Nail the Sale, Chapter One: A Shopping Trip of Reverse Proportions
Commentary by Carol Spieckerman,
With one exception,
the duration-to-spend ratios for my excursions to Best Buy have always
been disproportionately weighted toward emptying my wallet. Last weekend,
that got turned around.
After I had one of the
greatest customer experiences I can remember, Best Buy forfeited a doozy
of a sale (upwards of $5,000) — and they had sunk a big chunk of time into
it, too. Here’s how it went down (and BTW, I’m using the recent Best Buy
trip as an example. Y’all know I’m about patterns, not anomalies, and I’m
seeing this situation lots of other places).
Last Saturday, my just-divorced
friend and I spent two hours browsing Best Buy. She was excited about trading
her “perfectly good” (according to her dear ex) Flintstonian, room hog
of a television, receiver and speaker set-up for a streamlined home theater
system. She’d asked me to accompany her because she was “clueless” about
technology yet ready to splurge big time.
Every minute of this
visit reeked of “customer centricity.” The first sales associate deftly
guided us through computer speakers — though they were not even on my
list, I started poking around. Plugging his iPhone into the demo unit and
flashing a conspiratorial grin, he took me up on my dare to crank up the
volume on the $150+ Klipsch set…and when it came time to head to Home
Theater, his seamless hand-off to a senior associate was a real thing of
there, we were treated to an effortless non-pitch that had Senior Blue
Shirt translating the latest in TVs, receivers and speaker sets from high-tech
to low res without so much as a whiff of condescension. The more time we
spent with him, the more confident my friend became in her decision to
make an investment that would surpass any she’d personally made in the
last ten years.
session wrapped up with Senior Blue Shirt offering to write up everything
he had recommended, and that’s when the sale started going off the
rails. The five minutes that
he was gone was just long enough for my friend to lapse into doubt mode.
When he got back and began walking us through the quote, the situation
became more unnerving for a few reasons:
had previously been described as a fairly straightforward process suddenly
got more complicated. First quoted as a general estimate of “about $300,” the
installation fee then morphed into a “range” of “$100 to as high as $800.” Of
course, there are reasons for the range but that provides no comfort.
unexpected complication, as visions of Geek Squadders magically appearing
with everything — plugging it all in and turning it all on — regressed into a two-phased commitment that would include dealing with a trucking company
for the television and Geek Squad for the remainder. AND, it was revealed
that the non-TV components would need to be brought home by my friend
while the centerpiece of the system, the television, would be brought
by the trucking company in “a couple of days.” That shut off the instant
Buy’s limited selection of home theater furniture presented a problem
that wasn’t considered up until this point. My friend didn’t care for
the somewhat utilitarian styles that were present on the floor so talk
switched to leaving Best Buy and shopping for furniture first.
Timelines: There was no discussion of specific timelines; only ranges. Senior Blue
Shirt’s low-pressure accommodations gave my now-skeptical and fearful
friend “permission” to
leave the store gracefully, and that’s just what we did.
Back at her
house, my friend turned on her perfectly good TV and twenty-year-old
stereo and said, “You
know, I really don’t watch television that much.”
Questions: What are the most common mistakes in closing a sale at
retail? Which stood out as the biggest faux pas in the incident described
in the article? How can retailers make sure such incidents happen