Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

Why do people want to do business with you?

How many of you have ever asked yourself this about your company? Before you answer, read the question again, carefully. It’s not “Why do people do business with you?” it is, “Why do people WANT to do business with you?” A subtle difference, but a very important one that I think is critical for people to keep in mind. Here is a perfect example of this from a personal experience this past weekend that I hope illuminates the difference and the importance of it (and I have a challenge for you at the end).

Over the past weekend, my wife and I flew down to Napa Valley to meet up with a friend for winery tours and to attend the World of Outlaws race. As we set off on the winery tours, the first one of the day was a relatively unassuming, almost hard to identify place called Del Dotto Vineyards. Luckily for us, the GPS unit did a great job and led us right there (once we passed it and realized that was it). To set the context, here is a picture of it from the outside (click for full size): image

Once we walked in though, that’s when it started. Immediately we were greeted by very friendly staff and brought to the counter. Upon gathering our information, they explained the tour we would be on, provided our first sample, and had us browse the foyer and display area until the tour began. Right away, you noticed something different. Everyone here had this aura of family, even though they weren’t all related to each other. When it was time, our tour guide, a gentleman by the name of Branden, pulled us all together, asked us all about ourselves, what we liked in wine, told us about himself, about Del Dotto, about the family, about the process, and set our expectations for the “experience” we were about to embark on. Even as we were doing this, every time a Del Dotto employee passed, they each greeted each other, joked on many occasions, and had great interaction (which continued the entire time of the tour). As the tour began, we headed into the caves:

image As you can see from the picture, there is nothing fancy about the caves (they are from the 1800’s), just barrels of wine with small candles on top of each. Against this backdrop, he led us on a walking tour throughout the caves, stopping at various barrels along the way for sampling, explaining the differences, the process, etc. all the way through. What was also impressive is that throughout the tour, he continued to reference tidbits of information we all had shared in the introductions (he had listened to what people said and related things back as they incorporated into the tour while also building a connection with the group).

The tour continued for awhile, ultimately finishing in a small room for a final sample with cheese and some chocolate. It was then that my wife turned to me and said, “This is where I want to get wine from for our friends as gifts and we need to pick up some Del Dotto souvenirs to bring home.” Although I completely agreed with her thoughts on this (without saying so), I asked, “Why? How do you know since this is only our first place.” The answer was simple, “I just really like this company and the way they all seem like a big family. It’s a company I’d like to do business with .” And she was 100% correct. I had the exact same feeling. Is it a good, quality product? Absolutely. Are they the lowest price wine? No, not at all. Are they the biggest name around? No, they’re not even mass distributed.  It wasn’t a tangible thing that made this an easy decision though, it was a feeling. You just wanted to be a part of and do business with this company.

Granted, we kept a wide open mind throughout the remainder of the tours that day (and there were some very good ones, and then there was the one where you felt like it was a sales pitch from J. Peterman of Seinfeld). Even after visiting all of the various vineyards and the experiences they had to offer, that feeling of “wanting to do business with Del Dotto” remained. Sure enough, joining us for the trip home was a new Del Dotto jacket, Del Dotto shirt, Tumbled marble Del Dotto tile, and more (and of course, we’re ordering the wine to be shipped since you can’t carry it on the planes anymore). As a side note, turns out Del Dotto has a second location (which is breathtaking when you see it) where we purchased the items; however, we didn’t know this when we made the decision that this was where we wanted to do business first thing in the morning.

I couldn’t help but think back to the real world and conversations I have heard with people and some of the things we all hear, “People buy from us because we’re the cheapest,” or “How can we compete with XYZ company since they can sell at Y% below us?” or “They’re such a big name that we can’t compete,” etc. It then occurred to me that so often people focus on why people do business with you or don’t do business with you (for things like price or ‘big name’), but did you ever stop and think about why people would WANT to do business with you or why do your current clients WANT to do business with you? What gives them that “feeling” of wanting to be associated with your company and wanting to give you their business vs. just doing it over a price or a name? Because let’s face it, if you’re building a business betting on being the lowest price, there is always someone who can come along and beat your price. Will your clients leave over a price tag? Figuring out what it is that gets people to WANT to do business with you, that is the “secret sauce” and the piece that I think so many people forget about or never think of.

So I leave you with this challenge, what is it your company and its employees do today or can do tomorrow that will turn your company into the “Del Dotto experience” for your clients that it became for my wife and I that makes them WANT to do business with you vs. just doing business with you?

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Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER, LinkedIn, and RSS and see “What I’m thinking
Director, Worldwide Partner Experience
Microsoft Corporation
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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