Sunday, November 02, 2008

Seth on losing

Seth Godin wrote a few days back about different ways of winning and losing:
Actual conversation at a local shoe store: "Do you have dress shoes in a size 6?"

"No, I'm sorry we don't."

"We're from out of town. Do you know any place we can get some?"

"I'm sorry I don't. Perhaps you'd like some in a size 8?"

Now, what are the chances that someone who wants a size 6 is going to buy an 8? Zero. The game is over. You lost. […]

It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity to be a statesman. This is when you earn the right to be seen as a trusted advisor, not a self-interested shill. Two months or two years from now, when you interact with that person or organization again, we'll remember that you were the one who spoke up on behalf of the competition, the one who helped us find a better fit, the clearly disinterested advisor who helped us choose between the two remaining good choices.
This is absolutely true, it has happened before my very eyes.

The best salesman (highest-volume and highest-profit) at the Great Big Computer Company was a guy who would recommend products from the opposition when they were better suited to his customers' needs.

Do you think his customers trusted him? Do you think they called him back, and called him first, next time they needed something?

(Management at GBCC was furious, of course, but what could they do? He made nearly a fifth of the company's turnover.)

You can win in the short-term by forcing people to do what you want, to buy what you sell; but the way to win in the long term is to be the enabler of goodness.

Two down, twenty-eight to go.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Zhoen said...

I have run across many more salesfolk, particularly if they are the owner of a small place, who will send me to a competitor if they don't have what I ask for, rather than try to sell me what they have. And I remember that, always.

The hardsell sends me away running with my fingers in my ears.

November 2, 2008 at 6:58:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Dale said...

I think you're right.

November 2, 2008 at 7:28:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Wait a minute - wasn't that a movie from way back? Staring Santa Claus?

November 3, 2008 at 6:35:00 PM GMT+1  

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