In all the training that I have done over recent years relating to sale and marketing one of the most driven home points has been that it’s “all about the relationship”. Customers should not be chasing price, and more importantly you were taught that you should never sell based on price. The other factor quality is also argued as something that a customer won’t specifically target; it’s about the package, it’s about the relationship! Thus customers will react better, buy more and remain loyal longer where there is a strong relationship between the provider/seller and the purchaser/acquirer.
To achieve this those in the sales and marketing areas of a business are expected to know their customer inside out; who they are, what they like, what their interests are, information about their family, what sports they like, and what turns them on, that thing or things that will make the customer feel indebted to you that prompts them to place another order. The business is endeavouring to bring the situation to the point that they essentially owned you – the customer. I am aware of at least one service provider where the maintenance of the relationship involves berating the customer when there is evidence of disloyalty, regrettably, or amazingly, it appears to work.
Given the above, it is interesting to note the reaction that politicians have had to the behaviours of the staff of one of the major hospitality operators who apparently performed their ‘selling role’ to perfection. In fact in this context it’s apparently not considered ‘gathering customer data’, but apparently it’s ‘spying’ – something that purveys serious criminal or ethical implications. So why is it spying when selling gambling, but business when selling everything else? Surely convincing someone to overspend on anything that impacts their family, health or work ability is no different?
I am only too well aware of situations where people facing financial distress have been stripped of their final wealth by expert sales-(con)-men who have promised things that were never delivered, and never could be; but they made a lot of money.
Is it time to look at selling techniques? Who knows, but in the interim the process we have will continue to prey on the easy victim, and it will be others that will pick up the pieces later. In many cases it’s about losing all you own, sadly in others it’s also about the losing of one’s own life. Talk to those who try to help the needy … there are some unbelievable stories out there to hear.