Who doesn't love the pure innate pleasure of buying? Whether it's a magazine in the airport or the art that hangs on your wall, what you buy is an extension of who you are. Your purchases embody your needs, your desires and your unique way of being. They speak to who you are as a person and how you choose to live your life. Every purchase is an unspoken expression of what you value. So, if you're looking for a simple way to increase long-term sales, deliver an outcome that is in direct alignment with your what your customer values.
For me, it's important to have a clean, comfortable and neat home. It's what I value. I recently expressed this value by hiring two cleaning companies--and I received two very different outcomes. As a result, I learned something very important about how companies go about showing you that their products or services meet your needs and values.
I always thought cleaning was just cleaning. You know, simple and straight forward--windows, floors and linens. Bring me home to a fresh, sparkling throne with the toilet paper folded over like those swanky hotels, and I'm a happy man. Both companies satisfied these cleaning needs, but there was one distinct difference. The first cleaning company replaced items like picture frames, candles and art in places different than originally positioned. Not on the other side of the house, but six inches over to the left or at a different angle (which made me freakin' nuts). The second cleaning company put the items back in their original positions.
My assumption was that, even though the good folks from the first cleaning company could clean effectively, they were inattentive, or worse yet, incompetent because they couldn't put anything back where they found it. It turns out, however, that they were actually attempting to demonstrate a job well done--that they had actually cleaned. They were of the mind that if items were moved then I would know that they had been there and done the work. It never occurred to me they were moving things to demonstrate their work. I was shocked. I really just thought they were incompetent.
It turns out that both cleaning companies attempted to serve me in their own way. The interesting part is how they chose to demonstrate their work. The first approach was about the company providing the service. The second approach was about service for customer satisfaction. I favor the second approach--big shocker--and it's not just because I'm obsessive-compulsive about my stuff. No, really, it isn't.
It reminds me of Tony Alessandra's Platinum Rule, the alternative to the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule tells us to treat others the way they want to be treated. The Platinum Rule tells us to treat others the way they want to be treated. Big difference.
If you look at the way a lot of people are selling and serving, you'll see that they're taking the show-as-you-go approach. They're looking for a way to show off something that they think is relevant. Instead, let your customers decide what the work should look like. Go a little above and beyond and fold the hand towels like a flower. That might be a little much, but maybe not. This is all obvious stuff, right? Sure, but if it were that easy, you'd close every sales call and never get a customer complaint for as long as you lived.
When your customers set expectations from the start, you create a successful environment to serve them. In my case, the cleaners now appreciate that the candle wax gets cleaned, but the candle needs to go back where I put it. Once I expressed this to them, they even decided to take photos so they can serve me better and put things back in the same place.
The moment you create buying opportunities with benefits and eliminate distractions, you optimize the pleasure of buying, and who in the heck wouldn't want to minimize this very simple, but powerful pleasure of life? Give your customers a little "buying therapy." Allow them to enjoy every minute of expressing their values with an outcome perfectly suited to them. We can all serve our customers this way--and in the meantime increase sales opportunities to sell them over and over again.