I was at home one afternoon last week on a brief stopover between meetings.

An urgent email demanded my time NOW, as did the cat (who was both surprised and pleased that a gullible human with access to biscuits had shown up during the barren hours of the day). I was putting one aside to deal with the other when there was a knock at the door.

It was a short, rather grubby looking man with a clipboard and an ingratiating expression. “Need a window cleaner?” he asked, and I said no, thank you, we already have one.

Not entirely true, but kinder than “No, thank you, I wouldn’t want you peering in my windows clocking my valuables” which is what I really thought.

What struck me, though, was the way he carried on his pitch even as I was closing the door.

“I do the jobs you hate to do!”

Now, that may or may not be true, but the whole episode raised a number of questions for me.

Just because I have windows, do I need a window cleaner?

If I already have a window cleaner, should I constantly be alert to competing bucket and sponge outfits?

If I don’t have one, is it fair to assume that I a) don’t bother cleaning my windows or b) don’t mind cleaning them myself?

I was indulging myself in this metaphysical twaddle when I tripped over the cat.

After calm had been restored, I realised what was bugging me. I’d already said no. I’d given him my reason, yet he persisted with the argument he wanted to make.

And I wondered how often we all do the same thing with our customers and prospects.