Imagine going to the electronics store to purchase a new computer. Even for the technogeeks, this can be a daunting task. Every person has specific needs for hardware, software, and peripherals. You need processor power and memory, but it is hard to figure out just how much based on your specific computer activities. You need a printer. But a casual letter writer without a digital camera does not need a photo quality printer. You need software to write your letters, but you may not be that concerned with fancy formats, exotic fonts, or merging documents- or maybe you are.
Not every person is a technogeek, so they may not want to invest six months of research just to make an informed choice on a new computer. This is where the salesperson comes in.
Have you ever dealt with a salesperson that allowed you to truly make a better choice about the product you are buying? Maybe the computer purchasing scenario isn't the best scenario for everyone to remember a salesperson like this, but it is a scenario that most computer users can identify with. Unfortunately/fortunately the PC market has driven the manufacturing and distribution costs of computers into a penny shaving business. In most computer outlets, salespeople aren't paid handsomely. This is good for us in some ways, because if you know what you're doing you can buy a rocking machine for very little money. The downside is that we all encounter the typical salesperson at Best Buy, Circuit City, Home Depot, or Lowe's who, when asked a question about a product on the shelf, immediately picks up the box to read and gather information.
Wait. Stop, dude. I can read, quite possibly better than you. If you don't know the answer, then either say "I don't know" or call someone who does. Okay?
Enter the value added salesperson. He doesn't come cheap, unless he's a college student or is not ambitious. This is the person that asks you questions for ten minutes about your computing needs before he begins to make suggestions. The person who you automatically know you can trust, because he wants to make the sale only to someone that really needs what he is selling. This person actually adds value to the product that he is selling.
Take yer pick. Go to Best Buy (really cheap American electronics retailer with uninformed salespeople, just in case you're not familiar with them) and pay a really cheap price for a product that may not be suitable for you, after you've invested countless hours researching so that you can make an informed purchase. Or go to Joe's House of Computers and pay a little more and deal with a salesperson who truly guides you to what you need.
At the end of the day, good salespeople add value to the products that they sell because they:
- Help their customers make the best choices
- Provide service after the sale, like helping the customer navigate the seller's organization if they need support or repairs
- Reduce the amount of time that a customer needs to spend researching
- Often provide information on competitive products
- Are willing and capable to provide economic impact analysis on the use of their product
- Make your experience less stressful
Salespeople are often reviled by society because there are a lot of really crappy salespeople out there. You know when you get a good one. That's the one to keep.