Every Customer is a Pretty Woman

Pretty WomanIn the movie Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts is disappointed when salespeople in an upscale Rodeo Drive store refuse to wait on her. The next day, she exacts her revenge as she returns to the shop laden with packages taunting the commission based sales person with her lost opportunity.

In the movie, the sales person had completely underestimated her buying ability. She didn’t do any work to determine if Julia  was a viable customer, or what her budget was. As a result, a significant sale was lost.

I often see small business owners and rookie salespeople making this mistake. They decide for their customer how much they can spend without ever asking. I have been guilty of this myself, assuming a small business couldn’t afford to make the entire investment required to meet their full marketing goal. And sadly, this backfires if  the customer really wants more, and goes elsewhere to find the whole package.

As you are qualifying customers, are you asking the right questions?

  • Do you have a budget for this project?
  • How much is it costing you not to fix the problem?
  • What is the penalty for doing nothing?
Treat every customer as a pretty woman, assume they can afford to buy what you sell, and you won’t end up the way the saleswoman does in the video clip below.

One more thought while I’m on the retail theme, learn to upsell the accessories. Maybe a client can only afford the basics now, but if they are successful, make sure they know you also offer add on products which will take them to the next step when they are ready.

photo credit: Photography {by Julia} via photopin cc

  • Suzanne Newman

    Love this! And so true. We have clients that came to us for business cards, turn into major accounts. You have to listen and figure out what they really need.

  • http://twitter.com/lorraineball Lorraine Ball

    And it helps if you ask the right questions. We have been working with our sales coach to develop a standard list of questions that help us uncover what the client really needs, which isn’t always what they say they want.