A simple tale of conversion

Best Practices, Employees, engagement

I’m sanding my floors. 2500 square feet of wood floors exist in my home and they all need sanding. Needless to say, this is a stressful and exhausting time for my family.

So, we need a lot of polyurethane. We talked to the folks at Home Depot and Lowe’s but neither sold it in 5 gallon buckets. So I remembered a vague ad I’d seen on TV and called a store called DIY Floors. Here’s how the call could have gone and how it did go with service folk at the aforementioned stores.

Me: “Hi, do you sell poly in 5 gallon drums?”

Salesdude: “Nope. Sorry.”

The end.

Here’s how it went with the gentleman from DIY Floors:

Me: “Hi, do you sell poly in 5 gallon drums?”

Bob: “Well, no we dont have any on the shelves, but let me call around for you and give you a ring back.”

Me: “Thanks, here is my number.”

That there is an information capture and an easy way to maintain contact with a customer who is IN YOUR TARGET MARKET. He couldn’t help me immediately, but he opened to door to further communications. I would like to also point out that we were walking into Home Depot to rent the pad sander for $41/day at the time this conversation took place.

While I was looking over the inventory at Home Depot, Bob called back and stated that he had called three manufacturers. Not only had he discovered that there were no 5 gallon drums of poly to be had but he had figured out the reason why. Too hard to mix. He explained that he could get me some if I wanted but it would not be a great result and would also more expensive than buying it a gallon at a time.

Here, Bob establishes himself  a service person willing to go the extra mile for someone who was not yet a customer. He also positions himself as an expert in my eyes by discovering the reason for my problem.

During our conversation, he threw out what the gallons of polyurethane would cost and stated repeatedly that he could knock off a couple of bucks a can. I was, at the time, looking at similar prices on the cans of polyurethane on the Home Depot shelves. Prices were a couple of dollars less, but he mentioned a topline brand that was comparable in price, mentioning that it was DIY Floor’s base line.

Again, Bob showed himself to be an expert in understanding that while the products at Home Depot were cheaper, they were also consumer brands, as opposed to the commercial products he carried. He also mentions price repeatedly in an offhand way, giving me assurances that as a smaller store, he could deal a little on final price.

As I went to wrap up the call, I asked offhandedly, if Bob rented sanders. He said he did, in fact they had just purchased a dustless unit for $12,000 bucks and rented the sander, edger and vaccuum attachment for $100 per day. “I could let you keep it for a couple extra hours if you need to, since it’s nearly noon now,” said Bob. At that moment, my husband came back with plastic, tape, dust masks, and the sandpaper for the $41/day sander and the $23/day edger. I thanked Bob for his help and hung up. I told my husband that I thought this was a better deal and we should get it all for one price, from a local business person. We drove to DIY Floors, picked up the sander and several pads, purchased all of our polyurethane there and Bob showed us exactly how to use the unit.

Here, Bob’s investment in me as a customer paid off. I bought all of our supplies for the project at his establishment because I trusted his judgement (he said the new kind of sander was a great choice), he was willing to work a little to earn my business and he tailored his offer around my needs (giving me a few extra hours, bending a little on the price of the poly).

I was completely impressed by this. As an avid DIY-er, I am always in the market for building supplies. So I am this store’s target market. But notice, I am also Home Depot’s target market and Lowe’s as well. They are closer to my house, usually cheaper and I know them, all marks in their column. So, the reason I made the switch to a new supplier, a new type of product and a more expensive system were Bob’s actions as a salesperson. It took him 5 minutes longer to find me that additional information so that he could contact me again and that resulted in a sale that day and likely future sales.

Just a simple tale of conversion. .  .

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