Felicity Walker, has the delightful privilege (my words, not hers) of being Winston Marsh’s PA and Miracle Worker. So, she is well-tuned to all things to do with the customer experience and small business marketing.
Here she recounts one such experience from which we can all learn.
Recently the hairdresser I’d been using for many years closed down. I found a new one, and went there for a haircut.
It all went well, until right after the hairdresser did the mirror thing to show me the back of my head. “So, I noticed when I was cutting your hair that it was a bit dry. What products do you use?”
I reluctantly answered, and the sales spiel started.
Now, I don’t have a problem with someone trying to upsell me with a product. I let her talk, and when she was done, I politely said, “No, thank you.”
The only problem was, she must have been to some sales training as off she went on part 2 of the sales spiel.
By the end of that one, I was getting a bit annoyed, as I really didn’t want to buy products. So this time I gritted my teeth and said, “No, thank you, I’m happy with what I’m using”.
And so part 3 of the sales spiel began…
This time I let her talk, then when she was done, rapidly got out of the chair, said, “Not today” and headed for the front counter.
She still tried a fourth time while I was paying.
I know Winston says follow up until they ‘Buy or die’, but the problem was, the hairdresser was trying to achieve this goal all in the one appointment.
And even worse, when my haircut was completed, the only decision I really should have been making, given I was a new customer, was whether or not I was going to become a repeat customer.
At that moment, I was. By the time I’d paid and left the salon, I wasn’t.
It would have been SO much more effective to have skipped the sales spiel and focused on making sure I was happy with my first visit. Then next time I came for a haircut, mention one of their products. And the time after that, mention it again, and so on and so on.
Certainly, it wasn’t to bludgeon me over the head repeatedly trying to flog me products that I may or may not want the very first (and only) time I’m in the salon.
Wise advice from Felicity.
There is nothing wrong with offering the customer options that are right for her. However, the number one task for any business, particularly a small business, is to win over customers and encourage them to come back. The reward for doing this well is repeat business, positive word-of-mouth and the opportunity to increase revenue down the track.
It’s about investing time and empathy to connect with each customer and make them feel better about themselves for having chosen to do business with you.