People will tell you they don’t like to be “sold,” but the truth is, we love to buy from people who inspire us with passion and knowledge about what they’re selling. We enjoy the feeling of learning something new, especially when we believe it will improve our life in some small way. This happened to me just the other night, when I got a product demonstration at Sephora. The associate I worked with was so enthusiastic about getting just the right products for me, I couldn’t help but smile every time she ran across the store to grab something that she thought might be perfect. She explained the qualities (and differences) of each product as she applied them, and I was mesmerized: she was working hard to earn my business, and I appreciated it. I left the store with a bag full of new products and free samples, and felt eager to repeat the experience. I told all my colleagues about it, and now I’m telling you.

Unfortunately, when I talk to women about their buying experiences in my research at Female Factor, this is not the kind of story I typically hear. There are often long silences when I ask women to tell me about a great customer experience they’ve had recently. In this second installment of my series on selling “sins,” we’re covering sin #2: uninspiring service. Lackluster service is everywhere, which means that delivering an inspiring experience can be a major competitive advantage when it comes to increasing sales, referrals and repeat business. How much money are you leaving on the table by delivering a customer experience that is merely adequate?

Try taking this quick quiz to help determine how you can best deliver an inspiring experience to your customers.

Step 1: Identify the skills and knowledge that you uniquely bring to the table by finishing the sentence:

The thing(s) that my customers learn from me that they can’t get from the first page of a Google GOOGL+0.13% search are ______________________________________________.

Step 2: Determine what makes your service experience “talk worthy” by filling in the blank:

Imagine your customer is talking to a friend and says, “You HAVE to buy from (your name here) because___________________.” (Try filling in the blank without mentioning low prices.)

Step 3: Write down at least three ways that your product/service/business improves your customers’ lives.

For anyone in sales, there will always be factors out of your control, from the economy to the weather to your competitors’ moves. Happily, you are 100% in control of the experience you give your customers. Make it inspiring: it’s an effective sales strategy that drives word-of-mouth publicity, referrals and repeat business.
The best part? It doesn’t cost a thing.

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Women drive between 70 - 80% of all consumer household spending, and Bridget Brennan researches and analyzes why they buy the things they do. As CEO of consulting firm Female Factor, Bridget is one of the world’s leading authorities on marketing and selling to women. She is the author of the book, “Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers,” (Crown Business), which was called “essential reading” by the Wall Street Journal. In 2016, Bridget was named a “Woman to Watch in Retail Disruption” by think tank Remodista. Bridget is a frequent contributor for, speaks globally on the subject of women’s consumer spending and is a guest lecturer at business schools. She is based in Chicago. Write her at, or visit