There’s a phrase I detest in the kitchen and bathroom industry and that’s ‘people buy people’. I’ve heard it time and time again, almost as though it is the secret to business success. Perhaps it worked at one stage - probably in the 80s but then we thought McDonald's staff were actually wishing us a good day. I hate to break it to you - it’s not necessarily the case now. There are a multitude of reasons why consumers make a purchase.
Yes, if you’re knowledgeable, helpful and advisory, people may ‘buy into’ your expertise. But it’s not as the phrase suggests simply that they like you and they like what you do. I would expect most people to have some element of charisma (unless they’re an accountant or work in IT support). People may ‘buy into’ your skillset but people are equally as likely to just 'buy into' the brand.
People buy for aspiration; to align themselves with celebrities, premium quality, or simply for peace of mind and this is all created by a brand. Why else would we have lists of Superbrands, Coolbrands or the latest in Saatchi & Saatchi marketing Lovemarks which even transcend brands? A Lovemark is not only highly loved but is well respected, with Alessi, AGA ovens, KitchenAid and Philippe Starck named in the top 50 ‘Home and Living’ Lovemarks. But just in case I stray too far off the point, can I also point out if it’s as simple that ‘people buy people’ why are manufacturers investing thousands to display their brands at the upcoming kbbLondon? Surely they would just need more loveable staff?
And where is the ‘people buy people’ philosophy when it comes to sales on the web? I don’t have to know who I’m dealing with (internet security measures aside) if they are selling what I want. Again, I don’t think I’ve walked out of a shop because I don’t have a particular bond with the person serving me.
That’s not to say personality doesn’t play any a part in the sales process, particularly in local high street showrooms which have a high level of recommendations. It’s just in this case, personality may have become part of your company’s brand. Surely it is beneficial for all kitchen and bathroom companies to look outside the industry, at companies they admire, and consider how they create and maintain their brand image to improve their business.
At the very least can we please ditch the phrase - ‘people buy people’? And resign it to history where it belongs.