The other day my wife and I were in the market for a new piece of equipment for an addition on the house. I knew that the price can vary pretty widely depending on the business. I wanted to make sure that I did some price shopping before making a purchase.
The first step of the process was to determine the right kind of product to meet my need, and that required a professional to take the measurements and make right recommendations.
I started off by doing a quick google search to find a location that sold what we needed. I gave them a call and made sure someone could give me the necessary recommendation. They encouraged us to head on over and look through their showroom.
So far so good.
After a quick drive across town, we arrived at the showroom and approached the front desk. We got our name in to see a consultant and made sure that they understood we were just looking for a measurement recommendation and a price check. We sat down and waited our turn.
Then things went downhill.
After a few minutes, the consultant-led us to their office where we reviewed different options for the house. Quickly it became evident that the consultant was under the impression that we were just there to make a purchase. My wife clarified that we were first and foremost there for guidance regarding which product to purchase, and then we wanted a quote on what they had in stock.
The consultant stopped in her tracks and stared at us for a few seconds, only to let out a slow, “….Oookay.”
“Is something wrong?” I asked, confused by the sudden apprehension.
She stood up and grabbed her measuring equipment and said, “Well, I’ve just never had someone come in just for a recommendation and a quote.”
“You’ve never had a customer collect prices and compare?” My wife asked.
“Nope. Never.” She said, bluntly. “I also don’t think it’s fair that I will do this work and not get the sale.”
For some reason, we began to reassure her that we still may purchase from the business. She just reiterated how offended she felt that we would ask for a quote rather than blindly purchase an expensive item.
After a few more exchanges with the consultant, we decided to leave without either the measurement recommendation or a quote. For the rest of the day, I was frustrated and stunned by the blatant disregard for the purpose of their business’s service. But as insulting as the experience was, it was also insightful.
Don’t Focus on the Sale
I realized that the treatment my wife and I experienced at the company’s showroom caused me to have a very specific reaction. Not only did we not want to work with this business, we specifically wanted to not work with them. It was not a pull to another agency, but a repelling away from that experience that now influenced our purchasing decision.
You see, if I organically decided to go with the competition, I would have been making a choice between two observedly good options. I would still feel comfortable referring to both companies for future purchases. However, the spirit of selfishness at the company caused our decision to be made out of principle. Even if they had a cheaper price, I still would have gone with another company.
Selling is not about making one transaction. It is about building a relationship and investing in your customer-base.
This difference in motivation is vitally important for every business owner to be able to understand. It is not just that a customer chose another company over you, it may be that the choice was specifically to not work with you, thus they went with your competitor. Selling is not about making one transaction. It is about building a relationship and investing in your customer-base.
Every experienced businessperson understands that helping and giving incentivizes the customer to want to purchase from you. I mean, come on, if you are willing to give your time, energy, and even products, then what you have for sale must really be of value. Right?
Give To Get
If the consultant approached us with a spirit of giving, truly wanting to see us get the best product for our needs, then we would have wanted to buy from them. Because her motivation was focused on what she can get out of the interaction, she set herself up to fail.
No matter what market you are in, you will work against your best interest if your motivation is money. Instead, focus on improving the lives of your customer-base.
I’ve always heard that giving is receiving. I never realized that lesson was so business-savvy.