Evelyn Champagne King – http://bit.ly/1SUHV3L
At our weekly roundtable, a staff member spoke about an interesting exchange that they unwittingly happened to observe/hear.
The staffer was wandering around a local mall and at one point had entered a well-known furniture store to check out their offerings.
Our staffer was sitting in a floor model chair in one section of the store when she happened to overhear a discussion occurring between a store salesperson and a male client.
The client had apparently been, like our staffer, trying out various pieces of furniture for fit and comfort prior to the approach of this salesperson. The two parties greeted each other and spoke about several offerings within the store including one chair in particular that interested this customer.
This certain chair was a clearance item, the last of its kind in the store. There was some discussion of this chair and how it compared to other models in the store. The salesperson spoke of the superior quality of this item and how, if the customer was a serious buyer, the salesperson would approach the store manager and attempt to procure the best price possible. The only stipulation was that the customer had to guarantee to purchase the chair if the salesperson approached the store manager and obtained a “good” price. The explanation given was that the store manager was a busy person. If this salesperson were to interrupt her with this issue and the manager took the time to listen, weigh the factors and establish a final price, then it was only fair that the customer should unquestioningly accept and be bound to purchase the chair at that price.
This proviso got our staffer’s attention as she had never heard of this type of negotiation before. Apparently neither had this potential customer who also balked at this arrangement and eventually left the store. One has to wonder how many sales are generated or lost using this technique whereby the customer is supposed to accede full control to the salesperson and agrees to accept whatever final price the salesperson states. To think that all of this is based purely on the pretext that the salesperson will be negotiating on client’s behalf with the store manager is absurd.
This story elicited much conversation and questions around our table. Is this store policy? Is the store aware and approving of such sales techniques? Is the obtaining of a price a binding contract? The fact that the salesperson would even suggest this pushes the limits of credibility.
The scenario was raised that if the customer, in turn, had said that he would phone his wife, explain the chair’s characteristics and obtain an offer from his wife only if the salesperson would unconditionally accept such offer set by the wife, would the salesperson agree to such a proposition?
Overall, this was an eye-opener for our staffer and the other occupants of our round table. It was seen as wrong on so many levels….and a true “Fail” as a sales concept.