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Selling Not Helping

I'm inspired to write this blog because of an experience I had this week. A woman, from a company that I will not name, contacted me via email. She knew we did some on-line advertising (pay per click) with them. She offered free help for 4 weeks to look at my account, make suggestions and make any necessary changes. I was so excited that I wrote back right away and scheduled a phone meeting.  Knowing that it might turn into a "paid" service later, I was undaunted because I figured that if what she did helped me, I'd be happy to pay for future service.

That is where this story goes wrong. Not more than 1 minute into the conversation, it became clear that this specialist was not looking to help me with my existing accoutn but wanted to make an additional sale.  My husband saw my face while I was on the phone so I wrote out on a big piece of paper:  "Selling Not Helping"

Yikes, the lesson I learned.... well, there was no lesson. I'm not going to assume the worst when someone offers help but it really did make me think about myself, my employees and my own business. I thought long and hard, do I ever do that to anyone? Is there ever a time when I promise help but then not really come thru for them? I tried to be honest with myself and the answer is no.  Do things sometimes go wrong? Of course they do.  I've put in my request for a perfect world but it's still on back order. But day in and day out, I feel we are honest and upfront about what we can do, what we will do and what it will cost.

It reminds me of a saying that the hubby and I learned from Larry Winget. If you have never heard of him or read his books you are missing out on both a unique perspective and a good chuckle. Larry says that in all things in life you should follow this golden rule: Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it.

She sent an email offering help to entice me to respond and had no intention of doing so. As a matter of fact, she seemed a bit nervous when I read the email back to her. Shame on her and the company she works for. I believe in the long run, an attitude like that will never result in good sales for them. Even though it put me in an awkward position it was worth the thought it inspired. I need to make sure that my staff and I are always helping first and selling second.  In the long run that's good business.

Not more than a day later, we were presented with an award for outstanding achievement. We are only 1 of only 2 stores in New Jersey to receive it. You can imagine that we were all pretty excited about the honor. Yup, good old Larry has a great lesson, one that we'll continue to follow.

Did that sales rep sell me any more advertising? Nope, as soon as I got off the phone, I actually lowered what I spend with them by 1/2. Was it a good thing to do for my business right before the holiday? Probably not but it sure did make me feel good!!  
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