(Advising with passion Vs. Selling with routine)
Recently, my lovely wife and I decided to go mattress shopping. Little did I know, but mattress shopping is not as easy as it sounds – the perfect bed, it is a difficult choice to make. I remember one of the stores we visited, the associate agreed and added, “….buying a mattress is harder than buying a car.” She was damn right about that.
Imagine, if you will, the following scenarios and be thinking about who had the best first impression, delivery, why, and who you would have rathered bought from.
As we pull into the parking lot, we notice that there are two women sitting on the curb smoking cigarettes. Immediately after entering the building, they approach us in a hurry to help us make this decision. It is noticed that the older of the two women has quickly slipped a piece of gum into her mouth, misted with some fragrance, and is determined to help wipe our memories of them smoking.
Quickly, she begins asking about what our requirements are, as a couple. Then, she asks each of us what we prefer as individuals. She guides us through the store, only showing us the mattresses that meet our specifications! It is clear that she not only knows how to sell, but that she is very knowledgeable of the mattresses and what they offer. She is very open and honest, answers each of our questions with sincerity, and gives us the pros and cons to each of the beds that we show interest in. As we are ready to leave, we’ve narrowed our selection down to two beds, but one (the most expensive one, of course) has really caught the eye of my wife. Since the sales woman had done such a good job of listening and trying to understand our needs, she offered us a discount for the bed, which impressed us (and made my wallet happy).
Upon entering the establishment, a man wearing a complete business suit hurries to us, flashes his toothy, white grin, and greets us by asking about the t-shirts we are wearing. We tell him that we have just completed a 5K in support of Breast Cancer and we were participating with the school where my wife teaches. He makes a connection with us by telling us that his son used to work there and then says, “I’d like for you to tell all our school friends about the deal I’m going to make for you today.”
Highly confident that he would have the “best deal in town”, he begins with the low statistics of bring backs and the high level of compliments that this company receives. Then, he explains to us all of the beds in the store, explaining the color-coding that they use. Then, he asked that we sit on each of the beds and tell him what we liked/disliked about each of them. Although my wife kindly went along with his requests, I’d already had my share of lying down and getting up. Therefore, I began asking questions about the quality of each of the beds with regards to their price. He responded with each of the beds that “they are the best in that particular category and if you like it, I would recommend it”. In addition to some clichés (100 % satisfaction guaranteed and we do not sell mattresses, we sell happiness….etc.)
Eventually, because my wife really liked the bed from the other store, she inquired and asked if they had one similar. He promised that he would meet the deal because he wanted to “save us that money”. However, being competitive he asked us about the offer from the other store (hmmm!) So, he offered us a bed for $100.00 dollars less and was willing to throw in all the additional things that she had promised too.
In conclusion, we decided to go back to Store A and ultimately bought the mattress from her. In our society right now, $100.00 is a lot of money for some and so some people would probably ask why we chose to pay so much for a bed when we had the opportunity to buy and save that $100.00. However, to us, the answer is simple and makes a lot of sense. Sure, the associates from Store A did not give the best first impression, but her passion, dedication to the store, and knowledge of each mattress helped us in making this decision. She was not pushy and it was clear she was not worried about “making the sale”. Store B associate had an impeccable exterior and a flawless first impression, but his approach was very robotic and emotionless. He could recall the training manual without mistake, but he really made it clear he needed “the sale”.
In addition, after returning to Store A and explaining the “deal” that he had offered, she sat us down and helped us research the bed. We discovered that the bed that he was “saving us money for” ended up being last year’s model and in fact, he was overcharging us for the bed. Now, I have this feeling to go back to tell him that the other store is the winner (in your face).
Finally, I appreciated her skills and thanked her for being honest and she replied, “Simply, I put myself in my customers’ shoes and I know they will go shopping in different places and they will decide for themselves. So I show the pros and cons of each item and I try to make the best offer.” We happily (well, sort of) shelled out the money and now have gotten some of the best sleep we’ve had in our lives.