This past weekend I had dinner at a beachside restaurant. Nothing fancy, just the typical seafood, beer and burgers. I had no high expectations of the food or the service. After all, there weren’t many restaurants on the beach and people would spend their money there anyway since there weren’t many places around and everyone wanted a meal near the water. The food was actually pretty good though a little pricy. But the service . . . WAS OUTSTANDING!
Yes, I’ve been wined and dined at many fine establishments in my life. (Are you kidding? I am, after all, a Buyer!) So I do expect good service. But it’s not likely to happen at a place like this and again was certainly not expected. Maybe that’s what made the service even more exceptional.
I’m embarrassed that I don’t remember the name of the waitress, but from the very beginning she was friendly, personable and down to earth. At no time did she rush me or try to pressure me into ordering something I didn’t want. She asked what type of cuisine I preferred, then told me what other diners raved about. She didn’t hasten my selection and took my order when I was ready. She even read it back to me to ensure she had understood my order.
While my meal was being prepared she stopped by periodically to fill my water glass and let to me know when my diner would be out. And when she set the plate on the table in front of me, the food was still piping hot. That’s because she managed her time well between being on the floor and checking for meals. After a few bites she stopped by to make sure it was prepared to my liking. And even though she had already delivered the food, she continued to check on me to make certain everything was to my satisfaction. She wasn’t overbearing about it but seemed to know the right time to stop by and ask. At the end of the meal she made a recommendation on dessert which I ordered. And when the bill came she didn’t make me feel rushed to pay it and get out in order to make the table available for other customers. Eventually I left but not before leaving a very generous tip.
I don’t know if the other wait staff at that establishment was as exceptional as my waitress, and I don’t know if management was the driving force behind the service I received. But the fact that my experience was unexpectedly good I will be back.
By now you probably know where I’m leading with this. Here was a business without many competitors and no incentive to perform like they do have competition. And yet their representative treated me like I was the only customer of the day. She made me feel special and comfortable. She looked out for my best interest. She delivered on time what the company promised, and she followed up after the sale even though her commission was already guaranteed.
It’s sad that good service in our private lives is so rare. In fact it’s so rare and so sporadic that when it does happen it gets our immediate attention, doesn’t it?! We crave good service because we miss it. And we’ll go back searching for it again. As a consumer of products and services in your private life you want the best product for the best value that best fits your needs. Above all you want satisfaction. And if you don’t get it you want someone to take care if it immediately and without hassle. THAT IS CORPORATE BUYING IN A NUTSHELL! That is what Buyer’s expect from the suppliers and Sales Professionals they place orders to. Are we asking for too much? I don’t think so. After all, isn’t that what you want in your private life from the companies and representatives you deal with? After all . . . YOU ARE A BUYER!
Now, you may not be a Buyer for a Fortune 100 company, but you are nonetheless a buyer. You buy food, clothes, cars and a house. You buy electronic equipment, home services, CD’s and power tools. And in doing so, there are not many differences as to how you THINK and ACT as a domestic buyer and how Corporate Buyers think and act. And because you’re a domestic buyer, the same things in buying products and services in your personal life that UPSET and EXCITE you as a buyer, generally speaking, also upsets and excites Corporate Buyers.
So what UPSETS you as a domestic buyer? Have you ever had a bad experience buying a big ticket item? If so, think about that experience and think about the things that annoyed you going through that process. How about Salespeople who: Tried to sell you something you didn’t want. Tried to sell you options you didn’t want. Acted in an unprofessional manner. Did not pay enough attention to you. Were unprepared and not sure what to do. Over-promised and under-delivered. Were insincere and concealed information. Were too persistent or aggressive. Did too much talking and not enough listening. Failed to do any post-sales follow up.
So now what EXCITES you as a buyer? Have you have ever had a good experience buying a product or service? Think about that experience and what excited you as a consumer that made you want to go back to that business. How about Salespeople who: Looked out for your best interest. Didn’t try to sell you on options you didn’t want. Acted in a professional manner. Paid attention to you and your needs. Were prepared to work with you. Delivered what they promised. Were honest and trusting. Didn’t pressure you into anything and yet was able to educate you without pressure. Listened to you and responded to your needs. Followed-up after the sale.
So you really don’t need to imagine what Corporate Buyers expect in the products they buy, the companies they place orders to, or the Sales Representation they conduct business with. It’s no big secret. Because you expect the same things dozens of times a week in your private life. That’s what you expect. That’s what I expect. Welcome to the Buyer’s side of the desk!