Salespeople, I Can’t Believe We’re Still Talking About This

Brass Tack Thinking - Salespeople I Can't Believe We're Still Talking About ThisRecently, I had to purchase a rather expensive piece of medical equipment. And I needed it quickly.

So, I researched online, and within a day I’d determined what I needed, how much I was going to have to spend, and was prepared to make a purchase.

I contacted one company through their website. They wouldn’t give me ordering information online, I had to fill out a form and have someone contact me.

Ok, fine, I’ll roll with that for now.

The company got back to me quickly enough; I’d put through my inquiry on a weekend and got a phone call on Monday morning.

I spoke with the rep about my needs, my urgency (I was very careful to indicate that this was something I needed sooner rather than later), and my clarity about what I wanted. I also indicated that I’d be willing to make the purchase up front myself and submit to the insurance company for reimbursement rather than waiting for lots of pre-approvals. I also told him I had also verified in advance with my insurance company that this was an acceptable arrangement.

So, he tells me that he’s going to:

  1. Email me pricing and purchase information
  2. Check with their billing department about insurance
  3. Get back to me quickly.

I didn’t hear from him for over a week. [Read more…]

The One Thing That Smart Businesses Never Do

The One Thing Smart Businesses Never Do - Brass Tack ThinkingSmart businesses don’t make it difficult for people to leave.

The games, the gimmicks, the “hide the cancel button”, the hard “please don’t go” sales routine. Does it work? Maybe, technically. You might get some people who will be too frustrated to go through the brain damage and they’ll sit there paying you every month for a while. (If that’s your definition of “effective”  then you’ve probably got deeper business ethics issues than a blog post can solve, anyway.)

But eventually, if a customer is determined to leave, they’ll find out how to do it. And they will resent the hell out of you for making it hard for them to do so.

When we decide to stop doing business with a company for whatever reason, making it hard for us to do it doesn’t prevent us from leaving. Burying your “cancel account” links, forcing your customers to talk to a “retention representative” before you’ll cancel something, leaning hard on contract cancellation dates to squeeze every last dime out of a client…those things don’t give us a sudden epiphany that causes us to say “Ah, you’re right! What was I thinking? Go ahead and keep charging me.”

It just pisses us off. [Read more…]

Keep Your Standards High

Keeping Your Standards High - Brass Tack Thinking
The coffee table I’ll never have – image (c) Pottery Barn

I had fallen in love with a coffee table.

This seems like a small thing, but after I’d been looking for months to find one I really loved to complete my living room, it was a minor triumph. The winning table was found online at Pottery Barn, quite honestly somewhere I’d never really identified with as a shopper. But lo and behold there it was, and I couldn’t deny it.

The base was three steel, worn library flat files. The top was a big slab of reclaimed wood, and the whole thing was set on big, clunky steel casters. (That’s it over there on the right). It was perfect. And I agonized over the price ($899) but eventually ordered it anyway.

The table was backordered (it was new to the inventory). So I waited patiently. And waited. And waited. Until the call came… [Read more…]