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Friday, May 14, 2010

Tone Deaf

For years, I worked for a wine retailer/wholesaler, mostly on the retail side. At busy times of the year, like Christmas, our wholesale salespeople would lend a hand in the store. They would help customers choose wines.

The wholesale staff was as wine knowledgeable as were we who worked in the store. Their appearance in the store, however, would occasionally reveal a different attitude towards what we sold. They referred to what they were selling as product.

It is a product, but speaking of it so, using that word, misses a key element in the wine tasting experience. People at a wine shop or restaurant buy more than a product, they buy something magical, something that thrills, intrigues, and pleases. To call such a potion a product mishandles that magic completely.

What you sell may be a product to you, but to the person buying, it could be anything. Effective selling demands sensitivity to the ticking need of the customer.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bad Taste of the Week

This past week, the opportunity to attend a business seminar became available. The seminar sounded useful.

To accommodate the supposed huge demand for this seminar, potential participants had to sign up online at 2:00 one afternoon. If I was quick, I could participate in this seminar. I do not doubt that demand outweighed available places.

I got online at the appointed time. I filled in contact info, plus a quick questionnaire concerning why I wanted to participate. When I reached the bottom of the questionnaire, I found that I had to provide my credit card number for the full price of the seminar, close to $10,000, or for one of 10 easy payments of nearly $1000.

That is a lot of money to spend so precipitously.

I think the price could be worth it, though it is too rich for my blood.  I do not complain about that. In all the communications leading up to this opportunity, however, price was never mentioned. That information was saved for the last minute.

I find it hard not to regard this offering as a scam. To produce such a feeling of desperation so that I could spend $10,000 gives me no warm feeling about the seminar. I feel like those offering this seminar were just jerking me around. Is the value of the seminar so weak that it needed trickery to sell it? That seems like the logical inference.