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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.

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