On Saturday I went to Best Buy with my mother to buy her a netbook. We had done this once before, over Mother’s Day, but she had buyers remorse and ended up returning it. This time she was ready, she wanted to get connected. Now I love my mother but when it comes to computers and the Internet, she’s a beginner to say the least. The final reassurance to her purchase was that I was there to help her pick it out and would help set it up (good thing I co-ran the Internet for the Elderly program through SIFE at college, and no I’m not calling my mother elderly).
As I was double checking a few options with the Best Buy rep on an Asus, he led me over to the HP comparison. Now I like HP, I have no reason not to, and I trust them. However, this wasn’t about me, this was about how comfortable my mom felt using it. The Asus had friendlier aesthetics that were easier to use, less of a border on the screen and bigger keys for typing. And as someone who is starting with baby steps and using it primarily for learning gmail (basics people!) and the internet, that’s what mattered.
A few seconds after the intro to the HP model a man who had been nearby for sometime, interjected – oh and what would you know, he was an HP salesman. Right off he mentioned how it was faster and how many rams and gigabytes and what it can do. Shut down. He had been around long enough to hear us talking to know that while ultimately I would let my mom be the decision maker, I was the influencer.
He was selling to her, using language she didn’t know. He asked her was she would be using it for, to which she unleashed the story of a major move in her life and how she wanted to get connected, and while she spares no details in storytelling, he wasn’t actively listening. Know your customer. Selling 101 (or whatever class it was that I took). There are different types of buyers and he didn’t identify that, he had his pitch and was sticking to it.
Asus it was.
Am I scared away from HP forever? Of course not. But it’s nice to have a reminder that my people reading skills could be put to use in Sales.