“Hi. I’m a Mac.” “And I’m a PC.” You’re probably familiar with that commercial for Apple computers. Turns out I’m a Mac. But just barely.
I recently bought a new home computer (after eight years, the old one was really quite slow). And I’ve always been a Mac guy. (Nothing against PCs, but when you go through magazine and newspaper publishing on the content side, you rarely work on a PC. So my tastes have been Mac-aligned for the past 15 or so years).
So I started doing my research on the latest models, and found what I wanted. Then I checked that computer against similar machines from the competitors. Nothing swayed me, and I was set to buy—money in hand. Because there are no Apple stores close to where I live, I decided to buy online.
One transaction after another didn’t go through. I ended up talking with three different people at my bank, and four different people at Apple before I was able to get my computer purchase finalized (and, as of this writing, am still waiting for FedEx to deliver my new computer at home).
Frustrated and irritated, I was just about ready to scrap the Mac and buy a PC, against years of programming, just because of the hassles in the actual buying process.
The whole experience made me realize a few things about mobile distributors.
One, you have such an advantage over the Internet tool sellers when it comes to making a sale. You’re there. Any problems with the product, the buying or anything else, you’re there now and will be again next week, and so on. None of your customers are spending time on hold when they could be turning a wrench.
Two, no matter what kind of loyalty you’ve built, one bad interaction with any of your customers could send them onto another truck. They probably know the main differences between your tools and the others—but they choose to buy from you.
Always remember how tenuous that choice can be.