Today is my wife Katie’s birthday. And anyone who knows us knows that she didn’t get the better deal in this marriage. As I wrote in the dedication to New Sales. Simplified., she is the very best proof that I really can sell.
For the past two years, golf has become a mutual hobby for us, but because Katie is so practical (aka low-maintenance) she resisted getting new clubs. Up to last year, she was still using a Walmart boxed set we bought as newlyweds until our son Kurt showed her a review that listed her exact MacGregor clubs as the worst golf clubs you could own. So, she finally relented and accepted a set of new Ping woods and irons we selected at a local golf shop. However, she refused to let us buy her a new putter because her old cheap one was “fine.”
Two years into playing golf, and convinced it was ridiculous that Katie was still using a $10 poorly constructed, poorly balanced putter, last night I went to the golf store to see what they had in-stock for ladies and thought a putter just might be the perfect gift. While there are not a lot of choices for women, there were a few options on display, one of which was this drop-dead gorgeous TaylorMade Spider. The moment I saw it I smiled because it was her favorite color and figured that even though she’s practical (aka “cheap”) it was so beautiful that she would likely fall in love with it regardless of whether it was the best option for her putting stroke.
I gave her the putter this morning and her response was not only priceless, but also an invaluable sales lesson for the ages. The moment she saw the headcover and the grip, she exclaimed, “I love it. I’m keeping it.” To which I replied, “Katie, let’s at least take off the headcover and have you putt a few balls on the mat to see if you like the feel and if the alignment line works for you. It was pretty expensive and we should make sure it’s a good fit for you.” Katie’s strong, bordering on irrational retort: “I love the look of this thing; it’s my favorite color and I’m keeping it! I’ll learn how to hit it.” This from my uber-practical wife.
The Sales Lesson:
How well do you know your customer’s hot buttons? For two years I’ve tried to convince my wife using logic and reason that her game would improve if we upgraded from her $10 starter set putter. All of my pleading fell on deaf ears. Besides, my wife would never let us spend $150 on a putter for her. That would be ridiculous. But when I handed her a brand new putter in her favorite color that happened to cost twice that amount, she didn’t even care whether it would help her game because to her, beauty and visual pleasure trump putting effectiveness – and I guess when something is this perfect light blue-turquoise color, it doesn’t matter how much it costs! (Please picture my hand smacking my forehead in disbelief).
Sales Friends, I will ask you again: how well do you know your customers and their priorities? What are the things they want to achieve so badly, or would be so valuable to them that they’d move heaven and earth to make happen?
The experience of giving Katie this putter and her priceless reaction is a wonderful and powerful reminder that customers buy for their own reasons and it is our job as professional sellers to uncover what those reasons are!
Happy Birthday to my bride. I’ll let you know if her game improves or if she just enjoys pulling this gorgeous putter out of the bag. Either way, we both win ☺