In a world where options are plentiful and researching competitors is just a click away, the question arises: why do we choose to buy from one vendor over another? For many individuals, including myself, the deciding factor often comes down to the experience. While you likely know that I am a Bob Burg fan and wholeheartedly agree with his statement: “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust.” I also believe that many of us have networks of individuals we can refer and purchase from; what truly sets individuals apart is the experience they create.
Let me share just how powerful a great experience can be on one’s purchasing decision and the lasting impression it creates. I’ve recently been looking to add a nice art piece to our home that I can admire throughout the day. After a while, my husband and I decided that we might be interested in a glass art piece and heard about a local glass art show. While we had initially intended to make a small purchase, what happened next swayed our decision.
After walking through the show and browsing the exhibits, our eyes were captivated by a particularly large and beautiful art piece. When we approached the exhibit, the artist shared her story behind the creation, the painstaking hours that went into fine-tuning her craft, and the hidden elements of detail she put into this one-of-a-kind piece. She spent time with us to answer our questions, asked us about what we were looking for, and learned our names. After our conversation, it was evident this was no ordinary art piece but rather a labor of love and dedication; that was both larger and pricier than we had initially anticipated. So, we left the show empty-handed that day but couldn’t get the piece and the conversation out of our minds. I went into research mode and learned all about the artist, the artwork, her craft, and her family.
While I loved the piece of art, I wasn’t sold quite yet. Whenever I make a purchase, especially an expensive one, I think it through instead of acting on impulse by answering these three questions:
- Do I need it?
- Do I want it?
- Can I afford it?
The answer to all of these was “yes,” so we decided to return to the show the next morning. To my delight, the piece was still on display and available for purchase, but I wasn’t going to sign on the dotted line just yet. And then it happened. The artist saw us and walked us through her sales process so flawlessly that there was nothing to do but buy the art piece.
First, we were pleasantly surprised when she greeted us by name. This simple gesture makes a big difference, especially when you take into account that she likely saw hundreds of people the day before. She took care to converse with both of us, ensuring we were both interested in the piece of art. Making the entire buying party part of the process and ensuring they feel included in the decision can go a long way to seal the deal, alleviate buyer’s remorse, and set the stage for repeat and referral business.
Now if you know me, you likely know that I rarely splurge on myself, so I did what any good negotiator does and asked if there was any wiggle room in the price of the art. Her answer was impeccable. While she had already shared about the love and time that goes into this piece, she shared that a local gallery was already set to buy this piece for 25% more than the asking price at the show if it was still available the following week. So while she wasn’t budging on price, she again highlighted the value and the demand for the product and made me feel like I was getting a great deal.
As we continued our conversation, we wondered how we would transport the delicate artwork back home. The walk back to the parking garage was easily 10 minutes, and this fragile piece in an even bigger box would be too bulky for my husband and me to safely carry the entire way. The artist anticipated our worry and offered a solution that made us feel special. She informed us of the exhibitor’s loading zone where we could park our car and offered to take it to the zone and assist us in loading the piece into our car for safe transport. Her willingness to go above and beyond to alleviate our concerns demonstrated a seamless sales process focused on meeting our needs. It was clear she knew what she was doing and had perfected her process along the way.
Nurturing the Relationship
After purchasing the artwork, I sent a text message to the artist to express our gratitude and she texted back to thank us. 4 days later, to my surprise, the artist texted and shared the news that the artwork we had bought won the Best of the Show Award at the art show. Her thoughtful gesture and willingness to keep us informed exemplified her commitment to maintaining a lasting relationship with her customers.
The artist’s smooth sales process, her willingness to address questions and concerns, and her understanding of potential challenges showcased her dedication to ensuring a positive customer experience. We thoroughly enjoyed the process of making the purchase and now enjoy the beautiful piece of art in our home.
Delight Your Customers
If you want to take your process and service to the next level, throw in little extras to delight your customers along the way. One of my favorite aspects of this art piece is the hidden image within the artwork itself. The artist added surprises that can only be seen when the light shines through at just the right angle. It’s absolutely gorgeous all day, yet when that little extra emerges, it always brings a smile to my face.
In a world where we, as customers, have many options, our exceptional client experience can make all the difference. The artist’s commitment to creating a memorable experience before, during, and after the purchase has cemented her in our minds as a go-to glass artist. You can bet we’ll be visiting her exhibits for years to come, and if anyone is in need of glass art, she’s clearly on top of our minds. The surprising part of her sales process is anchored in her willingness to show she cares. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” ― Theodore Roosevelt
So what are you doing to leave a lasting impression on your prospects and customers?