8

This question, How do I push a product I've been told to push to customers without being pushy about it? is basically asking about how to perform certain sales related tasks without being pushy. It's a specific job function of sales employees.

Are questions like this really on topic for the site?

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  • I would note that the question here is also too broad as asked for meaningful answers. Had that not been the case I might have been more willing to let it go. But as soon as you make it answerable it becomes off topic or too localized. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 16 '12 at 15:26
7

I was one of the close-voters and I thought this question sat squarely on the line -- I voted to close expecting a meta discussion, which is good at this stage in the game.

I think I voted it as off-topic, but I was choosing between off-topic, too localized, and not constructive. That right there says the question needs some work.

If this were a question that led with a general workplace issue (supporting a product you don't believe in? -- I know that's not at issue in this particular question, but would be a general concern) and used a specific example that was not the only example, then that would be great. To wit, one commenter noted a phrasing such as "How do I handle [this new job responsibility] when I have severe doubts about its efficacy (and here's why)?" -- if that were the question, and the example was given, I believe that would be a good question, because it would not be specific to sales, just applicable to sales (and other positions).

But in this particular case, there are a lot of unknowns -- as a commenter pointed out, " [the answer] varies by the medium involved, ie telephone, retail business, door to door... etc."

That was my thought process, at least.

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  • Yeah, the question had multiple problems, but as asked I felt it wasn't on topic either. If those "unknowns" you mentioned were addressed it becomes even more job-function specific. – Rarity Apr 16 '12 at 14:38
  • I can totally see that happening, too. – jcmeloni Apr 16 '12 at 14:45
5

I think it's definitely on-topic. The question relates the example of a retail sales-floor associate stereotype being what the OP wants to avoid, but employees are asked to "sell" or otherwise represent/promote/endorse products all the time, even outside of a formal sales role. As such, people face some force of this dilema all the time in various forms.

In the broader sense, so long as a question (while relating a specific example) can relate to a broader situation that many people run into, it's not inherently off-topic.

Where does this cross the line?

An example of where I think a question about the fulfillment of a specific job function would be off topic include questions that ask for specific instructions, such as:

"My boss needs a report done for an important meeting, and I need to know how to create a bar chart in Excel."

"What reading/classes/seminars should I use to increase my sales numbers?"

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  • 1
    I am thinking the What reading/classes/seminars should I use to increase my sales numbers? is more on topic than how do i sell my product questions. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 16 '12 at 15:24
  • Chad, what you are suggesting would be too opinion based and be better for discourse. This question is a decent question overall as it has a specific enough question to not be overly opinion based, address a need and be assistance to professionals at their field. – Paul Muir Mar 28 '14 at 12:57
1

If the question is about performing a specific specialized job function then it is off topic.

This question is about sales. Specifically how does one sell a product to customers contacting about something different. That is a specialized job function. It varies based on the method of contact, and the reason for contact. I could ask this question in 20 variations to get different correct answers that are basically the same question. The correct answer for some versions do not apply to others.

If the question were about some tangent of this, (i.e. how do i ask for help with?) then it might be more on topic.

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0

I think that questions that generally refer to the workplace, or even specific jobs should be considered on topic as long as there is no stackexchange more specific to the topic. Refering back to usenet days, I would aim for stackexchange to be complete in the sense that any question is on topic somewhere on stackexchange, and in this case, I would say questions relating to aspects of the workplace are on topic here as long as they are not on topic in a more specialised stackexchange.

Tying this in with the question of project management I would generally consider questions refering to PM as off topic, and migrate them to the pm.stackexchange.

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-1

I think this is a great question, and will generate great answers.

I also think it sits squarely on the fence between on-topic and off-topic. It's really related to sales rather than the broader "workplace", but as an engineer I've been told in the past to try to guide customers toward a specific product or service my company offers in order to get them to offer up more money and I can see how someone who is not technically in a sales role would want good advice on how to gently steer customers without seeming like an obnoxious used car salesman.

This question I would say is on-topic because of that broader applicability (like normalocity said, anyone can be asked to "help sell" even if they're not in a sales role). A similar question of "How can I get my customers to buy stuff?" is really more a topic for a sales-focused site...

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  • 1
    This question is very much "How can I get my customers to buy stuff?" Just focused on the low pressure side. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 16 '12 at 16:53

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