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Editorial: Three Sales Lessons From The Apple Store |  June 10, 2015 (0 comments)


Merrick, NY—How many speakers have you heard hold up the Apple stores as the penultimate of experiential, this-is-how-it-should-be-done retail? By now, quite a few.

The Apple store experience is unparalleled, though it can be overwhelming on a weekend or any other time school isn’t in session. (Tip: if you’re serious about buying something, go during the week and go during the day). But here’s the catch: unless you’re truly the most curmudgeonly of customers, the chances that you are going to buy something is pretty high.

How do I know this? Here’s how: it happened to me.

When the iPad first came out, I thought it was a nice gizmo but it didn’t do anything that my Macbook and iPhone didn’t already have covered. Why did I need another device—especially one that I couldn’t use until 10 minutes after takeoff?

My conversion began during the Centurion show in 2011. My colleague, Caroline Stanley, who is far more into technology than I am, of course already had an iPad and brought it to the show. I picked it up and started playing with it. Then I discovered I could attach a keyboard and actually use it to write—for a fraction of the size and weight of my MacBook. Hmmm. I started thinking about what it would mean on days when I had time between meetings in New York--productivity without an aching back!

When I got home from Centurion, I went to our local Apple store “just to look.” Yeah, right. Dan, the young man with the blue “genius” T-shirt, remains one of the two the best salespeople I’ve ever dealt with. (The other is Khalid, the fellow who sold me my Volvo. My parents had Volvos since I was a kid so he didn't have to sell me too hard, but he still easily got me into a bigger, faster, and fancier Volvo than I'd originally planned on buying.)

Back to Dan, the Apple genius. I said I was just looking, told him about playing with Caroline's iPad, and he asked what I had liked about it.  Of course he’d already put one in my hands by then. As I played with that one and asked about writing apps, he figured out immediately that I was not buying another gizmo, I was buying a lighter handbag! Then he sank the final putt: “Are you a visual learner?” he asked. Done. He had me at "visual."

Yes, I am a visual learner. Tell me how to do something and my eyes glaze over, but show me, and I've got it. That’s why I did so well in high school physics, because our teacher was brilliant at demonstrating the principles using weights, string, ramps, whatever. It’s also why I struggled with algebra. 

No salesperson--of any computer, appliance, or anything--had ever thought to ask me that before. I knew before he said another word that I was going home with this thing, and probably with every last peripheral accessory he could think to add on to the sale. He showed me the Pages app for writing, he attached a keyboard, and he also showed me all the other nifty things the iPad does—not to mention that it does it in a much larger font than my iPhone, a real plus since my vision isn’t that great.  

Needless to say, I left that day with an iPad, a keyboard, a case, an adapter to use it for Powerpoint speaking engagements, and a whole lot of great feelings about the fellow who dragged me into the world of additional gizmos I thought I didn’t need.

The same thing happened to Robert Terson, author and blogger and sales motivator behind In this week’s blog, he writes about his own experience at the Apple store, where he and his wife left with more devices than they’d planned on acquiring.

“They’ll Buy If They Like You,” Terson’s latest blog, deals with a young Apple associate named Andy, whom Terson immediately felt a liking for. Neither he nor his wife had had any intention to buy, but three seconds after Andy confidently handed Terson an iPad and said, “Can I show you something?” Terson was sold—because he liked Andy’s manner instantly and tremendously.

This kind of instant rapport is what guarantees sales, he writes. When a customer likes you, resistance melts like fog. What causes you to like a salesperson? And what turns you off? These are things to consider in your own presentation. Read Terson’s blog and learn how to become more likable here.

The three lessons from the Apple store?

  1. Don’t tell the customer what makes a piece special, show them!
  2. If they like you, they’ll buy.
  3. Don’t even think about going into an Apple store if you really, truly, don’t want to own another device.

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