I think we can all agree that the worst sales experience ever is the ever-increasing, randomly-spoofed, cold call on your home or cell phone trying to sell you a car warranty…a lower interest rate…gutters…or (as has been my case of late) prepaid funerals. Maybe they know something that I don’t; but I can tell you — I ain’t buying.
But last week’s column got me thinking about bad sales experiences. Excluding the above, let me tell you about my worst one—take notes on how to avoid it.
As with any sales, it starts with a need. The customer has a need and they have come to you for help. It might be an infected tooth (provided you are a dentist), the need for a new car, some counseling, or any other myriad of needs and wants. In my case, it was a television.
I generally dislike buying online and prefer to touch and feel things before purchasing them. Unfortunately, electronics stores are becoming more and more rare, so off to Best Buy I went.
My needs were specific. I had a budget—no more than $1000 out the door. I do not watch television that much so I did not need the SuperMax Resolution 9800 model to inspect the clump of dirt in a pitcher’s cleat. I knew where the television was going—on the wall above my fireplace and it was 52” wide. And from friends, I was told that I wanted LED and not plasma or other technologies because my room was generally bright. Simple, right? Less than $1000, 52” wide or less, and LED. I sought my salesperson to guide me through brands and features.
The conversation went something like this:
BB: Hi, can I help you find something today?
JF: Why yes, I am looking for a new TV for a specific spot in my house. It has to be less than 52” wide, all my friends tell me LCD is the way to go, and I am on a hard budget of $1000.
BB: Well, sure. Now this one is one of our best sellers it has (lists a bunch of features) and is on sale this week for $1299.
JF: No, I really need to keep this at $1000. Do you have any that fit that price point?
BB: Well, there is this one, but it does not have the same features and is last year’s model.
JF: I am not concerned with the tech of the television or that it is last year’s model. It looks big, let me see if it will fit.
BB: (Pull out tape measure) Looks like it will fit, 55”!
JF: My wall is only 52”, I can’t have that wide of a TV.
BB: It is only 3” wider and you are going to get a much better experience with a television of this size than a smaller one.
JF: Unless it comes with home remodeling and carpentry, I only have 52” to work with.
BB: Walks away
And yes, he actually walked away and never returned leaving me to wander aimlessly around the television floor. I did. And I found a Samsung in a box on the floor that was not on display that fit the bill based on the labeling. I was ready to pull the trigger despite my experience—because I am impatient and when I decide I want something, I want it now.
I looked for a salesperson to see if they could help me get it to the checkout and car. No one in site. Perhaps I was blackballed. I wandered a bit more and nothing. I took a photo of the box and model number.
I stewed. I got ticked off. I stormed out. I vowed I would get the television that day and I’d be damned if Best Buy was going to get my money for it. I went home and started Googling other retail stores that might help. I cane up blank and resorted to Amazon. I popped in the model number and a similar one popped up (I assumed Samsung made the same set with different model numbers for Best Buy—an old retail trick so they can avoid price matching—oh sorry not the same model). The price $899. I needed a bracket to hang on the wall-$100. SOLD! $999 out the door. I’d just have to wait a few days. As I was checking out, I got a pop up—“want professional installation for only $49?” Hell yeah I do. So for $48 dollars more, I got it hung on my wall and I did not pay sales tax on the television—sorry Maryland.
But here’s the kicker. After I clicked purchase, I was given the choice of waiting 7 to 10 days for the free delivery, or next day for free because I am a Prime member. Well sure—tomorrow. Done. Within 15 minutes of closing my laptop, my phone rings. It is DirectTV. They are contracted by Amazon to do installations and they just got word my television would be delivered by 10am the following morning and wanted to set up an 11am appointment to install.
And less than 24 hours after I stormed out of Best Buy, I had a great new television on my wall.
Listen to your customers. It is SO important.