MJSA Online Articles: Giving Customers What They Need

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Selling Is a Service

Give customers what they need

By Andrea Hill

Quite a few years ago I worked in an office with one of the best salespeople I know. His name is Joe and he considered himself an expert on the casting process, not on selling. But he had taken a job in a technical sales group to offer support to customers experiencing casting problems—the job that landed him in a cubicle outside my office. One of my favorite stories about Joe is the day a customer called to ask for a recommendation on a different carving tool than the one she had purchased earlier that week. Rather than immediately suggesting different tools, Joe began to ask questions. After a few minutes I heard him exclaim, “Oh! Oh, now I see what you’re doing wrong. Try it like this. Don’t hold it like a pencil, hold it like a potato peeler. OK, now draw the blade toward you like you’re peeling the potato. Feel the difference? Try that for a while and see how it works for you, and if you’re still not satisfied we’ll...