Yesterday my wife went to a new hair stylist for a haircut. She was tired of her old stylist for no reason other than “it’s time to change things up.” She came back with not only an awesome haircut, but an exceptional story about customer sales and the overall transaction.
When most of us go for a haircut, what is the first thing the stylist says? “So what are we doing today?”
That statement alone proposes two assumptions: 1) the customer actually knows what they want; and 2) the past doesn’t matter, only the future. Both assumptions are wrong.
When my wife sat down in the chair, for the first time in hundreds of haircuts, she was asked “Tell me about your hair.”
That statement eliminates the two assumptions that are so common, plus puts the stylist in an amazing position to learn from the customer, steer the ideas, and propose solutions to the problems. It allowed my wife the opportunity to talk about the many layers of haircolor and hair stresses she had after a shift from brown to blonde to even more blonde to reddish brown. It gave her a chance to talk about not feeling good about the results of treatments from other stylists. It gave her a chance to have a little hair therapy and give her new stylist ideas of where to go. All from one little question: “Tell me about your hair.”
As a wholesale rep, when was the last time you asked a retailer or restaurant “Tell me about your wine business”?
As a retailer or restaurant buyer, when was the last time your sales reps showed concern or inquisitiveness about your business, rather than what they were trying to sell you?
In the end, it’s about the customer. Always has been, always will be. This is why you have to pick your customers carefully, but that’s a topic for another day.