While thumbing through a recent issue of Fortune Magazine, I came upon a column by Dinah Eng with a title that brought a smile (more of a smirk) to my face. The column about a high-end kitchen and bath retailer is entitled “Does Joy Help You Sell?”
I think I began reading the column mostly to chuckle at things like the company’s “23 elements of joy”.
That said, the fact that the company Pirch appears to be performing well hints that some of the things they do probably make sense.
One of the tenets in Pirch’s manifesto (yes, they call it a manifesto) made me sigh. They encourage employees to “Play more, think less.”
I smiled thinking how many managers’ heads would explode if I ever suggested that to their teams.
However, once I got past the general “Kumbaya” vibe of the story, I realized that I was likely being too cynical by half. At the core of this retailer’s sales philosophies is a belief I agree with and have preached about for years.
Customers are far more likely to purchase from a company that makes them feel valued and appreciated.
While their concept of “teaching empathy as a business model” sounds a bit touchy-feely, I know that there is actually a bit of science behind it.
We things called “humans” have a desire for reciprocal relationships that draw us to people and places that make us feel welcome and valued.
As important, frontline employees tend to treat customers with the same levels of respect and sincerity they feel they receive from their employers.
So, yes, encouraging employees to “live joyfully” (their phrase) actually does have business strategy aspects to it.
And when you’re selling things like $20,000 granite bathtubs, you probably want potential customers “feeling the love.” I’m just saying.
I’ve always had a soft spot for small business people who make up for a lack of marketing budgets with smart ideas and hustle. In a world of instantly available smartphone searches, I cannot tell you how many contractors I’ve hired because they left fliers or business cards on my front door.