When was the last time you were blown away by someone trying to sell you something?
That long ago, huh? Maybe never?
With the ever-increasing ability to serve ourselves in the pursuit of purchases, as buyers, we’ve been putting a lot of distance between us and sellers until we’re really sure we need someone to help us finish the job.
Thus, over the last 10 to 15 years, the focus of our “razzle and dazzle” as business people has been in the digital arena. Giving potential customers a stellar first impression through websites, emails, and social media is critical now as that’s how many people first “enter” and “encounter” your business.
So, when we have a really incredible experience in person, it’s now rare and extremely memorable.
While many salespeople aim for that memorable “razzle-dazzle” experience, why are we failed to be impressed?
Because most of the focus is on the product or the company, not the customer.
I can look at the last few purchases as a business owner or consumer and think about how the salesperson failed to impress me because they were looking through their own lens and not focusing through mine.
Recently, I toured an open house with a friend who is relocating, and from the moment we hit the door on our way into the, “uh-huh, I’ll be in touch” at the end, the agent was pointing out the features of the home: “The bathtub is jetted for those long luxurious soaks,” and “the backyard has been perfectly planted and tended to by a master gardener,” and “just look at this gorgeous wet bar for entertaining.”
Features are intrinsic to the product but benefits are intrinsic to the buyer.
My friend is a working mom of 3 children under 10 whose husband is a pilot and is gone several days a week. Luxurious soaks in a tub were eye-roll worthy for her. She’d kill the yard from neglect in six months, and the only action that wet bar would see would be drink boxes and string cheese.
The realtor missed the opportunity to impress this buyer because she couldn’t relate any of the features in context to my friend’s life.
What truly IMPRESSES us is when we’re featured and made THE focal point of the buying experience.
Contrast that story to my recent visit to the orthodontist. This was the first visit for an evaluation of my daughter. When we rolled up to the front doors, my daughter grabbed my arm and said, “Mom, that’s me!” Sure enough, there were “Welcome” signs on the front door with the first name of today’s patients on them.
Okay, this has my attention and I’m getting the warm and fuzzies.
Next, we checked in at the front desk where all we did was tap a tablet with our initial on it. That’s all it took because I had already conveniently completed the paperwork online so we were able to quickly take a seat. The waiting room was beautiful and bright and against the wall was a coffee and tea pod brewer, a fridge with water, and a Dippin Dots ice chest.
Yes, this office has delicious pearls of ice cream for patients.
The sign announced you get Dippin Dots on your first braces day, after so many visits, or for donating to a local nonprofit. Of course, my child was begging me for $5 to donate.
Very shortly after we sat down, the patient coordinator came and greeted us both by our first names and took us on a tour of the office. “Here’s where you’ll come and brush your teeth when you arrive. No need to bring a brush. Use these disposable – they’re loaded with toothpaste already. And here’s the open patient bay. You’ll probably see your friends here sometime as most everyone will go through braces at some point.”
The staff wasn’t dressed in scrubs. They looked straight out of Banana Republic. Attractive, relatable, and friendly. They clearly thought about how to take patients through the practice so they could see themselves in the experience. And they were also EXPERTS at how to read both me, as a mom, and my daughter as the patient. They warmed her up and got her to open up and trust them quickly. She went from nervous to talk about her love of volleyball and cat videos in no time.
This doesn’t happen by accident. They chose to impress us by putting their patients at the heart of how they designed the experience they offer.
I worked with my staff to do something very similar when I was a GM leasing temporary office space to clients. We’d prep for who was coming in to tour by talking about what might impress them if they were officing with us. When they arrived, the staff offered them water or coffee and engaged them by asking them specific questions about their business. When I arrived, I purposely asked them AGAIN if we could get them coffee or water. We wanted them to understand how we would make them look good and make their guests feel important and special when they chose us.
When they arrived in my back office, their names were on our big screens for the virtual tour and we would even go so far as to program their name on caller ID when talking about phone and security features. We’d call the front desk and the service reps would answer with the prospects’ personal customized scripts – just as they would if we were already working for them. We walked them upfront and showed them the behind-the-scenes of how all this worked for them.
Impressive, yes. Effective, YES!
We could have demonstrated those same features in a tour by listing them off. What made this “selling” so incredibly successful was that the customer felt important and special. They likely had no similar experiences when looking at other office options and they could understand clearly how we could and would be an extension of them and how our features would clearly benefit them.
Just as it’s critical to have your digital experience represent the best of you, so are those physical first impressions.
How can you put mega distance between you and your competitors?
- Create an experience that’s all about your customers.
- Focus your efforts through their specific lens.
- Demonstrate your features in a way that is relatable and in context to them – not ONE SIZE fits what you think it should
- Make them feel important and special.
- Give them a preview of what it’s like to work with you.
Phoning in these moments does NOT make it any easier for your buyers to choose you. Be extraordinary and show them how much you WANT them to choose you.
Remember that scene where Rod Tidwell had Jerry Maguire screaming into the phone, “Show me the money” – it was only partly about the money, right? Rod wanted someone who was willing to fight for him, to go the distance, to put himself out there for him, and yes, to make him feel important and special.
That’s what we all want to feel from people whom we’re going to trust with our time, our energy, our money, and our resources.
Impress your buyers. Thrill your customers. Make them the stars of your show and they will show YOU the love (and yes, the money too)!
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!