I interacted with a salesperson recently that at first blush didn’t seem to fit the part. He seemed introverted and was an awkward communicator.
He had two traits, however, that made up for whatever polish he lacked. He knew his products cold and was committed to helping me.
My six-year-old Sony Vaio workhorse-of-a-desktop computer has been giving me warning signs that its hard drive is not long for this world.
Everything important is backed up, so I’ve just been waiting for my old friend to give me that final, “I’m done…peace out” blue screen.
Instead of buying a new computer, a friend suggested I change the hard drive myself. I told him, “Uh…no.”
He then shamed me into considering it.
So, I watched a few videos, got my courage up, and walked into an electronics mega-store. Within two minutes, I was ready to scrap the idea.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the shelves upon shelves of options left me frozen. I was ready to walk over to the new computer section when Brian walked up.
He asked if I needed help and I chuckled, “Friend… that’s an understatement.”
It turns out that finding the specs on the hard drive of my discontinued model wasn’t as easy as you’d think. When the store’s system proved slow, Brian took out his personal smartphone and began researching it online.
As he did, he described the various hard drives he has used in his computers.
He lost me a time or two, but I could tell he liked talking about that particular subject, so I let him go.
Within a few minutes, he clarified my needs and made that confusing wall of options in front of me less intimidating. I actually enjoyed his brief tutorial.
Brian knew his products, and more importantly, had personal experience using them. He was an effective salesperson, not because of a polished approach, but because he knew his stuff and focused on helping and educating a customer.
He had me seeing that retailer in an entirely different light.
What was an initially intimidating environment now seems like a resource for information and advice I’ll use again in the future.
Financial services can be just as intimidating to customers.
How experienced are your team members with the products and services you provide? As important, how ready are they to make confusing options less intimidating to customers?
I was reminded this week that the downside of giving thousands of people advice is that, on occasion, you have to follow it yourself.
Okay, that’s (mostly) a joke.
Through my sons’ years in Boy Scouts, I’ve joked that I have a love/hate relationship with camping. I totally appreciate that there are folks out there who simply enjoy sleeping in tents.
Mind you, I don’t understand them…but I appreciate them.
I’ve never been that guy. I prefer a campout to look more like a tailgating outing than a become-one-with-nature experience.
The other half-joke I’ve told for years is that the day my sons met their camping requirements, I was going to donate our half-garage full of tents, lanterns, cots, stoves and other camping equipment to Goodwill. (Although some of that stuff may be useful to hang on to down here in hurricane country.)
Well, our older son reached Eagle Scout and the younger is on the verge. They are done with camping requirements. I’m free and clear.
Aaaand, I was sleeping in a tent yet again last weekend.
Aaaand, yes, it was by choice.
The long term health of the troop my sons have been part of is important to us. Future adult leadership is critical.
We have great, busy parents who have reasonable excuses for not going through the training needed to take over leadership.
One of the required trainings is only offered on an overnight campout, and everyone continued to have understandable reasons for not having the time.
My sales pitches about why it was important and how it wouldn’t be all that bad fell on deaf ears.
It wasn’t until I, the guy they knew would rather be doing anything else that weekend (and really didn’t need the training) committed to go that folks joined in.
Suddenly, we had enough parents sign up to double the size of the local council’s training roster.
My requests to our volunteers had not changed. My actions, however, had.
Whether the folks you are trying to motivate work with you - or for you – they tend to judge what you believe to be important more by your actions than by your words.
Yes, effective managers are usually busy with any number of things.
But they’re seldom too busy to get out and “walk the walk” with their teams.
Are your actions backing your words today?