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I love finding and sharing lessons from business situations, so I have to write about a sales experience that I had recently. After years of avoidance, I finally was ready to buy a high-tech, state-of-the-art big screen TV. I did the cursory product research online so I was ready to hit the stores and make a decision.
The first stop was a very large national electronics chain that will remain nameless. I walked into the TV department past 4 salespeople and looked at the wide assortment of products. After 30 minutes of looking I had not been approached by a salesperson, so I walked up to the 4 who were goofing off and stood there. No greeting. No offer to help. No sale. I walked out of the store and took my hard-earned wad of cash down the street just like many others have done, if you read the business pages.
Next stop was a local business that proved that they were interested in my business from the first moment. I met at the front door, a really good salesperson who answered all of my questions. I bought a more fully featured and higher priced TV than I wanted originally, bought almost all of the add-on recommendations from the salesman, got next day delivery, installation, a price guarantee, and I feel great about the experience and the value of the transaction.
So is this about the big chain vs. the small business. No not at all! This is about focus, execution, leadership, and a bunch of other success factors where one excelled and the other failed. In this case, size doesn’t matter.
Company executives pay me very well to help them get clarity and then better results, so here are a few free observations and challenges for you leaders that are reading this story:
- Every business needs to figure out who they are and what they want to be. Successful businesses have a clear Mission, Vision, Points of Culture, Unique Selling Proposition, and more importantly, they have done the not-so-glamorous, tedious work of training, communicating, modeling, and eventually executing what their platitudes express.
- Business leaders must ensure that what they want to happen really does happen. Close supervision and coaching is the secret sauce. Where was the boss in the big store? Did those leaders insist that their brand was well represented?
- Does your business have a feedback system that captures what your customer thinks and is doing? Faced with negative feedback, do you have the courage to do something with it? Losers don’t.
- Since the economic recession, most business people are much too concerned about pricing and assortment and forget the other very important factors in a buying decision. Service still counts. Convenience and the “experience” wins. Information is critical in a buying decision. A caring attitude and a demonstration that the customer really matters, is a trump card. Don’t concentrate solely on the nickels or you will miss the big dollars. You probably have a few more ideas, and I hope you do. Write a comment in this blog and tell me your recommendation.
If a light bulb went on, do something tomorrow to make a difference in your business and your future.
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