A Brush With Failure

A retail experience of mine just now is a microcosm of how poor selling skills can compound a stuttering sale to meander towards oblivion.

I wandered into a chemists and was greeted cheerily by the manager. A good start, he asked,

“What are you looking for?”

Mini-emergency, I was after an old-fashioned toothbrush. I was directed to the shelf-space, which just happened to be right near where I was already standing.

“We’ve Jordan, Colgate, Oral B…”

Pointing to the choices, the chap listed each available option by naming their brand. The promising beginning was fading fast.

I looked sideways and wondered if anyone had ever suggested to him to rather ask what I was looking for in such situation, instead of rattling off an obvious list.

I surveyed the alternatives. I noted that each one was labelled size 40. “Have you size 35?” I hoped.

“You’ll find there’s no difference between 35 and 40”

An astonishing reply. “Really?” I prompted for more.

“They’re practically the same these days”

I was duly informed. I decided to mix things up a bit, and smiling, stated that I didn’t share that particular view.

“I’d better not say any more then!”

He chuckled away. I said nothing. As is generally the case, he jumped head-first into the silence straight into a lost sale.

“We’ve got some 35s out the back but I don’t bother putting them out.”

And with that he simply wandered off in the direction of another punter.

Please, don’t find yourself creating similar bristles.

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