starbucks in munichWhile sitting in the Munich train station drinking my Pike Place coffee, I’m struck by not only the uniformity of how Starbucks does what it does, but also by the differences in what they do.

Now, let’s look at the facts.

Munich, Germany and Seattle, Washington USA (home of Starbucks) are at least 8,000 miles apart.

As I got my coffee, I doubted the barista serving me had ever been to Seattle or maybe even to the United States.

Yet, as I got my coffee, the experience was strikingly similar to what I experience on a regular basis in the United States. Same logo. Same cup. Same display case. Same colors.

The Munich Starbucks in this regard was simply identical to the hundreds of Starbucks I’ve been in throughout the United States.

Starbucks has mastered the art of consistency, and in that regard, they’re no different than thousands of other companies that have exported their business model to other countries.

Yet, for each similarity, there were some differences.

The food items they served in the Munich Starbucks included several found only in Germany.  The drinks on the menu highlighted different items partial to European tastes.  And finally, the money I used to pay for my coffee was the Euro rather than the US dollar.

So what does all this mean?

I found huge lessons to be learned with regard to sales and how we do things.

First, we need to have a well-developed process that is scalable. This means one that works not just one time, but time after time.

Second, we need to understand the needs of the individual customer.  Obviously, the Munich customer is different than the Seattle customer, so variations are made in the menu.

Finally, how the customer pays is based not on how Starbucks wants to receive it, but on how the customer wants to pay it. In Munich, that means the Euro.

Think about these observations with regard to your selling skills.

1. Do you have a sales process that is efficient and effective?

2. Do you take the time to understand the needs of the individual customer you’re selling to at that moment?

3. Finally, do you allow the customer to buy from you on their terms?

Yes, there is a lot we can learn from sitting in a crowded Starbucks in the Munich train station.

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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