Last month, prior to my upcoming road trip, I had to admit defeat and realize the obvious – my waist size was not going to shrink enough in time for me to fit into my "skinny pant" wardrobe for the fall tour. That left me with one pair of already well traveled pants that were definitely not going to survive another 25 flights, hotels, and presentations. It was time to buy a new pair of pants!
Off I went to my favorite store, Harry Rosen's at Oakridge Centre in Vancouver, where Dwayne Wakefield (my regular guy) showed me a selection of pants, of which only one pair were in my size and none of which were in my style. They'd have to be ordered in. "When do you need them?" Dwayne asked.
"You're not going to like the answer." I said. "Saturday, for at least one pair of pants."
"Okay. Come in for the fitting on Thursday and we'll see what we can do."
Thursday evening I arrived at the store. "Where's your wife?" Dwayne asked. He knew she held significant sway when it came to my clothing purchases. "She'll be here in a few minutes," I said.
"Follow me," he said. "I've laid out a few things to help you choose the pants".
On a table in the back of the store were the four pairs of pants I had looked at earlier – this time in a size more likely to close at the waist. But there were other items on the table too – three shirts, three pairs of shoes, three pairs of socks and a jacket.
"I wanted you to see the pants with some clothes you are likely to have. Every man has white and blue shirts in the closet, but I want you to see them with shirt of a more unusual colour. Also, you'll see that the shoes can be formal or casual, to dress the pants up or down. I didn't remember the style of the last jacket I sold you, so I chose another in a slightly darker hue."
"Well," I said. "I bought a red shirt from here a long time ago and wore it exactly once."
"Oh!" was the reply. "There's no benefit to me in selling you clothes you never wear. I want you to wear all the clothes you buy from here".
"Ok", I said, "I'll humour you and try on the jacket." My wife arrived as I was slipping into the jacket and her opening comment was "When do they release the hounds?" I agreed. It looked like I was heading to a British fox hunt.
But Dwayne already had another jacket draped over his arm. "Try this," he said.
"Wow! That looks fantastic on you," was my wife's immediate reaction. I looked in the mirror and had to agree. The cut and colour suited me. I surreptitiously checked the price tag. The price was within my budget. Since I had earlier tried on a lovely jacket that turned out to cost several thousand dollars, I was relieved. While I appreciated the fine fabric and tailoring, the price was well outside my reach. Although I wasn't going to buy new shoes, I was curious and I picked up one of the shoes to have a closer look. It was nice looking and weighed half as much as my other dress shoes - an important consideration for airline weight limits on baggage. Fortunately, airlines are not yet weighing their passengers as they check in and charging for "excess poundage" of the passenger!
"Okay. I'll take the three pairs of pants, the jacket and this pair of shoes. Now, is it possible you can have the pants ready for me on Saturday?"
"Yes. If you'll give me till the end of the day." was the reply.
So here is my extraordinary sales experience - I went to the store looking for one pair of pants, and left with multiple pants (to see me through my added girth phase), a handsome jacket my wife thinks I look great in, and a pair of comfortable dress shoes. Price was never discussed. No discount was asked for or offered. I made the purchase decision and made my own evaluation as to the value of the goods and service offered to me. I did not have to be sold. I only had to be shown the possibilities and I left with a smile on my face.
I hope that all Adagio clients and potential clients enjoy the same collaborative approach when deciding the best "fit" of Adagio modules for their organization with the help of their Adagio Consultant. I hope they never feel that they were "sold" an accounting system, but that they were equal participants in evaluating the value and usefulness of everything we offer. And that they see the relationship with their Adagio Consultant as collaborative and not simply transactional.
Only the customer can evaluate the value of the goods and services on offer.
The pants and jacket were ready for pickup 10 am on Saturday.