Falling between the Apples and the Tree.
I helped my dad by a new Macintosh the other day. Since they only have about four different laptops now and since he knew he wanted an optical drive, there wasn’t really much point in shopping for it.
I mean, if you want to spend under $1300 and you want an optical drive, your choice is the 13-inch Mac Book Pro. It’s not even the pro-model anymore, really. It’s really the default.
An aside: Maybe you can still get the MacBook (Whitey) but I don’t see in on the MacStore anymore. And besides, the lighted keyboard is worth the upgrade. Trust me.
But what struck me as the most interesting thing was the way the helpful Apple store guy pitched the laptop.
Here’s a salesman who literally doesn’t have to do anything. This computer is already sold, and yet he’s running down features and demonstrating multi-touch gestures and full-screen mode and all kinds of silly things. He’s got my dad trying out Pages and three finger swiping.
I realized he was doing an upsell from an iPad.
Let me explain.
When I was an electronic sales guy (I used to sell stereos, car steroes, and cellphones at Best Buy in the late 1990’s), I had a series of “scripts” I would run through when I was demonstrating or pitching a product to certain shoppers. A careful and attentive salesguy makes note of what pitches work well and then starts tweaking and adding them to his repertoire, iterating them as he goes along, making little tweaks and little changes that help you match the right product with the right shopper.
But there’s more to it than that. A really good salesguy also starts adding iterations to his scripts that helps him identify and narrow in on what branch of the script he needs to go down. So an attentive sales guy not only has scripts that sell the product, he also has scripts that feel out what product and what pitch he should be using.
Back to the Apple store: Our sales guy did not seem to have hit the level of really understanding what pitch would work for my dad. And that makes sense, since the deal was closed and we were just doing some kind of strange sales ritual anyway, until the time would come when we could say: “Put it in a bag, son, we’re taking this one home with us.”
But I was fascinated with the way that he pitched us anyway. This really did feel like he was upselling my Dad from an iPad. He demonstrated the full screen mode like it was the thing that made the most logical sense. He showed how pinch and zoom worked to change the zoom levels on the screen. He demonstrated three finger swiping and two finger scrolling ad nauseum. And at the end of each and every demonstration, he said something akin to: “See, it’s just like the iPad.”
My father has only haltingly ever poked at an iPad. He’s only ever haltingly poked at his candy-bar pay-as-you-go cell phone. He buys Macintosh Computers because that is what a retired educator buys, and when I tried to give him a computer with Windows 8 on it recently to feel out, he was uncomfortable and displeased with it. (Part of that may have been the fact that the laptop was missing the letter “e”, but I digress.)
All of this leads me to the following conclusion: The problem with the “Apple Experience” is this: It is not homogenous, but it really wants to be. Outside of app selection and wallpapers, there is almost no differentiation between one iPad and another.
And this is what Apple wants– because this is more efficiently sold, manufactured, and consumed.
Draw what conclusions you need to from this. I am an Apple fanboy– I admit this. But I’m also a fan of controlling my own destiny. So long as I can continue to use my Macintosh to work in ways that I find efficient, I will continue to use it.
But that’s not the pitch that works for everyone.
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