Step 3: Discovering
Martial: “Mr. Wang, thank you for taking time to appreciate our new collections.”
Martial: “I am sure that you have heard about our brand.. .May I ask you if this is the first time you have visited us?”
Peter. “Yes.I have never seen your timepieces in person. It happens that
I have few hours before I go to Lausanne.”
Martial: “Lausanne must be so nice with this summer weather! Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”
Peter. “May I know if you already had a specific model in mind, that you
would like to examine first?”
Peter. “Not really, just show me a few pieces to start with.”
Martial: “Certainly! If you come to us, it means that you are a connoisseur. Am I right?”
Peter. “Oh, I love timepieces!”
Martial: “I was sure—just from looking at the excellent piece on your wrist.”
Peter. “We have quite a large collection.Would you like to focus on
different movements or do you have a specific idea in mind already?”
Peter. “I appreciate a good mechanical movement, for sure.”
Martial: “Excellent—I shall first I introduce you to three of our manufacture movements.”
As I mentioned in earlier chapters, there is a tremendous difference between a client and a buyer. A professional buyer always has a book of specs, a budget, a time line and, more importantly, an obligation to buy. While, for a customer, there is never a clear expectation (but sometimes there is one that exists unconsciously), rarely an existing budget, no real time line and the customer has no obligation to buy. A wedding anniversary gift could be a beautiful diamond necklace, or a pearl one, or even something totally different such as a 1-week private yachting vacation.
In B-to-B selling, salesmen will simply elicit the different expectations from the different buyers, list them and answer with proposals, most of the time, in another meeting. Here, there is no possibility, no time and no another chance to propose.
In B-to-C, since the customer is not really clear yet about his own desire, expectations cannot help you to tell what they really want. Some do not always play the transparency game—as a self-protection method from buying and in order to deliberately not divulge their desires.
For all these reasons, this important step is called “discovering.” It means that you need a subtle approach with the customer, to discover what is not obvious at first glance.
Why is Peter Wang here, in Geneva, today and in this boutique here and now? A first, and way too off-handed answer, would be “just looking” or “taking the opportunity to have a look.” Certainly—and this is fine—but why? Why would Mr. Wang be willing to spend some of his precious time looking at timepieces? Why not at something else? There are many others brands around. Why would he be looking today rather than taking some rest before his next flight or train?
Customers’ available time can be limited and they do not always shop or take the liberty to browse. Mr. Wang cannot spend all his time looking at all the available brands of timepieces. He cannot spend time looking at all the items that he may be interested in because he is a well occupied businessman.
By coming into a retail boutique, he is already expressing an intention to discover.