Many years ago, during my time at Australian Container Network, I employed a sales and marketing consultant by the name of Simon Nette.Â Together we developed a sales manual that came to be known as â€śThe ACN View of Doing Businessâ€ť.Â In this manual, aimed at our employees, we spoke about the importance of a positive buying experience.
We asked – Think about times when you were out buying something and a sales person comes up to you while you are browsing and says, as they always do, â€śCan I help you?â€ť
And what do you always say back to them?Â â€śNo thanks, just lookingâ€ť.
Why do you tell the sales person to go away?Â Isnâ€™t it because you donâ€™t want them to sell you anything?Â We all hate having someone selling us something because we hate the pressure, but donâ€™t we all love to buy things â€“ things you want to buy?Â Isnâ€™t that why we are shopping in the first place?
But do you feel pressured after a competent salesperson has been able to guide you to a satisfying purchase?Â And isnâ€™t it irritating when an incompetent salesperson pressures you, gives you incorrect advice, mucks up your order or causes any number of other problems?
The quality of our buying experiences is entirely determined by the competence of the salesperson and the effectiveness of the systems backing them up.
A sales person may be competent, but if the warehouse isnâ€™t or the delivery company isnâ€™t, or the manufacturer isnâ€™t, or the knowledge of the servicemanÂ isn’tÂ then what happens to the quality of your buying experience? It goes south,Â doesn’tÂ it? And then, when the problems get solved and you finally have what you paid for, what is it that lingers with you, determining whether you want to go back and make it all happen again for yourself? Isnâ€™t it the overall experience, the aggregation of all the little things that went right (or wrong)? Isnâ€™t it the ability of a business to repeatedly deliver a positive buying experience for you, which brings you back as a return customer? And isnâ€™t it the fear of a negative experience happening all over again that keeps you away?
If thatâ€™s right, what are the implications for a business that doesnâ€™t consider the overall experience it creates for its customers? Arenâ€™t the implications huge?
You must have a rock-solid, unwavering commitment to consistently delivering a positive total-buying experience for your customers.
That means every aspect of the buying process, from placing your name out in the community so it can be easily found, to the way you greet people on the phone when they call or visit, to the way you make your recommendations, to the way you organise a the delivery of the product or service, to the follow-up call you make a few days later ensuring everythingâ€™s gone according to the customerâ€™s satisfaction; you engineer your systems and procedures so the customer experiences a positive interaction with you each and every single time.