Early last week, my wife and I decided to replace our aging lawn tractor. It's been very dependable, but had been feeling and showing its age. We had already decided to replace it with a brand new John Deere tractor. We had heard some great reviews and this clearly sounded like the superior product.

To our delight, one of our area’s big box retailers advertised a special on the model we wanted and it came with a free dump cart! We walked into the store eager to make our $3,000 purchase. We stood there looking for a few moments and nobody came forward to help. That in itself was surprising as we are typically greeted by many employees. In fact, there had been such a change in customer service at this particular store over the past few years, we concluded that the whole chain must have undergone a serious training program.

Back to our experience; since nobody approached us, we went to them. We approached a guy who appeared to be taking inventory. As he was in the section of the store where the mowers were displayed, it seemed logical that he could help. Well, we were wrong and shame on us for asking! He was clearly unhappy that we had interrupted his inventory taking and unhappier that we actually wished to buy something. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe selling a product and generating revenue is more profitable than taking inventory. Sensing a major attitude problem with our "friendly" associate, we decided to quietly leave and take our $3,000 to someone who would appreciate it. The associate then said to a co-worker, "now I lost count of what I was doing." He said it plenty loud. On our way out the door, we visited briefly with the store manager to commend him on his exemplary staff. We also informed him about the loss of a guaranteed sale.

Our next stop was the locally owned John Deere dealership. The whole experience was painless. The sales rep was friendly, attentive, and easy to work with. We had a real conversation and a painless purchase.

I can't say we will never go back to the big box store; however, we will NEVER buy anything of significant value from them: appliances, cabinets, grills, etc. will be purchased elsewhere. Token items like light bulbs, hardware, or paint may be purchased but only if we can't find a locally owned vendor.

Remember folks, we are in business to serve others. Let's take care of our clients, customers, and prospects. Let's sell our products and services, and not "take inventory."

Author's Bio: 

Don Talbert, founder of Centurion Business Coach, has a passion for networking and consultative selling. Don leverages his passion and experience to help others excel in business. As the author of The Networking Success Kit, Don applies his experiences and packages it into a practical, real world guide to networking success.