Iced Green Tea and Solution Selling
It’s hot in Manhattan. Our bustling island is sweltering and ConEdison seems likely to wobble under the strain. So on the three recent occasions that I’ve gone for sushi lunch close to the Thomson Reuters office at 3 Times Square, I’ve attempted to order an “iced green tea”. Every time I have made this request, the response from our server, one while pointing at the menu, was “we don’t have iced green tea”. I have perfected my frustrated response: “Do you have Green tea?” – yes… “do you have ice?” – Yes… “Ok, please bring me both”, which they do promptly and watch me pour hot green tea over a large glass of ice.
Yesterday, while I was with a colleague at another sushi spot near the office, I once again asked for my usual Iced Green Tea, anticipating what has now become an automated exchange. The waiter said, “sorry sir but we don’t have iced green tea. We do however have regular green tea, so I’ll bring that with some ice. Is that ok?” I reflected on this very simple interaction. In this situation, I am the customer and the sales person is my waiter. He did not look at the menu and respond that they do not offer iced green tea. He thought about and achieved a solution to my seemingly baffling request. As we walked back to the office, I commented that this was solution selling at it’s simplest; not thinking about what’s on the menu, but thinking about the fact that I am hot, we all are, and coming up with a proactive answer to my question. I think solution selling is exactly the same. Understanding the needs of the customer and creatively working with them to find a workable solution.
Guess where my first choice is now when I’m craving Sushi? Even though the green tea represented a fraction of the total bill. I am drawn, as are our customers, to answers. Customers want to work with firms who listen and engage in this way. Solution finders: making it easier to understand and buy.