If You Believed Google Duplex Was the Salesperson, You Weren’t Paying Attention

Many of those who prognosticate about sales very literally missed the main takeaway. To those who saw salespeople being disintermediated, they were correct in the assessment, but they were focused on the wrong party. If you were paying attention, Duplex did fine, but the person whose job is put in jeopardy is the person who worked for the salon. In a business that is very personal and preference matters a great deal, the call was nothing more than a transaction.

The call should have sounded like this:

Duplex: Hi, I’m calling to book a women’s haircut for a client. Um.  I’m looking for something on May 3rd.

Salesperson: Sure give me one second. Hi, this is Anthony. I can take care of this for you. What’s your name? And what’s your client’s name?

(When you answer the phone, you should provide your name, so the other person knows your name. You should also ask them their name, because they are a human being, and that being true, they have a name. Once you know their name, you can address them by name. If the person calling is calling for the client, you should also ask for the client’s name, so you can speak with them about that person using their name, too.)

Salesperson: What day and time works best for Lisa?

Mm-hmm. (This is allegedly what makes this human, but it isn’t.)

Sure. What time are you looking for around?

Duplex: At 12PM.

Salesperson: We do not have a 12PM available. The closest we have to that is a 1:15. I’m so sorry. Noon time is super popular today. I have a 1:15 PM available, will that work or is that too late for Lisa?

(When someone asks for a time and it is unavailable, it is polite to apologize. You are trying to serve that person. You might also offer an explanation that provides more context, so your client knows why you can’t give them what they want. Because you know the person’s name and the time they wanted, you can easily make your communication more personal, more caring. You are collaborating with the person scheduling and you are acknowledging a likely constraint.)

Duplex: Do you have anything between 10 am and 12 pm?

Depending on what service she would like. What service is she looking for?  Can you share with my what kind of services Lisa is looking for so I can find her the best stylists for her?

(Again, using Lisa’s name. Also inquiring about what she wants so that you can tailor the decision as to what stylist works best based on what is best going to provide her the outcome she needs. By doing so, you are also building up the stylist and your business.)

Duplex: Just a woman’s haircut for now.

Salesperson: Tell me about what Lisa likes? Is this a regular maintenance cut or is she looking for something new?

(I am not an expert on women, but I live with three of them, one who has a stylist that she uses exclusively, and two whose high school jobs have them working in a salon. I am not certain any women wants “just a woman’s haircut,” but I beg your pardon, if I am wrong. That said, you create greater value when you ask what Lisa likes. Maybe she wants a regular cut, or maybe she wants to book at your salon because she wants to change things up. Eliciting her preferences shows caring).

Salesperson: Okay, we have a 10 o’clock. If Lisa could do 10:00 AM, I can put her with one of our top stylists, Shelley. Shelley is amazing!

(Now, the person booking the appointment for her client can report back that her appointment is with Shelley, one of the best stylists at the salon. By the way, they say Shelley is amazing.).

Duplex: 10 AM is fine.

Salesperson: Okay, what’s her first name? 
(Way to late to ask. Too many opportunities lost)

The first name is Lisa. Can you tell me a little about Lisa? What does she look like and what does she like to drink?

(If I know what Lisa looks like, I can keep an eye out for her and greet her by name. That’s not all that difficult, because she’ll be showing up a few minutes before 10AM on Wednesday. If I know she likes Diet Peach Tea Snapple, having one waiting there for her will do a fair bit towards her becoming a client for life.)

Salesperson Okay, perfect. So Shelley will see Lisa at 10 o’clock on May 3rd. I’ll make sure we’re looking for her, and we’ll have her Diet Peach Tea Snapple. Is there anything else we can do for you or Lisa while she’s here?

(The person scheduling the call is also now your client. Because you worked to make a transaction something about value, trust, and caring, you have improved the experience. You are now differentiated. And you can now say, “Thanks so much. If you have any other clients you need help taking care of, please let me know. We’ll take excellent care of them.”

For a little effort, a great attitude, and the cost a Diet Peach Tea Snapple, you have made yourself much more difficult to be disintermediated, and you have probably gained a client and fan for life.

For those of you who believed Duplex was the salesperson, you weren’t really paying attention, were you?

Filed under: Situational Knowledge

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