Exceptional Sales

Jim Hinshaw
Contributing Writer
Improvement Professional, President & Sales

Just had a very pleasant experience last week, was shopping at one of the big boxes (OK, it was Costco!) when we walked past the group of independent contractors as you exit.  You know, the window, AC, water treatment folks who sometimes have a person standing there to get your name and address for an appointment.  We have shopped at this Costco for years, in fact we know the manager and some of the employees.  The lady at the water treatment station is pleasant, she always asks how we are doing.  On this Saturday we stopped, since we have just purchased a new home, and we understand how hard the water is in Phoenix.  So a water softener and RO system is in our future.

Her name is Lianne, she has been at this station for over 5 years.  We talked, gave her our info, she asked when a representative could come by.  We said weekends are best, got stuff going on during the week.  She asked if the very next day (Sunday) was open.  We said yes, but did not want someone working on the Lord’s day.  She said that is one the regular work days for this rep, he is fine with a Sunday appointment.  She gave his name, and said we would be thrilled with him, he is a complete gentleman and knows the water treatment products and systems.

Bryan showed up on Sunday, he was just as Lianne shared, professional and polite.  We ended up buying a water treatment system and RO system for the new home, but that is not what this column is all about.  It is about Lianne.

I got a thank you card from Lianne the next week, right after the install.  Thanks for letting us improve your water, hand written inside and out, and had her cell number on the card.  Next time we went to Costco, I looked her up and took notes.  Here is what I discovered.  She is from St. Louis, MO, my old hometown.  Came to AZ years ago, had a friend recommend her to Costco management, she got hired on.  She knows people who shop there regularly, told me of a couple who had just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary that came in a week ago!  Still getting around, she knows them by name.

I asked her how many people she talked to each day.  She replied all that will talk to me!  No idea of actual number, she gets many who walk by and ignore her, some who say “not today”, which my wife and I have said up till this year.  I complemented her on getting the thank you card, she sends them out even if they don’t buy.  Her statement, nothing brings me down.  Nothing.  She was at her station three years ago when a woman she worked with saved her life.  The woman asked how she was doing, Lianne replied that she felt ok, but her fingers were numb for some reason.  The other woman asked her a couple of questions, said, get in my car, we are going to the hospital.  Turns out she was having a stroke.  If she did not save her life, at least saved her from a life that could have been a lot worse.  Lesson here is pay attention to those around you, and if something is not right, get some help.

Lianne said her job is easy, she believes in the product, believes in the company, she has a great job.  One more story on connecting with customers, one of the couples who bought a system had become friends with her; they were going thru a medical problem.  She called to see how they were doing, they were fine.  When she was on vacation, they called her when they missed her in the store.  A good connection.

The amazing thing about this story is that there is another woman at this same Costco who is also a sales expert, Sophia is a woman who makes bread disappear.  Actually she is one of the sample ladies who sets out small samples of the products for us to lunch on.  On this day she was sampling Spanakopita, a Greek pastry.  Here is what she said about this pastry.

• Unbeatable Quality
• Wonderful product
• Very nutritious
• Very hot, be careful
• On sale, price is also hot!
• Enjoy with friends, parties, holiday season right around the corner
• This is Authentic Greek Food
• Enjoy for any occasion
• Very delicious
• $5 off today
• Never be cheaper
• Put in freezer for a full year
• Take home a box today, even if you like to cook.
• 15 min in oven, you are ready to eat.

Not sure if you are counting, this is 14 reasons for you to buy this Greek food item.  Can you give me 14 benefits of your product, right now, fast, almost without thinking.  She is good, make that great at product promotion.  She also does the bread loaves, she can outsell the bread oven, makes those loaves leave the table.

Both of these ladies are the best in the nation at promoting their products by any measure, sales/repeat business/satisfied customers, any matrix you want to put out there.  Both are highly motivated and love what they do.  When I asked Sophia and Lianne if I could write an article about them, they wondered why.  Because what you both do is so amazing, and a lesson for all of us in sales (and we are all in sales in some way or another), not to take rejection personally, keep a positive attitude, love your products, enjoy people, and keep smiling!

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