Francis Lansink

Francis Lansink

Selling is…

selling is helping someone else

Last week I spontaneously pressed that orange button to sign up for an annual program of SmartGirls. In the workbook of week 1,  Simone Levie says:  “Selling is helping your guest”.
Exactly! Even if you send your guest to your competitor.


A month ago, I walked into a shopping mall and entered a perfumery store for my Clinique face powder – which I have been using for over 20 years. I was approached very kindly by an employee who noticed that I wanted to be assisted. “Matte beige No. 2” was out of stock. She was happy to order it for me. Across this parfumery, there is another perfumery (“a competitor”) with a majority of the same products. Yet I was not referred to this perfumery. A missed opportunity! I sneaky walked to the other perfumery across, hoping the lady who served me would not see me go in there.

Tip 1: Make sure that your employees – who are in direct contact with your guests – know the competitor(s). If you do not have a particular product or service available at that time, send your guest to your competitor. When it comes down to relatively large investments, then of course you don’t send the guest to a competitor that easily. Common sense. It’s about helping your guest. With genuine interest. 

Tip 2: Feeling what the wishes and needs of your guests are, can sometimes be quite difficult, but by asking a few questions, you often find out quickly.

Tip 3: Ask your employees to visit one of your competitors as a Mystery Guest. Prepare the checklist together with your team. Formulate questions based on hospitality, by letting your employees express their feelings they experienced during their visit. The various experiences of your team members will be richly shared with you. Et voilà! You have the experience delighters and the experience killers about your competitor from your team. Your employees have now become aware of the level of hospitality of the competitor. And more importantly, your employees are now aware of their own level of hospitality within your organization. Discuss the experience delighters and the experience killers with your team and identify areas for improvement within your own organisation. We’re happy to help.


We’ve all stayed in a hotel for a relaxing weekend, didn’t we? Many hotels have one restaurant (or more) of their own. However, you want to taste the atmosphere, explore the surroundings, experience spectacular activities, and enjoy the culinary specialties in the region. You ask the receptionist about authentic and good restaurants nearby. All you hear is how delightful the restaurant is at the hotel where you are staying and whether they can make a reservation for you. The receptionist is not familiar with other restaurants nearby…

Tip 4: Have your (reception) team make handwritten lists of their favourite restaurants in your town or village. Your team members can then give their own cards – with their (front) name for example – to the guest. Make it personal! This for sure puts a smile on the guest’s face. Valuable to ask if the receptionist can also make a reservation at his/her favorite restaurant? The guest will feel assisted and touched and will always remember this meaningful experience and even share this with many others. You get what you give, which is called reciprocity, one of the principles of persuasion of Cialdini.

Tip 5: If your (reception)team members are not all familiar with the various restaurants in your city or village, organize a city tour. Visit the favorite restaurants of those who are familiar. Inform the restaurants selected that you will visit them for a short tour (and you might get a refreshment too!).

These examples apply to all service companies. If you are a car dealer, let your employees take a test drive in a car of your competitor for instance.  Planner in a hospital? Send the guest to another hospital when the waiting list for a particular treatment in another hospital is much shorter. Hungry for more ideas? Let us know.

So, helping someone else with genuine interest can bring you a lot. The guest will experience your employees as extremely accommodating. The guest will feel welcome and valuable towards your organization. And exactly this, will stimulate sales. You get what you give. Really!

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