This is a personal story. I’ll keep it short but there is a gem of learning in it.

I don’t like shopping and it makes this time of year challenging. I needed to buy some new speakers and a new CD player (I know – old school but they are coming back much like vinyl did). A little research landed me at Visions Electronics.

As soon as I walk in the door, the salesman whose turn is next approaches me. His name tag says Edward and below his name, Sales Manager. I notice all the salespeople have Sales Manager on their name tags. He introduces himself and is extremely polite and attentive. He’s had some sales training and it shows. He asks me some questions about my needs, he hears what I have to say and then he takes me to the listening area. As he begins to set up the various components so I can have a listen, I mention I am picking up my daughter at the airport in 20 minutes.

No comment.

I’ve asked him about the speakers on sale in the weekly flyer I found on line. He’s going to play those for me and another set he feels is much better suited to my High Pressure Salesneeds. (I’m unsure what information he is using to determine “my needs” – as he hasn’t even asked) I get this is the classic bait and switch and I wait to see what happens next. His speakers sound better. My internal dialogue is curious about the integrity of the organization (i.e. could they have them wired to sound better?) I figure likely. I mean, it is in their best interest to make the biggest margin possible.

I mention all of this to Edward, and that I only have a few minutes to get to the airport to pick up my daughter.

Over his head.

I choose the speakers in the flyer and the only CD player in my price range. Not many options in this grandfather of a piece. Edward walks me over to the desk and asks me about an extended warranty.

“No thanks, I need to get going. My daughter’s flight is landing now”.

He continues to espouse the benefits of the extended warranty. “Edward”, I say, “I hate to be rude but I really need to go – what else do we need to do?” Edward now asks me if my cell phone is close to renewal. What? I think – and then out comes the pitch about this incredible program that could save me $100. I’m considering my options about how to get him moving faster.

“Edward”, I’m going to try an acknowledgement now, “you are doing a great job – you are obviously a great sales guy but I really need to get going.” Then he launches into a spiel about offering the customer every opportunity to save money. He’s still not processing my order. “Edward, I’m a sales coach and great sales is about offering the customer what they want…and what I really want is to get going and pick my daughter up at the airport”

Finally, a flicker of recognition.

Edwards lets go of the script, looks me in the eye and finally we make a human connection. He smiles and the rest is easy.