Getting it Wrong at Comet?

It is so very easy to get ‘management’ wrong.  Very wrong.

Take this example from electrical retailer Comet.  My Brother in Law is looking to buy a micro HI-Fi and has been to compare models and prices in Comet and Empire Direct.  As he walked into the Comet store he was met by a sales adviser who asked what he was looking for and whether he would like some help.  Brother in Law explained that he was not in a position to buy today but he would like some information about a particular system that Comet stocked.

The sales adviser apologetically explained that if Brother in Law was not looking to buy today then he was not able to help him as his manager had told him to ‘focus on sales only’.

This is a great example of a manager ‘communicating what matters by soundbite’ and not getting the intended results.

Brother in Law enjoyed sharing this retail experience with the whole family on his return and no doubt will re-tell the story at the golf club, the cycle club, in the expat community in which he lives and at every party he attends over the holiday season.  I expect that by the time the New Year sales are over  thousands of people will have heard the story and drawn their own conclusions.

Now I am sure that ‘focussing on sales’ matters during the busy holiday period, but so to does ‘building relationships with customers ‘ and ‘the reputation of the Comet brand’.

Managing by sound bite is a dangerous game.

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