Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just Start Pitching: The infallible Sales Pitch

I recently made a trip to two electronics stores that also sold Laptops. The first is called X-cite the second ‘House of Laptops’. I was looking for a ThinkPad, but both these places did not have the Lenovo ThinkPad with them. X-cite and ‘House of Laptops’ have very marked difference in which they approach customers.

At X-cite, when I didn’t find the ThinkPad the sales guy approached me with the question – “maybe I can help you find some other laptop; if you can only tell me your specifications, features and cost preferences”. I thought about it for a few seconds, and then I left the store.

At ‘House of Laptops’, when I didn’t find the ThinkPad the sales guy immediately started pitching me a new model from Toshiba. I have never bought a Toshiba laptop and there was very little likelihood that I would buy a Toshiba. However, the sales guy totally overwhelmed me with the features of the slick Toshiba model. It had the latest Core 2 Duo, and all the gizmos that you can ask for. It was 1.8kg and priced at Rs. 49,000, with some freebies. And it had spill proof keyboard.

The first guy’s approach was probably more scientific, in terms of collecting customer requirements and then providing the customer with a solution. However, the customer walked off. The second guy just started pitching, without understanding the customer's requirements. Obviously the second approach is much better, there are much more chances of selling a laptop with the second approach. I think there is learning in this.

What do you think?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Shashi said...

As a customer, we don't want to answer open-ended question. When somebody asks the budget, we simply can't tell between 40k-50k.

The second guy's approach is definitely better. He shows you something and then asks "is this what you want?" Now, customer is far more willing to disclose the preferences say for RAM, Disk space, CPU, price, battery etc. So, when he says "this has 1G RAM", you may tell him "I need 2GB." He keeps on getting more info.

[plug]
We use this technique, in limited way, on our matrimony search engine - Bandhan.com. We ask user very little data to start with (some of which is even pre-populated) and then give them options to customize the search.
[/plug]

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Tanmoy said...

I think both followed a similar approach in dealing with the customer. At first sight it seems the X-cite guy was more scientific, however in reality he never really figured out what was it in a ThinkPad that appealed to you in the first place. So, he couldn't propose an alternative with comparable features. The other guy implicitly figured you wanted a compact, rugged, powerful machine and could quickly show you another machine.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Mukul Kumar said...

Hi Tanmoy - I agree. However, think about it like this - both the salesmen had same data-points about me. The latter used the same data-points to deliver a better sales pitch, while the former (X-Cite) basically lost the customer.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Mukul Kumar said...

Hi Shashi - I like your approach with Bandhan.com . I think the fact is that laptops are becoming commodity, and 90% people would probably want the same config. So when somebody pitches a config, there is good likelihood that he is right on the config.

7:01 PM  

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