What is your best price for….

I have stated many times in this blog that a lot of people feel comfortable shopping on line for many different products and services. I don’t have a problem with that fact. I have also stated that even though you can shop on line for something it doesn’t mean you should.

Case in point a recent caller who was enquiring about a package to Vancouver. She wants to go for two weeks and have flight and hotel to Vancouver. I asked her where she wanted to stay in Vancouver. She replied downtown but I don’t want an expensive hotel. Of course not.

I gave her the price for the airline tickets and she was shocked. It was roughly $900 per ticket for the flight dates she requested. She said, “but I got a price for two people including a Best Western hotel for $2500”. Of course I wanted to know what Best Western hotel location? To which she replied, in Burnaby. To which I replied, well Burnaby is not Vancouver. That is like saying you want to stay in downtown Toronto but I offer you a hotel in Scarborough. Really, was her reply. Yes, really was the answer.

I speak to a lot of customers on the phone every day. They always say they are looking for a great deal. Best price. I always ask the same questions – “What does a great deal mean to you, because it means different things to different people”. It surprises people when you ask it that way, but in order to provide the best service I can, there are basic qualifying questions that need to be answered. That is sales 101 – qualifying the customer.

It is not the customers fault that she was unaware of the geographic location of Burnaby in relation to downtown Vancouver, but now all she has stuck in her head is the price of $2500 for two people for air and hotel to Vancouver. If I was to tell her that to stay in downtown will cost her at least $1000 (or more) than the price she already has in her head, I will never win. It is hard to turn around a call like this. There are many calls like this when people have been shopping on line and think they are getting what they want, but their reality is not quite telling the same story.

She thanked me for my time and hung up the phone. I don’t know if she will end up in a hotel in Burnaby, Richmond or even Victoria if she is not asking the right questions.

If you don’t know, ask a professional that is what I always say.