Penguin Windows, a window reseller based in Mukilteo WA, recently closed its doors for good. This will mean a slight reprieve for many homeowners; less annoying phone calls, no more unwanted and pushy visitors at the door, fewer pieces of junk mail.

It also serves as a warning for local businesses, shedding some light on the most important topic in business.

I used to work for Penguin Windows back when they were called Statewide, then spent several more years working for a competitor. I found that many window resellers focus simply on the individual transaction. The mentality is simple; sell people a product and get out of the house, then find more people to sell to.

The Transactional Mindset is actually an old sales philosophy that has 4 main tenants:

  1. Value the transaction over relationship
  2. Meet only their minimum expectations or whatever the customer will let you get away with
  3. Advertise and “market” to people constantly
  4. Use persuasion as a tool to get people to buy

Each of these points is deadly on its own, but there’s a real danger to the business when they are combined. The reason so many businesses, especially in this industry, are closing is directly related to this transactional, non-human mentality. Consumers pick up on that mindset and avoid the business.

Instead, your customers are looking for the opposite of the above list. They want:

  1. A relationship that’s cultivated over a lifetime
  2. A company that will exceed their expectations and surprise them
  3. To be understood and connected with
  4. To be told stories

You might look at the above list and think that customer wants are too vague, but I assure you they’re not impractically so. Here are some quick tips:

  • Don’t focus on the sales but instead look at the process of the relationship, from the introduction to evaluation to creating partnerships.
  • Don’t be just good enough but surprise your customers with more gifts, give them more than they expected and they will be happier, rewarding you with more business.
  • Don’t just talk about your offers or business but speak to them and their values. A good start is a blog or a “newsletter” that speaks to issues and topics that your customers deeply care about.
  • Don’t try to “sell” them, use stories and narrative tools to help them persuade themselves.

Even if you aren’t just out to make a quick buck, you probably don’t practice all four of the new habits. Take some time to re-evaluate your marketing and sales strategies in light of these points and see how you match up.

If you have other questions or need some help, ask in the comments or email me at  [email protected]

There’s definitely a storm brewing and if you don’t focus on relationships, giving more, connecting, and storytelling then your business may find itself in very dire straits.

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