Freshly awake from the early wake-up call from the hotel’s front desk, I began to get dressed and ready for my morning presentation. Going over the material in my head, I felt more than confident about the upcoming training session. Then, suddenly, my confidence was shattered. Reaching for my socks and shoes, I realized I had accidentally packed one brown and one blue sock. I was mortified. Surely everyone in the audience would think I looked like a clown. I searched my mind for the right excuse to explain my mistake, but, sadly, couldn’t think of a single good one. I crossed my fingers and hoped the audience simply wouldn’t notice. When I arrived at the training and introduced myself to the audience, I suddenly felt an overwhelming need to admit that I was wearing mismatched socks. I lifted my pant legs, baring the unsightly duo to my audience. I wasn’t sure if their laughter was from my mistake or the fact that I had felt so compelled to admit it upfront. Long after the morning’s session was complete, I found myself wondering if anyone would have noticed my socks had I not pointed them out. After all, my pants stretched way beyond my ankles. If I had simply ignored the small detail, perhaps I could have gotten away with it. However, I felt as if I had to tell the audience about my socks, as if they were waiting for me to bring it up.
Spilling the truth immediately gave me a strange sense of relief. In business, we fall victim to this mentality every day, even though we may not realize it. When someone makes a simple inquiry about our products or services, we feel compelled to bring up price, quantity discounts, or our company’s policies on minimum orders. The customer doesn’t bring it up, we do. We call attention to the one thing we hate to talk about the most – price. As a customer, there have been too many times that my buying experience has been steered by price. Without any indication that I was trying to save money, I have been led to the clearance items. I have had salespeople worrying about whether or not I would take advantage of their current special offer. I have called a business and been quickly informed that there is a minimum order requirement, although I hadn’t intended on making a small order. These instances leave me puzzled. Even more puzzling is that these same salespeople are the ones who think their customers are obsessed with price and discounts, when, in reality, they are being steered that way.
Customers are simply looking to fill a need. That need is the focus and purpose of their decision to buy, and if salespeople would remain quiet and let the customer talk about what matters to them, they would clearly understand what motivates them to buy. Instead, salespeople throw down the rudder and steer the conversation straight into the choppy waters they would rather avoid. There’s no easy answer as to why they do this, but perhaps it is for the same reason I felt compelled to admit to my audience that my socks did not match. I thought it was what my audience was thinking about and wanted me to talk about, when really they were thinking of something much more important – my message. There are certainly times when price is relevant, or when a special deal on a product is worth mentioning. However, let these topics come up naturally. Customers are not obsessed with price. It is the salesperson who is insecure about price that forces it onto their customers, bringing unneeded attention to an overrated issue. Stop looking down at your mismatched socks.. Custom Fuzzy Socks