Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero
The lady who worked at Sears Optical wasn’t having any of it. She was done with the client who had just come in to pick up his new pair of eyeglasses. He’d tried them on and they worked fine. But then he began going on about why he needed the new glasses. His dog had chewed up his old pair. Chewed them up so badly there was hardly anything left of them. “Uh huh,” she said dismissively, standing up to give him that body language, “we’re done talking” signal.
And why not? To her, the transaction was done. But he went on about the dog, about how he ate a lot of things but now it wouldn’t matter anymore if he ate his eyeglasses again because he’d just bought insurance for this new pair so they’d be covered if the dog devoured them, as long as he left a remnant he could bring in as proof.
“Okay,” she said, cheerfully and a bit loudly. Finally, the guy looked up, embarrassed that he’d been going on and on.
I felt she was missing out on something. He was telling her a lot about himself, about the “why” of why he’d come to her place of business. He was giving her a glimpse into his life. If she’d spent just a few minutes, face to face with him, she could probably have sold him another pair of glasses, how about for those days when he took the dog out for hikes and didn’t need the $450 style he’d just purchased, but perhaps a back-up pair with plastic frames? At any rate, why would she not take the opportunity to converse with him? Selling someone some plastic apparatus to wear on their face is a pretty personal thing, after all and there’s no doubt he’d need another pair in at least a year’s time.
How about you? When your client completes a transaction with you, does their happiness about their purchase spur them to start speaking animatedly about what this trip really means to them? Are they finally telling you the “why” of the vacation when this is a conversation that you should have had before you swiped their credit card and sent them on their way? The more you listen to a client, the more insight you have into their world. And the good thing is, you can sell them more than a pair of glasses. You can take that meager travel package they asked for—after they saw it on the back page of the Sunday newspaper and—expand upon it so that it becomes their dream trip and they have memories to last for years. Is it their anniversary? Do they need pampering and wellness because they’ve been very ill? Do they want to reconnect with their daughter who has five kids and has just gotten divorced? (Surely there’s a future multi-generational Disney vacation in the future for this client).
You’re very busy. But when your client, sitting across from you, takes a deep breath and starts talking about their trip and all you can do is stare at them and wish they would leave so you can get on with it, think again. They’re giving you the opportunity to truly enhance the transaction, and the experience, and all you need to bring to the table is a bit of camaraderie and good listening skills. Be sure to get to this point before you’re ready to bid them adieu. Make them feel giddy and relieved that they’re there with you at the onset so you’ll have plenty of time to craft a perfect trip. Remember, it’s not just about the transaction, it’s the experience you’re selling them.