A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was first a trainee, then a manager in a "fine" jewelry store. My first week on the job I sold several pieces of gold-filled jewelry then was teased by my more "experienced" peers. I was told the stuff in those cases was out of style and "cheap." I stopped selling it because my perception of its value changed.
Later I would also tease new sales people for selling that merchandise. They stopped selling it, too.We, the sales staff in that store, were wrong. That jewelry had a market even though it was not genuine gold or encrusted with diamonds. Our misperception of the merchandise negatively impacted the customer service experience of those who might have bought that merchandise. Years later I realized that, because of its low price points, we could have started relationships with new customers, then helped them move up to diamonds and gold. But we failed to see the big picture. (Over at Advertising Made Simple, Chuck McKay–and others–would tell you we were focusing on transactional rather than relational sales.)
Be sure that you and your employees understand the big picture of why you sell what you do. Perhaps the reason some of your products or services are not selling has nothing to do with your customers´ perceptions and everything to do with your employees´.
We also sold high school and college class rings from two different vendors. Our sales staff hated selling the rings because it took so long for the teens to make up their minds and because they didn´t make that much off the commission.
But later, as a manager, I realized that teens usually brought their parents (most of whom had never been in our store) to see the rings, either at the time of ordering, or on a later trip to the mall. We had an opportunity to make a favorable first impression on parents who were capable of making diamond and gold purchases.
I should have upped the commission on the class rings and offered an additional commission if we sold a second or third item to the teen or an immediate family member.
On the other side of the coin, read Seth Godin´s post. Then work your way back through the comments. Interacting with customers is more than just being polite. It´s believing in what you sell and committing to do your best, every time. It’s easier to do that when you and your employees understand the big picture.
(This is where I would insert the cliché, "Attitude is everything!" but I won´t– because you already know that:-)