Friday, October 19, 2007

A lesson in how not to sell…

My oven finally bit the dust. I knew it was going. I've been telling my husband since the holidays that things weren't sounding right - and finally on Saturday, when pre-heating the oven to bake a meatloaf and I realized after an HOUR we were still at 135 degrees….Houston, we have a problem.

So, my husband (our family shopper), hit the road. He has a nose for a deal and never met a bargain he didn't like.

Sure enough - three days later - I find myself at Best Buy looking at two outgoing floor models.
They were similar - both gas ranges and stainless steel (what I wanted) - priced within $50 of one another. So, after reading the descriptions on the cards - when the little sales lady (who I think was around 12 years old) came to ask if she could help, I asked if she could tell me the difference between the two ranges.

And so, Melissa launched. Tight faced, serious, and down-to-business she clipped along in short sentences telling us in detail about each range - reciting the same features that I had just read off of the card. The faster she talked the slower I talked, in the hopes that she might slow her speech down just a tad. * Side note - does anyone else out there feel like the older you get the slower you hear?

I was looking for the practical aspects of these two stoves - how would they make my day-to-day life simpler? I needed benefits, not features! Tell me which one is easier to clean, tell me which one holds bigger pots, ASK ME SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT I NEED!
I cook a lot. My stove is broken. I was going to leave with one of those stoves despite Melissa's “help.” I made my decision and now it was time to fill out the paperwork. Still determined to build rapport, my husband and I attempted to make amusing small talk - but to know avail. We used all of our best material - nothing. Wow, this was certainly a study in personalities! She was nothing but business - serious business.

And then, in just a blink of an eye, she was gone. There we stood, in the middle of the appliance department, alone and a little shell shocked. You see, the price of the range had magically increased by about 30% (because you have to add installation, a warranty, and some special gas pipe thingy that apparently the federal government requires). We also had our new, “ No obligation, no- fee” Best Buy rewards card in hand (a marketing ploy to encourage return business).

We left that day, feeling like we had just been sold a used car…(did I mention that she never even said “thank you?”) Do you think, after I get my delivery I can expect a Customer Care call from her?

The Big Box stores survive and thrive for lots of reasons - volume, price, advertising, etc; Thankfully, not every sales person employed by Best Buy is a “Melissa” because I have to say, if they were - no amount of advertising in the world would keep them in business for very long.
Our direct sales businesses are the polar opposite of the Big Box stores, and we have a distinct advantage. We have the opportunity to build rapport with our customers and make them feel special, cared for and happy to have done business with us. THAT is our edge and we must use it to the fullest.

Benefit sell by asking good questions, listen for answers, mirror your customer's voice patterns and body language - don't forget to SMILE and say THANK YOU! Pick up the phone and make Customer Care/Customer Service calls. Your customers will thank you. THIS is how you build a loyal customer base that will return to you over and over again!


Diane said...

So why did you buy from her? My husband would have contacted the manager and asked for an immediate refund and told him/her why/
I would have contacted the manager and asked for another sales person

UB Queen Bee said...

LOL - this wasn't "me" but a story from The Success Factory :)