‘The Death of a Salesman’ Circa 2010
What does all this mean? Are we as consumers relegated to an existence of interaction with our computer screen for our fix of consumption? Maybe not.
As a business person, you can take one of two paths. You can follow the lemmings to the cliff, as most do. All it takes is structuring your business around keeping costs low and selling low. Hopefully, enough people will see value in this strategy and you’ll make a “go of it.”
Or in the words of Robert Frost, you can take the “road less traveled.” This road might very well lead back to the business values of our parents—before the Internet. Now I’m not condoning getting in a time machine and going back to England in 1810 and joining the Luddites. Technology is wonderful and it has it’s purpose. But maybe the pendulum can swing back a bit. Maybe there is a place for the salesman in today’s economy. In fact, maybe this is actually what can set your firm apart...and make it remarkable in the eyes of your customers.
Ironically, the company most known for its customer service in today’s world is also at the forefront of technology—Apple. If you go to an Apple Store, you'll find no shortage of sales reps to help you (the blue shirts). And no they’re not just customer service reps—they sell.
My daughter spent two years on the floor at an Apple Store. Its sales training is excellent and thorough. And its service goes beyond just the retail stores. You can actually talk to a person for tech support on the phone also.
How’s all this working for Apple. At the penning of this post, its stock price was $288—an all time high.
Again, what does all this mean? In the case of Apple and its products, you pay a premium. You pay for the service. You pay for getting sold by a top-notch sales person. You pay for better design. You pay for being a member of the Apple tribe. And all this costs Apple money.