About a month ago my wife said to me, “Bob, I think we should have a swimming pool.” Having been happily married to this woman for over 41 years I could read between the lines to see what she was really saying. It would be something like this. “Bob, I want a swimming pool. I want it now. A swimming pool will make me very happy and you know when I am very happy you are very happy.”
So, being an intelligent man I started my due diligence and learned everything about in-ground swimming pools.
I quickly learned most of the companies selling swimming pools in our area do not product train their representatives. I telephoned 11 different pool companies. I only found 5 companies I had enough faith in, that they knew their products and had good customer service, to allow them in my home.
Lesson # 1: Make sure the person the customer talks to on the telephone is a good representative for your business.
The first pool salesperson came with one pamphlet and a measuring tape. I told him where I wanted the pool and approximately the size I wanted. He measured and figured and told me the price, $57,000! I said, “For what?” He said, “The pool and spa.” I said, “What spa?” He said, “Everyone gets a spa when they put in an in ground pool.” I did not want a spa. He assumed it was one of my wants, needs and problems.
And that went on and on with each salesperson. I think everyone of them, except one, assumed they knew what I wanted and what my problem (need, want) was. Because they told me what I needed. Well it was actually what they wanted to sell.
I tried over and over again to explain to them that although I did have a need, (problem, want) that a pool would solve, the actual person they needed to satisfy with the different features they offered was not me. Only one of the salespeople, the one who got the sale, figured it out and solved my problem (need and want). My problem (need, want) I needed solved was: To make my wife happy.
Lesson # 2: Never assume you know what the customer’s problems (needs and wants) are.
As I said, only one salesperson solved my problem (need, want). He, unlike the others listened to me when I constantly told him my wife wants this and my wife wants that. He wrote every one of her wants and needs and problems down and then showed me how he would solve them for her. Which of course solved my only problem (need, want).
Lesson # 3: Listen to the customer.
While he was showing me how he would solve my wife’s needs and wants, he gave me choices of solutions to pick from.
Lesson # 4: Give the customer choices of solutions to pick from. When you give a customer a choice of products and services to buy from you it no longer is will they buy from you or from the competition. It becomes which choice will they buy from you.
My swimming pool salesperson did not stop selling to me after he left that evening. The next day he telephoned me to see if I had any questions. Two days later I received a thank you note. And two days after that I received via email a list of tips on how to properly maintain an in ground pool.
Lesson # 5: Follow up, Follow up, Follow up - Aggressive Action # 22*
The evening we signed the contract for construction to begin I heard the magic words from my salesperson.
Lesson # 6: Use the magic words – “Who do you know?” –Aggressive Action # 19*
Whenever I am looking for my wife I know I can find her at the pool. She is very happy and I have no problems, (needs or wants). I am very happy.