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THE MOMENT: I’m at Walmart. It’s the beginning of July and they have a large school supply display. I am standing there thinking, “School just got out. How obnoxious are they to already be pushing school supplies.”

THE STORY: I was running into Walmart at the beginning of July and right in front of me was a large banner advertising school supplies. I stared at it and thought, “This is obnoxious. We have barely even started summer and they are already pushing for us to jump into fall and buy all of our school supplies—what typical retailers!”

Then I noticed a large display off to the side that read, “Why not buy your school supplies when it is convenient for you?” As I walk closer it says underneath that, “Here are all the lists by school and grade of what school supplies are needed. Please grab a copy for your school and at your leisure buy your school supplies while you are at the store for your summer needs. At Walmart we do what we can to make life a little easier on you.”

I looked down and they had lists from all the schools in separate bins. I grabbed the one for my son’s school. The list was poorly photocopied and was at an angle like the paper got stuck in the copy machine.

My attitude shifted. I started thinking, “If they went through all the trouble to get the lists from the schools early they probably also have purchased the correct supplies as well.” I grabbed a few school supplies and stuffed the list in my pocket.

SITUATION:You are trying to get your sales team to see how they need to think from their customer’s perspective.

TRANSITION:I realized that in that one moment Walmart had shifted me from believing that they were there to gouge me for as much money as early as they could to the fact that Walmart was making my life easier by going the extra mile.

You see they didn’t have to go to the schools and get the school supply lists ahead of time. They could have said, “Our job is to buy school supplies, not to supply you with the lists—that is your school’s job.” But instead, Walmart realized that I, as a parent, was going to use the school list to make sure I purchased the right school supplies. They also knew that the school doesn’t send out that list until they have the final enrollment down. Which means the average parent gets the school list 3 days prior to school starting.

Now I secretly figured that they must have gotten last year’s lists or just made an estimate of needs. So imagine my surprise when the real school list came and it was the exact same poorly copied print that Walmart had in their store. Wow, they had gotten the list directly from the school.

I now buy all of my school supplies at Walmart because I figure they have done their HOMEWORK and I TRUST they will have exactly what I need.

That is exactly how you want your customers to feel—that you have done your homework and they can trust you to make sure your product is the best and that it fits their exact needs.


As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time.  The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives.  Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results!  Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit  www.impressionmanagement.com,  or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .