying salespeople to bother you.

  10. Nic

    I don’t often encounter very aggressive salespeople at makeup counters. They usually just ask me if I need help, I tell them I’m just looking, and they go to help other people. I swatch a bunch of stuff and then tell them what I want. If they try to sell me something else, I just politely say something like “Not today” or “Nah, I just came in to get this stuff.” That’s usually sufficient.

  11. eveli

    “I’m just looking” line

  12. Andrea

    Quite badly, actually. I get flustered and stuttery trying to explain why I will NOT be buying their 60 dollar foundation and explaining my skincare routine at their insistence… just. Argh.

    • audrey

      One time I was at the Clinique counter in Ulta and the lady was trying to convince me that my Accutane wasn’t working and that I should buy her 3-step skincare system. Then she was arguing with me about why my facial cleansers were “horrible” just because they were clean and clear and not Clinique. It like, Back Off!!!!

  13. diana

    oh . . . good question!! I do the same i also hate it when they follow me around grrrr . . .

  14. Quinn

    I’d say “Just browsing, thanks”
    80% of them would back-off, but those who doesn’t seem to get the message will try to intro this intro that bla bla bla so annoying! I am not brave enough to tell them off, afterall they’re making a living!

  15. amelia

    i live in singapore and the people in my sephora are horrible!! i think its because sephora is relatively new here. they’re usually no help at all, but they love to pester you. i usually just say ‘im just looking’. if there are particularly annoying ones, i ask for something i know isnt there and they leave me alone….. :]

  16. Hmmm. I guess I’ve just been lucky enough to not get many pushy salespeople. And to be antisocial enough to get much of my “human contact” from the makeup counter. I actually don’t mind chatting with the makeup artists. IF i know I’m already planning on buying 3-4 items, I’m pretty happy to let a salesperson show me completely different stuff,and write down the colors for next time. Of course, i NEVER buy without waiting at least 2-3 visits, swatching each time to make sure i still like it on me in different moods and lightings.

  17. BrownBrickhouse

    I have the opposite problem. I find that some especially at the Clinique counter do not like to say hello, or ask if I need any help. They will act like they are better than me. I go to Sephora for my makeup now. They are alot nicer and helpful. Also the men at the MAC counter is very nice. I will only buy from certain people. And when the women who are rude to me notice that I do spend alot and when they see me now will jump over each other to get to me. I ask for the 2 guys and if they are not there I will say I will come back.

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of LU LNU

      SAME here! I go to a MAC near my house and the SA’s there all know me & are nice, but a few times I ran to the one near where I work and the SA’s were extremely rude and unhelpful!

  18. Make_up_maven

    Yeah, I usually say I’m just looking. If they persist and starting giving me suggestions on what to buy, I say, very politely, no thank you – but thanks for the suggestion. At that point, if they persist I just keep saying no thank you, no thank you, no thank you. It works for me and then I don’t walk away feeling like I was rude. LOL

    • audrey

      OMG! Totally the same! I hate when they try to sell me something totally different than what I intended on buying. I always walk out wondering, “Why in the heck did I just buy this?” I also hate that if I don’t plan on buying alot, they ignore me! Sorry, just super “spirited” about this topic. lol!

  19. 1) make sure my makeup looks FLAWLESS.
    2) i make sure they know that I know what I’m talking about.

  20. Darrien

    I always tell them I am just looking but sometime the ladies at my MAC store are SO pushy, so I just leave and go to the counter (in the same mall) if I can get the thing I am looking for at the counter.

  21. Charlene

    I wait for an opportunity to sneak away then I RUN!

  22. Diana

    I agree. You can be firm and straight and still be polite.

  23. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Alix Alix

    I don’t mind if salespeople offer help, but when one person hears another ask me, don’t step up and ask me two seconds later — you HEARD my response!

    At the Bloomie’s I got to sometimes, they attack like packs of wolves, so I’ve taken to wearing my iPod when I got there (sound off!) and just giving a vague smile and nod to anyone who approaches. When I want help, I take them off and head directly to a counter.

  24. gu(:

    neeever come back to that specific store….I do hate rude salesperson..If u behvve bvdly,don’t even work as a salesperson! (I actuĂ lly work as a salesperson hehehe)

  25. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of LU LNU

    Same here! I generally go to the same MAC, Macys, Sephora, so all the SA’s know I like to look around.

  26. Sara

    Good question. Normally I just tell them I’m just looking or no thanks lot a lot of people here. Of course they usually keep coming back to me anyway. I try not to get too mad because I no they are only doing their job but like some people I get a little flustered because I don’t carry around a ton of money to spend on whatever I want. I guess I feel like they look down on you if you can’t always afford what they are suggesting you get. Not all salespeople are like that but it seems like they ones I’ve come into contact with have been. Yay for me. lol.
    I have never been to an Ulta store if you can believe it. Can someone tell me if they have pushy salespeople there or is that more of the kind of store where you can walk around freely?

  27. Hipona

    I just go away

  28. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Cristal Cristal

    I have not had an “aggresive” salesperson come to me, that I remember, just the typical “Do you need any help” I hate those that are in the kiosks at the malls though, they just want to get in your face, even if you said No thank you like 20 times..lol

  29. ak

    I don’t. I just go to MAC where the people just leave you alone or they’ll ask if you need help and if you don’t they’ll leave you alone or if you go up to them when they’re not helping anyone and then they’ll just help you straight away!

  30. Carrie

    For some reason, the ladies at my local Macy’s fragrance counter can be pretty pushy. I always go to the fragrance/makeup counter knowing exactly what I want (I do research beforehand) or at least having a good idea. Sometimes I just want to see what the perfume smells like before I actually purchase it. I also hate when I ask for specific things and they start showing me other products I would never even consider. The worst problem, though, is standing there, waiting for help for too long. I’m always acknowledged right away at the MAC counter, but usually have to wait forever for someone to help me at the Benefit counter. That’s why I started ordering Benefit products online instead.

  31. happybadfish

    sometimes even if I am going to buy something and the salesperson is pushy, I hold off on the purchase. I’ll try another day and if I like the salesperson I will buy. I am in the mall everyday, so that is easy for me.
    I feel like at mac they are very sales driven and in competition with each other. I sometimes hate going into stores when I am just looking because I feel like they want me to purchase.

  32. Jenn

    I actually turn it around on them and start asking tons of questions, even though usually I already know what I’m going to buy and have already made my research into it. I ask about the usage, I ask about the ingredients I just keep asking and usually they leave me alone becuase they get tired of all my questions!

  33. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    I don’t handle them. I sneak up to cosmetics counters so the sales people can’t see me and only make myself known if I have a question.

  34. DonnaN

    there are two counters specifically at my local Macy’s that bombard me EVERYTIME I go by them….Chanel and Dior, which is SUCH a shame because its my only source for HANDS ON Chanel product….at least for Dior, I have Sephora, but they don’t always have the new seasonal collections. Sometimes, I just have the shuffle-up and deal……

  35. Melissa

    If I truly need something at the counter, I’ll tell the salesperson I’m just looking, then walk away, peruse other counters and finally come back and buy from another salesperson from the original counter. I have no tolerance for obnoxious behavior – especially when I’m shelling out money.

  36. R.

    I work in retail sales, so I know a lot of the “tricks” that SA’s are told to use in order to get you to buy more. You can always say “I already have something similar at home that I’d like to use up first” if there’s a specific product someone is pushing. If you’re comfortable with it, you can say “I only came with $___ to spend today, so I’ll have to skip it for now.” If you just want someone to leave you alone, you can try saying “I’m fine for now, thanks, but I’ll be sure to find you if I need anything.” Remember that some SA’s work on commission, so they might be hovering to ensure a co-worker doesn’t “steal” the sale. Also, please remember that the sales staff are just doing their job. Yes, some are overly aggressive, which is frustrating, but oftentimes customers will shoot me down with a “just looking, thanks” when all I’ve said is “hi”. It’s unkind to treat a sales associate like s/he’s the SalesBot3000. Generally, sales staff don’t enjoy being pushy, they’re just doing what they’re told to do (and might be in jeopardy of losing their job if they don’t do it), so if you find the service in a particular store to be overly aggressive, you should contact their head office and let them know they need to re-evaluate their training policies. Anyway, all this to say, it’s fine to say you’re just looking if a sales associate offers help you don’t want or need, but if all they’ve said is “Hi, how are you?” then please respond in kind!

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of marie marielouise

      THANK U for this post!!! Occasionally, I get some unkind and defensive ‘just looking’ responses, when just saying ‘hi’ to a customer. It’s quite annoying when you’re just doing your job. We SA are only human after all :)

    • Jennifer

      Thamk you for this post! I work for a Clinique counter and have no problem letting people browse. I just tell them to let me know when they need help. My department is pretty good, we try to help each other out, not steal sales. Please be aware that acknowledging customers is not a sales tactic, its just us being polite and its a part of our job. We do have aggressive sales targets and not meeting them puts our jobs on the line so try to understand :) Just remember that for every person that complains of pushy sales people there are just as many who complain of lack of service or not enough staff, etc. I guess we can’t win! Btw, I hate those kiosk people too! They actually approach me in my Clinique lab coat which I just don’t get!

  37. Jae

    w-a-l-k- a-w-a-y

    -laughing- then there’s that “Just browsing” to the MAC counter girls cause they follow always follow me like I’m going to steal a sample pot. -rolls eyes-

  38. Jenny

    I’m from the states, but when I went to the philippines to visit, I visited a few makeup counters. Geez, they were so pushy! I told the SA I was “just looking” at least 5 to 6 times because they kept ruining “my shopping experience” by pushing products (that I already own or know about). They literally *followed* me around while I was browsing the makeup line – I felt super uncomfortable, almost like they were following me because they were afraid I’d steal something – that kind of feeling. Then finally, I got so fed up that I said “Leave me alone!” in the meanest, harshest tone I could muster.

    That was the worst aggressive salesperson I’ve ever encountered.

  39. Diana

    After trying to sell me their new perfume, Benefit at Macy’s even went and called me a couple days ago and left a voicemail saying she was there for me and if i enjoyed her service, please look for her again. I do not remember giving her my number even!

  40. Dana

    I have experienced some really pushy salespeople at the Estee Lauder counter..I even had to walk away one time! I usually say I’m just looking, but sometimes that doesn’t stop them trying to sell products to you.

  41. audrey

    I totally notice this in those people in the mall kiosk’s trying to get you to “sample” and buy there $80.00 nail kits! It’s like Get Real, nobody can afford to buy those frivilous items when we are in the middle of a recession! I also hate when they track you down and follow you to pressure you into buying something. I always lok them in the eyes and say, “I only came here to buy one thing!” One time, I was in the mall and a guy asked me, “Do you want a sample of our “secret from the dead sea?” I said sure, and he said, “Only with a purchase can you have a sample” WTF!!!!

  42. Marjolijn

    I’ve never encountered really aggressive people at the beauty counter. I usually just say something like “No thank you, I’m OK/I’m just browsing a bit”. Sometimes they insist on showing something and then (depending on how much time I have) I’ll let them talk for a minute and then tell them the product is very interesting but just not what I’m looking for right now.

  43. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Michele Michele

    I generally say, I’m just looking but I’ll find you if I need something. It drives me nuts when someone hovers over me and I’ll end up leaving instead of buying something and buy it elsewhere if they do that. It’s also a reason I tend to order a lot of items on-line just so I don’t have to be be bothered.

  44. condesa

    I’m like “thanks, when i need help, I’m telling you”. I say this in a tone that leave no room for further discussion!! I have learnt over the years to be a bit ‘harsh’, and I see that sales people then treat you w/ more respect (it makes them believe you have character and do not want to be bothered, like rich people do; it always works).
    Sorry, but I got fed up being friendly and nice to everybody and allow them getting me talked into buying things I regretted the minute later.

  45. I tend to have my 3 strikes. Which is from the sweet “Yes I am doing fine, just looking around.” and when I get asked the third time I say “Didn’t I tell you the first 2 times that I was doing fine and that I am just looking around?” that gets them to go away. I know its a bit rude but I mean come on!!!!

  46. BeautyAdvisor

    Hi, I’m a beauty advisor/salesperson for Sears. I worked for clinique, Lancome, Shiseido, and now Clarins. Most beauty advisor really don’t want to follow you around and most of us really rather let you browse, but it’s our managers that watch us from a distance that push us to be annoying. Usually I would walk up to a customer and say, “Can I help you with anything” and the customer would usually say, “That’s okay I’m just looking” I would always respond with “Okay if you need anything please let me know” and I walk away, but still keep an eye on them, because there’s also a lot of those who steal our testers. If our managers are on the floor they will walk up to us and tell us to follow the customer around and try to sit them down in order to sell them stuff. I and many beauty advisor hate this and that’s why the turnover rate is really high in cosmetics counter.

    So hopefully you ladies can give us a break and let us sample our product on your so it can look like we’re doing something. I hate that most customers are usually condescending towards us and treat us like we have no brains.

  47. Liz

    Hi, I am also a sales associate for a cosmetics/skincare company and surprise! surprise! I’m also a customer. I have to agree with one of the other comments–it is the manager who usually turns me into the annoying sales person. I have to say, on days where the manager is NOT present the entire sales team actually performs better because the customer/sales interactions are much more real and appropriate. I hate putting on the “act” for every customer because my manager is watching. I think it is important to say “hello” and even make eye contact. This is usually enough. From that point, if a customer needs help they usually immediately approach me and if they are in for a browse they do just that and I watch if they need help. They KNOW that I’m there and grab me if they need help. Of course we watch our customers. It is part of the job. During that time a good salesperson will notice if someone has questions or intends to steal. I find that when I have to play the routine my manager wants me to play I get waived off almost immediately.

    As a customer, when I enter a beauty store I might be there to browse or I know exactly what I want. I don’t mind getting a hello, but I am bothered by hyperactive sales people who pop out of every corner to sell me something or even re-greet. I’m usually in a beauty store because I want something that will make me feel good and getting bombarded does not. In such cases, I will usually leave because my mind is not in the frame to make a purchase or follow through on a decision.

    I hope this helps some people understand why we do what we do…lets managers realize how being pushy can actually hurt sales…and reminds some sales people that subtlety can open a much wider door for further conversation than being overbearing.