When dealing with difficult people, expect the worst advises former BKBG Conference workshop leader, the Black Swan Group. Don’t assume that the person you have to engage with will think rationally or will be receptive to logic. You can’t read minds or assume that you can discuss an issue without understanding and accepting how the other person feels about it. Anticipate that the unreasonable person will act and think unreasonably. You need to listen actively to what the other party cares about. The Black Swan Group advises to be genuinely curious and accepting that your counterparts have legitimate reasons to feel the way they do. You have to look through their lens and position as legitimate. Once you do, you can restate their argument showing that you understand and set off a chain reaction that ultimately leads to these two magic words, “That’s right.”
With so many BKBG Shareholders and Preferred Vendor Partners celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday today, we offer the following fun facts to bring a smile or two to your Thanksgiving table. Enjoy!
Michael Schrage in a Harvard Business Review blog noted that in almost every business there are petty items that can annoy your customers, contractors, suppliers and others you depend on to complete projects. His pet peeve is standing in line at Starbucks only to be delayed several seconds by each customer who does not have their payment ready when they reach the cash register. Could this irritant be resolved if Starbucks printed one of their perky signs that says, “As a courtesy to your fellow customers, please have payment ready when you order.”
At your next staff meeting, ask your team to describe the best customer experiences they recently have had and then vote on the one experience that your team believes was best overall.
How many businesses, kitchen and bath showrooms and design build companies claim that they are quality-oriented? Who goes to work believing today I am going to be mediocre? How many businesses would claim that they stink less than the competition? Most likely, not too many, but the fact is that most companies might talk the talk, but few walk the walk. They don’t offer a quality product or service despite claims to the contrary. That’s why when a company goes above and beyond, surprises and delights us, they stand out. They become remarkable because we want to tell others what they did and why it was special.
When Hermes and Louis Vuitton first started in business, they made tools. When customers wanted a new suitcase or saddle, Hermes and Vuitton offered extraordinary products that combined impeccable functionality with unmatched performance. As time passed, Hermes and Vuitton no longer competed with other brands based on functionality. They competed on luxury or an entirely different value proposition than the optimal design of a tool.
Given the overwhelming amount of information that consumers receive daily, branding has become more important than ever to avoid getting lost in a sea of sameness. However, branding continues to be a dynamic discipline that is constantly changing and requires showrooms to shift strategies in order to build trusting and meaningful relationships with clients, customers and key constituencies.
Despite widespread media coverage of supply chain challenges, there are more than a few customers that don’t like to hear that you can’t deliver cabinets or other materials within their preferred timeframe. Many BKBG showrooms have received calls from angry customers who are not pleased with continual product shipping delays that have put their dreams of a new kitchen or bath on hold. What’s the best way to respond to these angry customers?
Trying to be all things to all potential customers is counterproductive. It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. That’s one of the lessons several BKBG Shareholders have learned by going to appointment only showrooms. Making customers make an appointment to speak to a salesperson or designer helps to eliminate tire kickers and those whose only concern is price. Requiring prospects to make appointments also enables your sales team to personalize interactions.
Acclaimed author and noted retail anthropologist Doug Stevens has written that Amazon is the quickest way from wanting to getting. That being said, there’s not much that is particularly enjoyable or mentally gratifying using three clicks of a mouse to get stuff that you need. It’s cold and impersonal. That’s why many native online etailers are creating brick and mortar presences including Amazon, Warby Parker, Bonobos, UNTUCKit, Caspar and many others.