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Customer service, sales or marketing?

I was talking to someone I met at a wedding on Friday, who told me he "couldn't sell me water if my house was on fire". He gave an example. He is an engineer, who ended up in management, which involved sales. He was at someone's house with the aim of selling the lady a new vacuum cleaner. Instead, he took a look at her existing one, and made it work a lot better than it currently was. The lady was delighted, but he'd proved his point. He couldn't sell a vacuum cleaner to someone who needed a vacuum cleaner.

I told him I disagreed with his conclusion, but he didn't get it. I suspect that the lady was so pleased that not only would she always buy that brand of vacuum cleaner, but she would tell her friends about the wonderful salesman that actually fixed her old one instead of trying to flog her a new one. I think he did a great job of selling. It's all about word-of-mouth these days.

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14 August 2006