How Do You Like Those Shoes?

It’s Fable Friday again and today I’ll share a story about shoes, along with two tips about outbound phone calls to customers.

A few years ago I helped a big bank in Perth, Australia, teaching a group of bankers to manage their small business portfolios entirely by phone, since the clients were too small for face-to-face relationship management.

In one of my workshops I shared two tips with the learners which will work for you too:

1.       Your best prospect is generally someone who has just bought from you.  After all, he’s favorably disposed toward you, and is likely to respond positively to your next recommendation. 

2.       Always tee up your next call by telling your client when you will call him again and why.

 So we practiced how to do this and I gave them a field assignment and went home to Dallas.

On my next visit one of them shared this story:  “I have a customer who owns 4 shoe stores and I sold him a line of credit.  I told him I would call soon to see how it was working out and I did.  He was having no issues with the credit line, but mentioned that sales were slow and asked me if I had any ideas. I told him ‘we had this Yank in here who suggested that after we sell something to somebody we should tell them we’re going to call them soon to see how it’s going, as that is a good way to sell them something else.  In fact that’s why I’m calling you today.’”

The shoe store owner found this laughable.  He said, “Look, I sell shoes.  You think I should call people up and ask them how they like their shoes? Are you kidding?” 

The banker replied as any Aussie would, “Hey mate, you’re the one who asked me. I don’t know. What harm can it do?”

But some time later the shoe store owner phoned back and said, “You won’t believe this! I hired a lady to come in on Fridays and I give her all the stores’ receipts.  She calls the customers and asks if they are satisfied with their purchase.” 

The banker asked, “Well, is it helping?”  The store owner said, “Is it helping?  They’re coming in to buy more shoes and sending their friends and family in to buy shoes!  Last week a woman asked me after she bought a pair of shoes, ‘Now are you going to call me soon to see if I still like them?’”

Well, you know I was pretty happy about that. So on my way home I stopped in to see the CEO of the bank and after my report on the project I shared the shoe story with him.  He said, “You know, next time we talk, you don’t have to report about the project. I can learn that from my people. Instead, I’d rather you share stories like this with me.  I can tell it to my team so they know I’m in touch, and it also gives me a chance to recognize one of my bankers for his good work.”

Music to a consultant’s ears!

So it’s true that in shoe stores, banks or in fact any business, you can be successful if you just…

Think Like Your Customer!  

P.S.  My April newsletter will be out next week with an excellent tip on coaching.  Click on ActionSystems Training above, then “Contact Us” and tell me to include you.  Enter your email address please.

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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