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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Apple's Secret Sales Tricks Leaked

Posted By on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Turns out, not even this is considered unfortunate
  • Turns out, not even this is considered unfortunate

Have you ever noticed that you consistently experience positive interactions with Apple employees? Theoretically, you should be able to go to any of the 326 Apple stores and receive the same kind treatment.

Here is the reason why: The Silicon Valley tech giant runs a very tight ship, as in, it tells its employees exactly what to say and how to say it. The Wall Street Journal evidently invested a great deal of time uncovering internal documents and speaking with former and current employees to uncover the science behind this ubiquitous politeness.

If nothing else, the information is amusing. For example: The miracle workers at the Genius Bar are banned from ever uttering the word "unfortunately," even if your MacBook Pro hard drive is dead on arrival. Instead, they are supposed to say: "as it turns out" [bad news goes

here].

In addition to this optimism-only environment, employees on the retail floor are supposed to prioritize listening over selling. The idea is that less pushiness will result in more purchasing.

Unfortunately, the top secret, confidential information doesn't get much juicier than that.

Lars Perner, an assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, said he suspects that Apple might be embarrassed that the information is out there. After all, people's ears may perk up when they are standing at the Genius Bar and they are told "as it turns out." Which we now know is code for "you're screwed."

Ira Kalb, a colleague of Perner's in the Marshall School, and whose company Kalb & Associates has provided consulting to companies such as Hewlett-Packard, NASA, and Nokia, said Apple is hardly alone in using euphemisms. Doctors do it, too, he said, to sugarcoat bad news.

"I don't fault Apple for telling employees what to say and what not to say -- that's essential," he said, noting that Apple has much better customer service than most companies.

"Data tells us that one person who feels wronged by a company will go tell nine or 10 other people," he said.

In the end, the Wall Street Journal's inside scoop tells us one thing: As it turns out, Apple knows how to sell.

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Taylor Friedman

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