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Yesterday because our children had deserted us for a day of kites flying and eating E-numbers with grandparents my husband suggested a leisurely stroll around the shops. As we walked through a rather glittery department store (don’t you just love those? I feel they are like toy shops for women!) We walked through the cosmetic department.

That morning Hubby had watched me scrape the sides of my moisturiser and so as we strolled through he said “Why don’t you buy some products?”

What a stupid thing to say to a woman amongst so so so many pretty bottles.

But how to choose?

I spent an hour walking around each counter, being introduced to all manner of products and it got me thinking.

When we chose to buy, what is it that makes us buy?

What is the thing that tips in one companies favour over another’s?

Well yesterday sums it up nicely.

You see, there was not going to be a single product in that store that would not brighten, reduce wrinkles or make your skin glow. Every product would promise things like that.

So how then do you decide which is best?

You could look at price – but a) hubby was intent on spoiling me (and who was I to argue!) and b)I wanted products that were right for me – price was secondary – and that dear readers is true of most people, with most purchases.

So price is ruled out, they all claim to do amazing things to make me look like a sprightly teen. So now what?

I chose on this.

As I walked from counter to counter. 3 people had stood out at 3 counters of gorgeous glossy bottles.

Woman 1 because every time I went to ask her a question she went into her spiel and wouldn’t allow me to finish. How many of you know someone that in their marketing concentrates on what THEY want to tell potential clients as opposed to what the potential client ACTUALLY WANTS to know?

Woman 2 because she was insistent that I love the cute bottles and the fact that their products were the best. Everyone on the planet thinks their product is better than their competitor (otherwise why be in business?) But the fact is that is not what matters to the customer, so stop bleating on to me about how amazing you are, people like to work that out for themselves. Otherwise they fight it and run away – which is exactly what I did – note here – these products were actually the cheapest, but I was completely turned off by the experience. I was on her agenda not mine. mmmm another analogy about marketing me thinks.

Lastly Woman 3 – I even remember her name, Lauren. Lauren listened to what I wanted. Lauren answered my questions directly. Lauren engaged with me. Lauren did not try and tell me I had to clear an hour in the morning to clean my face and moisturise. She LISTENED to the fact I had 10 minutes before I legged it to 412 other jobs (a lesson Woman 1 could well do with learning!) And on top of Lauren’s genuine interest in supplying what I the customer needed. Lauren had beautiful skin. (Woman 1 and 2’s makeup and skin were nowhere near as naturally immaculate as Lauren’s)

The fact is Lauren ticked all the boxes to make the sale;

She listened to what the customer wanted.

She answered the questions that the customer wanted answering.

She matched the needs of the customer with their products.

She acted like she cared about the customer.

But most importantly she gave the customer a really pleasurable experience that I will remember and I WILL go back – now who would like customers that automatically come back?

And lastly she was congruent to everything she said, and this gave her credibility.

Mmmmm amazing what a cosmetic counter can tell you about marketing.

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