Verizon Wireless Trusted Advisers – Listen Up!

After working hard to reduce the size of my phone, I’ve taken a step back with the Blackberry.  My wife thinks it’s funny that my phone is as big as some laptops, but I just couldn’t pass up the apps.  So why am I telling you this…because there’s a great “trusted adviser” story behind this – one appropriate for anyone in sales.  Here’s what happened:

1. First, those who know me know I’ve been waiting for Verizon to support iPhone for the longest time.  Keep reading….

2. It all started when I called Verizon to get my sim chip enabled for my upcoming trip to Australia, India, and Singapore.  I keep this function disabled while working in the states as a prudent measure of cost containment.

3. Of course Verizon had to put me hold, so I was surfing around, minding my own business when an idea popped into my head.  I wonder if you can make overseas calls from Google phone for free, or some ridiculously low price.  Of course you can (and Skype works as well)…but it requires an app on a smart phone, which I did not have.

4. As the Verizon sales rep began unfolding the simple plan of 4.99/month plus just $2+ per minute, I was reading about $.02 charges using either Google or Skype on Blackberry or Droid phones.  The Droid seemed to be the obvious choice…I didn’t let on, but thanked them and hung up.

5. From there I was in the car on my way to buy a new phone.  If I spent just ten minutes per day, I was looking at a few hundred dollars in phone charges!  My contract at Verizon is up – so I knew I could probably have a smart phone for close to nothing.  The Droid 2 was a possible choice…lots of memory, lots of apps, and pretty good reviews.

6. At the store they  told me they didn’t have it in stock…bummer.  They started working on getting one to the store overnight when I asked, “Does this really sport global support?”  The said “Yes!” but I was asking the wrong question.  I should have asked, “Does this support GSM global communications?”  They didn’t know.  So I headed back home to find out.

7.  I was right.  It does not.  However, the Blackberry storm is one of the few that does; Droid is working on it.  So I headed back to the store, made the purchase, and here I am.

So here’s the Trusted Adviser issue, in case you missed it.

– Why did the sales person on the phone lead me down the $2+ / minute route?  Was this a money making deception or just plain ignorance?

– Why didn’t the rep in the store know about global networks?  What would have happened if I had bought the Droid with only 2 days to figure out I had the wrong phone?

Being a trusted adviser means knowing more than just the product.  It means having great advice and being an adviser.  It also requires integrity and trustworthiness.  One of the two was lacking with the first rep; I believe the second was just uninformed.

© 2010, David Stelzl



2 thoughts on “Verizon Wireless Trusted Advisers – Listen Up!

  1. Cell phones (and their services) are a commodity and unfortunately as such require the least cost options for selling and manufacturing. Thus, “trusted advisor” is a bit of a stretch for this sort of purchasing method. As a business you can certainly obtain a higher level of “advisor” with just about any carrier. But let’s face it; it will cost you (your economy of scale for them is probably a tad bit low).

    Droid is not an established business phone (face it, neither is iphone –well.. 4 might be) and it is no surprise that the Blackberry is the way to go for the best business communications and that most major corporations use it. Also, consider rephrasing to “international” verses “global.” They mean two different things. Nobody is global, no matter what the industry or claim. Or maybe we can say “global”, with caveats!

    Maybe if the sales people would have read your first book they would know how a “positioning statements” would be used to create a personalized hook that would lead them to offer you that perfect solution which fits your requirements. Maybe we can get an elephant to walk a tight rope too!

    1. Brad – you are right, they would have to pay more for trusted adviser level people…unfortunately I see a lot of people in higher level sales positions doing the same thing…this is bad news for buyers, good news for sales people who stay on top in a commoditized industry, and a warning to those who think it’s still 1998 and their company is somehow responsible for a lack of sales.

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