A Lesson in Sales From the Pie Lady

Published on 2013-10-09

Source: pengo-au @ Flickr
IF BRITISH EXPATS TEND to pine for fish and chips, then for Australians, the food which gets them hungering for a taste of home, is the traditional Aussie meat pie. True, these are hardly examples of haute cuisine and may well be sneered at by our French counterparts, but then horse meat and snails don’t exactly get our taste buds tingling either.
As I trundled through Sanlitun on my scooter this week, I noticed a small shop on a side street called ‘Two Guys and a Pie’. My rather unsophisticated culinary sensors did the maths. Meat…good. Pastry…good… Both together…very good. With a scream of brakes (not because I was speeding, but just because that is how my brakes sound), I pulled up and went in to sample their wares.
The girl at the counter greeted me with a huge smile (always a good start).
“Hi, I haven’t seen you here before”, she beamed. Already a vast improvement on the variations of ‘Hello my friend’ which are so common around YaShow.
“Hi” I replied. “I am starving. What do you recommend?”
Normally, I would expect this question to be greeted by either a blank stare or answered with ‘All good. You can choose’. Thus I was both surprised and impressed when the girl, without a pause or a need to consult the list of offerings behind her, reeled off five different suggestions, the recipes, examples of which pies were favoured by regular customers and finally her recommendations for side dishes which would best compliment her suggestions.
As she packed up my pie of choice, the girl continued to make small talk and within a few minutes had discovered how long I had been in China, where I worked, what I did for a living and how many other foreign colleagues I worked with. As she handed over my rather heavenly sweet honey chicken pie, she was then able to explain the benefits of their delivery service. Here was a girl who, whilst working behind the counter of a pie shop, was demonstrating sales and rapport building skills that would be the envy of many professional sales people.
As expats, we are very quick to complain about poor service, but we tend to forget the good service. We don’t talk about the taxi driver who is polite and gets us to our destination efficiently, but we can whine for hours about the driver who gets lost and then expects us to pay for the extra 10 km on the clock.
Credit where credit is due. Here was a girl who:

1. Demonstrated pride in her work and in the product she was selling.

2. Made an effort to engage the customer, was genuinely friendly and helpful.

3. Was quick to discover the customers needs.

4. Was clearly engaged and enjoying her work.

5. Saw potential for expanded sales and made sure the customer had all the information needed to make future purchases.

6. Knew her product from top to bottom and thus projected credibility.

Great customer service, supported by a delicious product. I truly hope that her employers realise how good this girl is and reward her suitably. People with her abilities are like gold dust in Beijing. For you HR people out there who may be looking to fill a sales position, forget headhunters and working your way through hundreds of resumes. Get down to ‘Two Guys and a Pie’ in SanLiTun and snap up this girl ASAP!
Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt you to try the food there either.