You must be BRAVE to sell at the high-end. Behaviors, relationships, attitude, values and the environment make all the difference. Ori Bukai, owner and founder of Allegro Pianos, gave me a master class in such high-end selling one week in June, applicable to products, services or experiences:
1) Learn about your customers’ needs and desires.
2) Share information and knowledge with them.
3) Inspire them with new possibilities.
4) Enable them to play with the possibilities.
5) Help them narrow in on the right “objective fit” for their circumstances.
6) Create space for them to mull things over and decide.
7) Deliver on your commitments to make their final decisions as easy as possible.
I wandered into Allegro Pianos’ Stamford CT location on a whim. Within minutes I was sitting with Ori in his showroom – just Ori and me and 50 of the world’s greatest pianos. He asked me about my interest, my house, my family. He taught me how high-end pianos work. He played (very well) several of the pianos in his show room. Then he took me upstairs to another room and turned me loose by myself with his collection of Bosendorfer, Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Steinway, Kawai and Yamaha pianos. I felt valued, informed and excited about the possibilities.
This was BRAVE selling at its best. Building on the BRAVE leadership framework from the outside-in (as you should):
Ori starts by setting the stage – literally. He built his Stamford building from scratch as a combination piano school and showroom. It’s bright, cheery, clean and welcoming on the banks of a small lake. It’s got different areas for showing, talking, playing, learning. The upstairs room has “electrical shades that can alter somewhat the acoustics … to fit less or more reverberant environment.”
Ori oozes his love of high-end pianos and music from every string on his body. There’s no question that he believes in what he’s selling and the joy it can bring to peoples’ lives. His passion is irresistible.
The general ABCs of “Always Be Closing” do not apply in high-end selling. Instead, think “Always Be Collaborating”. Ori has set the stage and brings his knowledge and products. But he’s in no hurry to push anyone any faster than they want to go. He told me that he tries his best not to sell, not to inflict his personal preferences on others.
No one is going to buy any high-end product or service from anyone until that person has earned the right to sell it to him or her. Ori builds relationships first. As others described Ori,
“…greeted us warmly at the showroom door. He had arranged for entertainment for our four children while my wife and I received what I will call the Allegro Experience.”
“YOU, the customer, become the focus of their day. You are given the time, respect, attention and education a person deserves when about to make, what is likely to be, one of the single largest, and most meaningful, purchases they will ever make in their lifetime.”
“It felt like he was inviting me to be a part of an extended family – rather than just a salesman selling pianos to a customer.”
“…gives his personal attention to each client walking through his door.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
He has similar relationships with the owners and presidents of the high-end piano manufacturers like Bluthner and Estonia who are regular visitors at his show rooms.
It’s all for naught if you don’t deliver. Within 24 hours of our first visit, Ori had pulled my top three possibilities together and invited me to come back and listen, play and think some more. I did. Ori helped me make my decision and then reinforced what a good choice I had made while his wife arranged for my new piano to be delivered.
It’s not really that hard. It’s just uncommon, which makes it all the more wonderful when you bump into it.
p.s. Six months after I purchased this piano, I was playing it and hear a loud crash. At first I thought the house had been struck by lightning. No. Then I thought the top of the piano had fallen. No. So I went back to playing. The piano sounded awful.
I called Ori. He came right over. He discovered that the cast iron harp holding the strings had cracked. He’d never seen that before.
He called the president of Bluthner. And two days later, three guys showed up in a big truck to swap out my piano for a brand new identical Bluthner. No repairs. No fixes. No muss. Complete replacement, no questions asked.
We should modify step 7 to say something about continuing to deliver on your commitments well after anyone would expect you to do that.