Some lessons I’ve had to learn more than once—like the futility of shopping local. This lesson could just as well be called “Why today’s brick and mortar is being replaced by the internet.” Some of you will remember the song made popular in the 1960s by Captain & Tennille, “Shop Around.” Just when I thought I’d seen everything, the most astounding example happened this week.
Granted, I haven’t purchased a mattress in a while which is probably why I’m in the market for one now. The advantages of shopping local for something so cumbersome seemed like a no-brainer. On a walk-thru of a local furniture store whose design quality and merchandising is akin to walking through an art gallery, I began preliminary research for a foam mattress for both their comfort and light weight. I checked out two levels of firmness and made a tentative selection. Several attempts later, I was able to reach the sales person by phone. In answering my questions he said, “No, we don’t take the old mattress away but I’m sure if you call one of those places down on South Division, you can find somebody to pick it up.”
When I asked about delivery and setup, he said, “We don’t actually deliver it ourselves either—it’s sent to you by UPS in a box.” Trying to suppress a laugh, I said, “And it’s up to me to deal with this 80-by-80-inch mattress on my own?” He said it’s not really that hard and UPS doesn’t mind delivering it to your garage. I pictured our two story home with a tight turn at the top of the steps. He continued: “Here’s how it works: It comes rolled up in a box—it’s very compact. You just cut the box open, turn it upside down on top of your box springs, leave it there for 4 hours and when you come back, you have a mattress.” By now, suppressing my laughter was no longer possible—nor was the possibility of him selling me a mattress. It was over.
It took me exactly four minutes to find a comparable mattress online for less money, no sales-tax, personal delivery and set-up, with a 75-day Money-Back Guarantee. For $39 they will take and dispose of our old mattress. Oh, one more thing: they also offered pages and pages of favorable testimonials. I’ll check them out further but at this point, who do you think will make the sale?
How has the internet changed the way you shop—and sell? After trying to buy local more than enough times, I now do much of my personal and household shopping online. The last three editorial and graphics people I’ve worked with were in Michigan, Montana and California. Each one met my deadlines and exceeded my expectations. Delivering what you’ve promised and showing you care matters whether buying or selling. In short, I am loyal to people who “get it” and who deliver good service.
I’ve coached people in person and via phone—most I’ve met but some I’ve never met. For all that’s written about networking which has its place, even networking doesn’t take the place of meeting customer needs. More than ever before, whether you’re hiring a coach, selecting a church or buying a mattress, it pays to shop around.
© Judith DeLapa High-Impact 2016