Acquired Expertise: Attitude and Confidence

"I recommend the 5.8 GHz Digital Phone, because it suits your needs well, provides adequate service for your area, and has the additional capabilities you requested." The sales clerk spoke with confidence, implicating she knew this to be true, and bringing the client into focus with her needs. Her attitude of confidence presented the product well, and the sale completed.

As the client agreed to the purchase, the clerk smiled, offered other services, recommended the service package with the product, and completed the sale, earnestly convincing the client she was meeting her need. At the check out, because the clerk had quoted regular pricing, discount pricing was available so the client saved an additional significant amount of money on this product.

Another client enters the store, met by another sales clerk. The client describes his need and the clerk says, "I think this 5.8 GHz Digital Phone will do what you're asking. It says here on the box that it works everywhere, stops interference, and has places to store your important numbers." The client responds, picking up another box and reading the side of it. None of them promise significantly different promises from any other, and the clerk appears unsure of his product. The client finds a cheaper 5.8GHz phone and purchases it, refusing the last minute offer of a service package, and walks out of the store feeling let down.

Two days later, he comes back to the store, the phone not out of the package and returns it, saying he isn't sure its what he wants, and leaves with the phone the first clerk attempted to sell, but after talking to a different clerk. The more confident clerk also sold him the service package and the second handset.

The client leaves happy, knowing he got the deal he wanted because the clerk he spoke with was an "expert" on phones. The place is Radio Shack, both clerks received the same sales training, had the same knowledge behind them, and had a good solid understanding of the way all cordless phones work, and which areas of the community work best with specific phones. It does make a difference, because various phones have power variations making them work better under specific conditions.

Both clerks knew this. One portrayed confidence, understanding of her product, and solid knowledge of the area, presenting all information in a way that led the client to believe she knew what she was talking about. The other clerk counted on the product packaging to sell the product for him.

All things being equal (though we know they are not), knowledge, confidence, and attitude bring a sense of power to the person resulting in expertise projected to others. In the words of the Assistant Manager of a local Radio Shack, Brenna VerHoeff, "It's all in those two little words 'I recommend', a customer will buy what you recommend, if you present the product in a manner that tells them you know what you are talking about. I make a point of knowing my products, knowing the value of any additional products the customer needs to meet their needs, and listening to the customers so I understand their needs."

Brenna, a college student, has moved up steadily since her employment at Radio Shack nearly a year ago, because she listens to the sales training offered, presents her product to her clients with confidence, and is willing to go the extra distance to meet the customers needs offering additional Radio Shack services.

Jan Verhoeff combines 27 years of service in the Free Enterprise domain and a lifetime of education in business development to bring expertise and understanding of basic business principles to new business owners. An expert in the field of business development, Jan presents conceptual information through publications, live presentations, and Power Launch, a weekly live conference chat for business developers. For more information see her site at:

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