Since I arrived here, I have experienced very "strange" situations from a sales and marketing perspective.
Let's talk about sales people in store. First, I have noticed that greeting or even smiling in stores are not the strength of French sales people. This isn't necessarily true everywhere, but it wouldn't hurt revenue to be a little more cheerful. My first example is in a cosmetic store where I was accompanying someone, that we will call "the client". There, I witnessed some very awkward situation with a sales person. The client was really willing to buy stuff, and not only one product, but various, and she wanted some advice as well as guidance. This was a piece
Picture from Wiki Commons, David Shankbone
of cake for the sales person. She had in front of her a secure sales! While she was explaining the benefits of different moisturizers to the client, she showed a product that she highly recommended. Until then, everything was good, but the client commented that she didn't like the jar concept for a cream. Indeed, for her, the jar presented some issues, and mostly she didn't consider it to be hygienic. What would you have done? Ok, the client have a strong belief about jars, so let's get her the same nice or pretty similar kind of expensive moisturizer in a tube, and add some more other cosmetics as she is in the mood to buy, right? Well, it didn't go this way. Instead, the sales person answered that the jar comes with a little spatula and it was indeed very hygienic, she even demonstrated it. Not only did she contradict the client, but she was also trying to convince her. I couldn't believe it. If a client is deeply convinced or have strong beliefs regarding a detail regarding the format of a product, but not the product itself, just find a way to sell this product in another format. As I said, the client was there to buy, so it wasn't that bad, the sales was not lost but take a person coming to get advice on what to buy, well this kind of attitude won't make a sales. This might seem a little detail for some people, but for me, it is essential that sales people inform, guide and please the client. If a sales person wants to make a point, then give the client a sample and give it some time, don't go against strong beliefs.
Picture from Wiki Commons, User Mattes
unexpected. So, let's go back to our client in the cosmetic store. She was going to pay for her products and is part of the store loyalty program. Apparently she received at home a 20% off coupon to use for her purchase but didn't have it with her. Well, the cashier - with the client account on her screen - wasn't able to say if, indeed, the client "earned" this kind of coupon. She had to ask the manager to know if she could make the discount. Really? What is your loyalty program for? What kind of data does your system store? Are you not able to tell if a client does have a 20%off or 10$ off coupon valid? I was very surprised and wondered if their loyalty program and their system were efficient or even profitable for the company.
And what about you don't bring your loyalty card with you? In the supermarket I went, the cashier had no way to find me. Ok, I forgot the loyalty card of someone I know, so it wasn't my account, but still I felt frustrated. It's then irrelevant and not really important, as well as the two examples above, it's a detail, but devil knows a detail is important!
These examples do not speak well of sales and marketing services in France but I don't want to generalize. Still, details, details, details, make them count!