Why ‘Because it’s the Best’ is NOT a Good Sales Pitch

by Marcus Sheridan

Because they're the best!As I was busy driving around in the traffic jams of Northern Virginia a few days ago, I took a pit stop into a mall so I could stop by ‘The Walking Company’, a business that sells special walking shoes, orthotics, etc. Because the plantar fasciitis in my left foot has been kicking my butt lately, I’m to the point where I’ll pay anything to get rid of this pain-in-my-arch ;-)

So after being in The Walking Company for a few minutes and having picked up a new set of orthotics, I noticed the perfect pair of dress-shoes for work—brown leather, sleek look, and just my style (whatever that style may be). Immediately, I asked the sales lady if she had the shoe in my size, to which she replied yes and soon returned with the perfect pair.

Upon trying them on, I could immediately tell they were comfortable, well made, and of high quality. Yep, I wanted them, which led to the following conversation between me and the sales lady.

“How much?”

“$149”

“Yikes…kinda steep…What makes them so good?”

“They’re Pikolinos….they’re the best.”

“Yeah, I’m sure they’re good, but why? Why are they the best?”

“That’s what they’re known for. Pikolinos are just the best.”

At this point, I knew I was dealing with someone who knew as much about Pikolinos as I did. I was frustrated and unsure as to what to do.

As I walked around the store with ‘the best’ on my feet, I ended up playing a personal ping-pong match in my head as to whether or not they were worth it. Would they last? How beneficial were they for people with arch issues? What are customers saying about this shoe?

But alas, the answers were not meant to be on that day. Nor was the sale of those lovely brown Pikolinos, as I had no choice but to hold off on the purchase until I had been able to justify spending $150 on a pair of shoes.

Here is the thing though: I wanted to buy the shoes. Heck, I have no problem spending 150 bucks if I know it’s going to help me feel better. It’s not that I’m tight with money, I’m just like everyone else—I want to know I’m getting the right thing for me and not wasting my money.

How could any major chain like The Walking Company allow their employee product knowledge to be so abysmal in this economy? Beats the heck out of me, but it just goes to show that no matter how bad the economy may or may not be, sales training for employees stinks in most cases. Education is not at the forefront of these businesses and because of this poor focus, sales suffer—in a major way.

So if you’re in sales or have a retail store, don’t settle for average sales people. Don’t allow ‘because it’s the best’ to ever be a sales pitch for anything. Create a culture of education, teaching, and passion that not only instills confidence in consumers just looking for a reason to buy, but also sets your company as the industry expert in your field. Believe it or not, such a culture shift isn’t that hard, as very few are actually doing it. So be different. Be great. Teach everyone. And let the sales follow.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Castain September 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Dude . . . You get a big fat AMEN on this!

You’re more forgiving than I am (maybe not, because you didn’t buy the shoes) I think its almost criminal to have someone like that representing a company anytime, let alone during a recession.

Final point before retiring my soapbox for today my friend. There’s another price that a business pays when they aren’t represented in the best light . . . people go out on the forums, their blogs etc and say something about it!

At that point it costs them way more than a lost sale on one pair of shoes!

Thanks for sharing this Marcus!

Respectfully,
Paul Castain
.-= Paul Castain´s last blog ..The “Twofer” Strategy! =-.

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Marcus Sheridan September 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Uncle P!! Well said boss man. Yep, these days there is the ‘social media’ influence out there as well….but maybe they’ll read this and hire me to train their employees ;-)

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Daniel M. Wood September 3, 2010 at 5:48 am

Hey Marcus,

To be honest I am surprised that you were surprised over their sales person (that was a heck of a sentence).
In Scandinavia the sales people in stores generally don’t do anything more than stand at the checkout counter or get you a pair of shoes in the right size.

If you have any questions about the product they’ll go get you the brochure.

It really is awful and such a waste of companies money that they don’t have sales people working in the stores.
.-= Daniel M. Wood´s last blog ..3 Things You Can Do That Will Make Your Customers Surprised and Glad =-.

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Marcus Sheridan September 3, 2010 at 10:31 am

Sounds like you need to open a shoe store out there in Scani, eh Daniel ;-)

But seriously, you bring up a great point with your international perspective: this is a global problem…..pretty shocking really.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by buddy.

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Daniel M. Wood September 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

The problem in Scandinavia is that the only people that get hired to regular stores are students, as they are cheap. But they recieve no training and loose the company a lot more money then they earn.
.-= Daniel M. Wood´s last blog ..3 Things You Can Do That Will Make Your Customers Surprised and Glad =-.

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Jason September 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm

The worst is when the sales associate is extremely cocky about “it being the best”….like there offended that you have the audacity to ask for any justification. Anyway, great one bud!

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Marcus Sheridan September 6, 2010 at 10:40 am

Yeah bro, nothin like the ‘Cocky Sales Guy’….that’s an entire article within itself ;-)

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Leon Noone September 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm

G’Day Marcus,
“Teach everyone. And let the sales follow.” Love that:and it gives me an idea for a blog post too! Youse young fellas are smarter than you let on.

I find that the really frustrating thing about such encounters is that the salesperson simply doesn’t know any better. They’re not the problem. There’s no point getting cranky with them. It’s their managers who need a kick up the ……..[here insert appropriate vernacular for posterior orifice]

Everyone loses. They don’t make a sale. You don’t get what you want. Such plain stupidity is hard to work out.

Regards

Leon

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Marcus Sheridan September 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

LOL…that gave me a good snicker Leon …but tell me, what’s the appropriate posterior orifice vernacular for a good ‘ol Aussie like yourself ;-)

Great point though Leon, it usually isn’t the sales person’s fault, it’s just another failure on the part of management.

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Leon Noone September 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

G’Day Marcus,

Had I said “a good kick up the bum” some of your readers may have thought I was an uncouth Ocker from Down Under, rather than the suave, sophisticated, elder statesman of HR that I really am.

Now, however, as I’m contributing to an international cultural exchange about better cross Pacific relationships based on reciprocal vernacular expressions, I’m quite comfortable using the term.

Blog’s need a touch of couth and culture Marcus.

Leon

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Marcus Sheridan September 6, 2010 at 11:02 am

And without a doubt you bring that couth and culture :-)

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phil September 6, 2010 at 10:18 am

Marcus After the summer my tennis team went to mid-westerns a few years back I had plantar facitus too… its no fun at all and it took nearly a year for it to go away, but i found out that it has a lot to do with the width and brand of the shoes I was playing in… I switched to New Balance and haven’t had the problem since..In the mean time do the stretching exercises for the plantar tendon(look it up on the net), and get a hard ball to roll under your arch every day…when at your desk or sauna…Aleve or some other anti -inflamitory is recommended and helps some too..and whatever you do don’t buy shoes that are too small or even slightly tight. love Dad ….go Mounties

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Marcus Sheridan September 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thx Pops…I’m certainly workin it :-)

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