The SALES CATALYST Newsletter: September 2012

Customer service saved my life: drowning in technology

I’m inspired by you, Timothy, Mr Awesome Salesman.

You not only managed to sell me a scary unfamiliar android tablet (that I can now comfortably use ) and drag me into 21st century technology, you ALSO restored my faith in customer service. And all I went to get was a device to run my NSW hairdressing industry market research project – talk about a gift-with-purchase!
As a long-term Blackberry and PC boy, I’d taken my Apple literate 14 year old son – to interpret. But it turns out that once I met Mr Awesome, I didn’t need him. That’s because he switched his sales language to meet me on my ground.
He made it so easy and comfortable for me to buy from him.
Not only did he woo me – a professional sales trainer myself – he empowered me to make the right decisions rather than bully me into what he believed I needed, be it right or wrong.

Let me share the story highlights:
Shopping for the tablet was always going to be a case of sink or swim. On totally unfamiliar ground – no mouse, no Microsoft – I was at sea with no boat to save me. My retailers of choice were Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi; as it turned out they couldn’t have been more different in style, staff and sales technique.
Typically JB Hi Fi was noisy and heavily merchandised with an overwhelming collection of computers, laptops, tablets, iPad - you name it.
My fatal mistake here was assuming that I’d be asked some questions. No, none of that. Instead, the sales person launched into a feature based monologue, starting with … “Mate…. they don’t come with Microsoft.
To me, this was one-sided techno-babble. This left me feeling like I was dumb - not a good start - and we couldn’t connect on any level.

The next step
Dick Smith's couldn’t have been more different. With a modest and uncluttered display, the only thing missing was a sales person- they were all busy helping customers.
After a short wait, up walked Timothy, Mr Awesome Salesman.
He opened with a few simple, but pointed questions:
1.     Who was the tablet for - Dad or son?
2.     Are you a Microsoft or an Apple person?
3.     What are you looking to do with a tablet?
Ah, my saviour. Someone who wanted to know what I needed and what were my points of pain. Within minutes we were comfortably talking the same language.
Better still, he created a bridge of empathy between us when he shared his own Microsoft specialisation and journey of crossing over into the foreign android world.
When he ‘closed’ me, I asked for a better price. This can be a really awkward moment for an inexperienced sales person. Not Mr Awesome, he didn’t skip a beat.
Instead, I was led to the conveniently located accessories section and asked what accessories I may need. WOW what a pro! He was cleverly adding high margin accessories into the deal, so in turn he could offer me what would appear to be a ‘better’ price - what I would perceive as a greater discount.
Needless to say Mr Awesome made it very easy for me to buy. I didn’t even have to think about it, I just handed over the money.

The difference
I couldn’t help but share this story with you. The experience was so different and the outcome gave me the customer so much more than just a new tablet.
But you know what the real difference was?
Timothy’s company had invested in a professional sales training program. They’d been taught a specialised B2C selling method. It was one that focused on the customer.  
As a customer I am forever grateful to Dick Smith, because their investment made my experience a pleasure – one that I will continue to talk about. As a sales trainer, congratulations go to Dick Smith on a great investment – one that’s resulted in a professional sales approach and a staff member that is an the ultimate brand ambassador.

Morals to the story
1.     Feature based conversations don’t create customer interest or build trust.
2.     Well considered questions will always engage a prospect.
3.     Establishing empathy is the most effective step in creating trust.
4.     Being prepared to handle the price/discount question
makes customers comfortable.
5.     When staff are trained well, by someone who understands their day-to-day job, it results in a smooth, frictionless selling environment. Sales staff become advocates for your business. (Let alone create raving customers who write about their experience)
6.     Professional
sales training is an investment, not a cost.
Timothy is at Dick Smith, Warringah Mall, Brookvale from Friday –Tuesday. If you are in need of a computer, I’m happy to recommend him.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this is NOT a paid or in any way supported mention
for Dick Smith, or Mr Awesome.
I’m just a reborn evangelist for great customer service.

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