Printing & Presenting Proposals: Why Nordstrom Salespeople Walk Out From Behind the Counter to Give You Your Package

When you make a purchase at Nordstrom’s, the person who rings you up always come out from behind the counter to give you your package and shake your hand. The reason they do that offers us great insight into why, even in the age of digital communications, its preferable to print, bind, and make your printed presentations and proposals beautiful, and then present them to your client in person.

“Nordstrom is the gold standard of customer service – the measuring stick by which other companies (in a variety of industries) measure themselves,” explains Robert Spector in the first chapter of his book, “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Experience Excellence: Creating a Values-Driven Service Culture.” In the introduction, CBS journalist Morley Safer adds that Nordstrom service is, “Not service like it used to be, but service that never was. A place where service is an act of faith.”

This is expressed in many small but equally powerful ways. If you’ve ever made a purchase at Nordstrom, when the transaction was rung up and completed the salesperson picked up your package, walked around the counter to present your package to you. This is something all Nordstrom people do reflexively.

Much to Learn from a Simple, Very Civil Act

They do this as a personal expression to their customer, that bringing them something of value is an act they take very seriously. It also enables them to shake your hand and say, ‘thank you.’

In a June 2013 article, writer Amy Rees Anderson begins by emphasizing, “People ultimately choose to do business with people they like, and everyone likes someone who appreciates them.” She quickly follows with an anonymous quote, ““People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

With this in mind, let’s examine two different ways of doing something we routinely do.

Presenting Your Proposal

You’ve worked tirelessly to produce an excellent proposal for your potential customer. You’ve done your homework, written and revised your text repeatedly, fine-tuned the graphics, the charts, the spreadsheets, all the information and illustration a great proposal deserves. Bravo to you and your team for an extraordinary effort.

Then you completely discredit all your hard work by creating a .pdf of the proposal and emailing it to them. You plan to call to ask what they thought of it in the next day or so.

You chose to stay behind the counter and let the customer take their package themselves.

In this situation, email wastes a tremendous opportunity to get to build a personal relationship with the prospect, and to show your appreciation for their request for proposal. You diminished the impact of your proposal by half or more.

Retail sales trainers advise their trainees to greet their customers with a cup of coffee, explaining that by doing so you’ve already given them something they like, and they will want to return the favor by giving you the “yes” you seek from them.

When you show your customer the respect of wishing to come to them to personally deliver your proposal you tell them how very important they are to you. When you hand them copies of your proposal you are physically giving them something of value.

That’s not the only way to increase your chance of winning the business.

If the proposal you hand them consists of several sheets of paper printed on your laser or inkjet printer and stapled together at the corner you’ve just told them that you’re fine with taking short-cuts and not giving something important its due respect.

Take the time and make the effort to design and produce an attractive cover for your proposal. Print the document on quality stock using a high-quality, high-resolution printer that gives it the refined, published look. Select a binding that conveys reliability, durability, and flexibility.

Steal This Story

This advice applies not only to our valued Xerox Global Partner Program members. It also applies to your customers. Remind them that proposal presentation is an important establishing act during which relationships are strengthened. In today’s era of indifference and expedience, simply presenting proposals in person has been elevated to the point where it sets you apart from your competition.

Guidance about putting their best face forward with the highest quality printed and produced proposals is not only helpful to your customers, but an opportunity to open the door to a sales conversation.

Take a look at this post on updating your marketing materials and helping your customers bring their print marketing in house, then take a look at how they – and you – approach RFPs. Print has a place there. Beautiful quality color print has an even stronger one.

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Contact your Xerox account manager, or review the Xerox Global Partner Program and apply to become a Xerox channel partner today, to find out how we will help grow your business.

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