When Not To Ask For the Sale

When you’re on the wrong side of a user experience it’s easy to clue into the little things that count. I had an experience with my domain provider that caused me to stop and think about customer experiences that influence choices.

Let me explain. Have you ever agonized over naming something? It could be a project, a course, or in my case a domain name. Domain names can be difficult to choose, because many short, easy to remember, promising names are taken. There’s a lot of pressure in choosing and purchasing a domain name and it’s usually accompanied by analysis paralysis, as well as second guessing.

In my situation, I had chosen a name for a website business I was considering, but after much thought (and delay) I called my domain provider and asked if I could have a return on the purchase of the domain name I chose.

I knew this was a long shot (you will sometimes have a week to change your mind, not several) so I was prepared for a “no” answer. When I received the “no”, I asked if a credit was possible (always have a back-up plan). Again, I was prepared to hear – sorry we can’t do that. What I didn’t expect was a pitch to buy another product. They were willing to give me a discount if I decided to buy another one of their services.

Insert dumbfounded look here. An ewww feeling slowly crept into my mind. This is the kind of stuff that gives sales a bad name. It seemed to be a situation of a company taking advantage of a customer’s situation to up sell on another product. I spent money on a domain name I wasn’t happy with and I was willing to live with the consequences, but I wasn’t prepared to make another purchase to solve my problem of being stuck with a previous purchasing mistake.

I’ve always had fantastic customer service experiences with this company, so I was more than surprised. There are other details to the story, but the gist of what I’m trying to share is that sales and the customer experience is part of a business’s brand.

Yes, brand is about logo and packaging and tag lines and other visual stuff which communicates style, but it’s also about what you stand for and how you communicate that with the people you interact with. Brand is style and substance. After a customer purchases something, they connect you with how that made them feel. If they’re unhappy with a purchase, they connect that to how they felt about how it was handled.

This applies to selling a product, a service, or your skills. It applies to real life relationships too. If you’re flaky in your day-to-day life, you’re probably flaky in business too. I worked for a boss once that flip-flopped on decisions like a fish out of water. It was the most frustrating experience to work for him and unfortunately, since he represented the company, I walked away having yucky feelings about the company as well.

Reputation is everything, and if you have a good one it’s because people trust you and know what to expect. They know what you stand for. They know your quality, service and value. If you let them down, it affects your reputation. If you treat them like a cog, it affects your reputation. Being treated like a cog is the worst feeling.

In my particular situation, I appreciate all of the positive experiences I’ve had with this company, as well as previous purchases, so I’m more than willing to let this experience slide and continue as a customer, though, a cautious customer.

They’re a company and I get that they’re trying to sell products and want to grow in their field (who doesn’t!), but a little sensitivity goes a long way. Negotiations and exchanges are part of life. Timing and context is everything – in business, in comedy and life.

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On a side note, I found a wonderful site you might be interested in. It’s a tumblr blog called Unsplash.com. Photographers submit their photos for people to use and the talent is incredible. The photo I used here was taken by Jonas Nilsson Lee.

Ciao, for now. F.

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5 thoughts on “When Not To Ask For the Sale

  1. […] Source : https://filiokondylis.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/when-not-to-ask-for-the-sale/ […]

  2. Hi —Glad to see you here. Coudn’t find your blog for a while & thought you’d given it up. (I assume it was due to the domain thing.) Hope you have no more bad experiences with that company. Thanks for the reminder that how we interact with the customer is part of branding.

    • Hi K! it’s good to be back and you’re welcome. I miss the community when I’m gone. I haven’t given up. Sometimes life get’s super busy and I try to take on to much at once, other times I’m waiting for the perfect post idea.

  3. I think the strategy of the company you dealt with is sound, but how it applied the strategy to you looked poorly executed. I understand that it is difficult for a domain selling company to reimburse a customer for a domain they purchased as they have already gone through an administrative procedure that means they are potentially left holding an unwanted baby i.e. your domain with no way to return the product to the cyber void you asked them to get it from. The strategy for any company faced with a challenge of an unhappy customer is to offer alternative solutions, which in this case was a discount on an alternative domain, though it appears the way they offered the solution resulted in further damage to their brand.

    • Hi Alex. I agree completely on your points, except for one. Their solution wasn’t to offer a discount on a future domain name purchase, (I buy domains from them all the time and they would probably see that in my customer file). They offered me a discount on a service (hosting services) I didn’t need. I see that as an up sell, not a solution. Even though I was surprised by their offer, I understand that it is probably standard practice. I’m just not sure I agree with the practice. Hope to see you back here again, Alex. Thanks for your comment.

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