Sales Storytelling:  An expert advice, “Do it for free for your customers”.

This blog is for you if,

Storytelling Singapore

you want to understand what separates a novice from an expert

Storytelling Singaporeyou are in sales and sometimes find yourself in a situation where the client says, “I don’t need XYZ part of your service, but I will just take A.”

For example, in a hotel, I would buy the banquet dinner but I don’t want flowers on the table, chair covers, candles, etc, because I would save cost by not having them. In these situations, because the bulk of your revenue comes from the banquet dinner, you would be tempted to say, “Ok, lets go for it.”

Well, technically you are right on the revenue part, but in the long run, everything about this decision is wrong. This is how a novice makes a decision.

What is wrong with this decision?

Here is a what I have learnt from one of my leaders, Mr. David Mansfield, Area Vice President, Operations Dubai Hotels at Hyatt International South West Asia LTD.

I have a vivid memory of selling a Christmas lunch to a leading MNC way back in 2001. I had agreed with the client that I will reduce the cost of the lunch, if some elements like flowers and table accessories were removed. I was pretty excited with my sales. All the planning had been done and the event was scheduled to take place in the garden of the hotel. It was the event day and I was standing on one side of the garden, watching the operations staff set up.

Mr. Mansfield, who was then the Director of Food and Beverage of the hotel chain I worked for, walked by and stood right next to me and asked, “How does this event look to you?” I said, “Great, we are making money and that is what we want, right?” He looked at me and said, “What happened to, how an event at a prestigious property like ours should look like? There is nothing in this event that makes it look like a sophisticated, elegant Christmas Lunch at XXXX.”

I was totally confused because my only job as a sales person was to sell, and I did. What was he trying to say?

He then said “I would prefer to do an event free for the customer with everything included, versus making money through an event that doesn’t look like our brand experience. Everyone who is attending this event today doesn’t know that the client was trying to save cost by removing important elements like flowers, table accessories, etc. All they think is, “Not a standard I expected!” For qualified customers, do it for free if it is justified and others, you decline, but you never compromise with your brand.”

That statement is engraved in my head.. I now make all my decisions based on what speaks of my brand and yes, by that process, I have many times declined work too.

There is another very important point in this sales storytelling tip – novice and experts think differently about their decisions. Obviously, I was the novice in this story and Mr Mansfield was the expert. The way he makes decisions is different.

An obvious question would be, what can we do to accelerate the growth of novices to experts? Well, start with Leadership Storytelling where leaders talk about their experiences and how they make decisions. There is also a fabulous training programme that’s focussed on accelerating growth of novices to become experts, called Shadow Box.

In summary,

for a short term gain, do not bastardise your brand

accelerate the growth of novices to become experts by leadership storytelling 

Image Credit : Stuart Lee, Flickr

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