An Important Sales Tip I Learned At Starbucks

An Important Sales Tip I Learned At Starbucks

About a year ago an incredible new coffee shop opened up here, and before that, my only exposure to “gourmet” coffee was Starbucks.

I was blown away when I finally tasted the real thing, instead of the mass-produced stuff cranked out by a chain. It’s like tasting a $60 steak at a high-end steakhouse after eating McDonald’s all your life.

Even when I visited Seattle recently I couldn’t find anything as good.

But, one thing about experiencing truly gourmet coffee really threw me:

At Starbucks we’ve all seen the people who hold up the line ordering “non-fat this, double-this, soy that, blah blah blah.” But at the real gourmet shop, you never see that. Ever. People simply order off the menu.


Because they won’t tolerate any of that crap. They’re not going to bastardize their superb beverages just because of someone’s silly whims.

Those people can take their business elsewhere, and they do.

It reminds me of when I sold large business telephone systems many years ago. Now and then a prospective customer would sign the contract but cross out and modify some of the terms & conditions printed on the back. (Law firms were especially guilty of this.)

As a rookie I’d take it back to the manager and go back & forth trying to get it approved so I could get the sale.

After some experience I stopped doing that and told those customers to take a hike.


Because all the time I’d waste trying to close that one sale was costing me at least 1 or 2 others, from people who were easier to deal with!

Now ask yourself: How much time do YOU waste chasing after prospects who take so long to close that you could bang out a few other sales instead if you walked away?

I’m willing to bet it’s a huge amount.

And think about the customer service headaches and nightmares those high-maintenance customers cause after the sale, causing you to lose even more time and more sales down the road.

I once read in a sales book about having a “velvet rope policy” for acquiring new customers. Like an exclusive nightclub, you should realize that you have value to offer, and as a result, only sell your products or services to customers who DESERVE to receive that value!

It’s a scary thought at first – walking away from potential sales to find better customers – but in the long run, when you only deal with people who you want to deal with, your sales numbers go up exponentially. You don’t waste nearly as much time closing them, or dealing with their customer service nightmares, and you’ll find that nice friendly customers will be a HUGE source of referrals. (Forget about getting any from high-maintenance customers.)

So when you’re ready to take your sales to the next level, realize that YOU are the one with tremendous value to offer, and think about whether you really want the stereotypical high-maintenance Starbucks customer as one of your own!