Wedding Shoes

In which we discuss the importance of asking questions to understand the whole problem, not just the part that shows up first and easy. I once went to a wedding in another city. A friend of mine (also engaged to be married and not the world's sharpest dresser) went into a local men's clothing store to buy a new tie for the wedding. He came out with the new tie...and a very crisp suit...and a belt... a couple of GREAT looking shirts and.... a breathtaking pair of Italian shoes.

When I asked him why, he said, “Well, I’m taking (my new fiancé) to the wedding and I want to look sharp.”

Translation: When the salesman in the store found out that THIS was my friend’s grand entrance to meet his fiancé’s family, he started to ask questions like, “Tell me about your fiancé’s family. What does she like? What do they like? What sort of impression do you want to make on this family? How do you think they’ll react if you look like this (shows an example) or like THIS (shows a much sharper example)? How will your fiancé react?”

A great value to my friend and his fiancé. Never mind the rest of us at the wedding.
The most effective cross-sellers focus on context, objectives, potential problems, and their impact – the big picture – rather than focusing one-by-one on specific needs they want to uncover or products they want to sell.

The clothing store sales person could have sold my friend the tie and, perhaps a shirt to go with it. A standard “product bundle.” And my friend would have been happy. However, the sales person wasn’t a “tie guy,” or a “suit guy,” or a “shoes guy.” The guy knew how to dress men, taking into account what the men he dressed were about and what they could tolerate, to help them express themselves best through their clothing.

The big objective was: “Assure this family that this person is the right prospective husband for their daughter, the person they care most about in the world.” We’re talking more than ties here.

So, when he left the store, if clothes make the man, my friend was made. [The sales person missed the opportunity to send him to elocution and decorum classes, speaking of the big picture, and that’s a story for another time! There’s only so much that a pair of Italian shoes can cover up.]

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