D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — A Romantic Tale of a Garage Door Sale

© 2007 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2007
Author: Scott O’Neill
Pages 64


A Romantic Tale of a Garage Door Sale
How Loving Your Customer Can Improve Your Company’s Sales

By Scott O’Neill

A customer recently told me that he loved our company.

What do you say to that? “Yeah, I love you, too”?

A Love Story

Here’s the story. The customers, Lisa and Michael, had called about garage doors some weeks back. Lisa and I met, and I advised her on the pros and cons of what she and her husband were considering.

They wanted custom wood garage doors because their garage had so much visual impact on the house. They also wanted to match the style of their beautiful new front door.

After I offered tie-in design advice on a variety of wood species, they were ready to buy. But budget was a concern since they had done recent remodeling. They also had a two-car and a one-car door to buy.

Uh-Oh … A Wood Expert

They decided to compromise and chose a more cost-effective stain-grade wood. But after the doors were installed, the husband was really upset. It turned out that he’s a wood furniture broker with high expectations of what wood should look like.

The day after we installed the doors, Michael sent us frantic phone messages and e-mails. He was adamant that we not charge his credit card until a remedy was made.

Addressing the Problem

I immediately called him as my first task for the day and asked him to expand on his concerns. He told me item by item his apprehensions and problems with the product.

The problems were in the facing of the doors, which consisted of a marine mahogany plywood that can be stained. The mahogany trim boards had color and grain variations and natural wood imperfections.

I offered no excuses or defense, letting him know that we, along with our manufacturer, would find a remedy with him. We met and discussed the possible solutions, ensuring that Michael would be happy with the approach to the resolution, not just the resolution.

The Art of Loving Your Customer

I recently learned that this is part of the art of loving your customer. Ross Shafer talks about this in his book, “If People Love You, They Give You More Money.”

Shafer says, “Customers respond to bad service with the same hurt and emotional triggers they experience in a bad personal relationship. If you ignore them, they feel unimportant. If you second-guess them, they feel defensive. If you dismiss them without satisfying them, they get angry.”

Before offering any remedy, we first contacted the manufacturer to find out what they were able to do. They offered to replace some of the boards on the doors, repair or patch some imperfections, give money back, or even replace the entire garage doors.

After I explained the options to Michael, he and Lisa took a few days to decide. They finally asked to have the single door replaced, and they accepted some minor natural imperfections on the double door.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

Michael followed up yesterday saying that he could not believe our willingness to satisfy him in any way possible. His main compliment: “You guys never tried making excuses or blaming anything/anyone. Instead, you offered many choices and solutions to make me happy.”

He is already telling his friends and family of our approach, and we’ve received three interested calls for custom doors as a result. This was remarkable considering that Lisa and Michael’s initial search involved five different garage door companies.

[As a side note, we decided to use that replaced door in our showroom as a way to display wood board variations. With a little sanding, we’ve got a great display for the less-expensive wood product.]

Straight to the Heart

In the end, the art of selling is about looking at your customer as a human being with feelings. If you allay a customer’s concerns, you get to the true core issues that affect emotional reactions.

When you do that, you get the most from anyone. And it results in a customer who wants to buy from your company, recommends it to others, and even becomes a repeat customer.

Ah, yes … another love story with a happy ending.