Delivering Sales Happiness: The Zappos Story

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: August 3, 2010

"Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose" is a must read book for anyone interested in building a company, a sales team and or themselves. Tony Hsieh, CEO, tells the story of Zappos, now a 1 billion on-line shoe store company.

I was a Zappos fan prior to reading the book as I am one of the few women on the face of the earth who does not enjoy shoe shopping. Their promise of free shipping both ways was enough to sell me. Finally, the hassle of going to the post office to return items was eliminated.

Zappos applies a timeless business strategy of "walking a mile in their customer's shoes." Their goal is to WOW the customer and create a great experience. My first WOW with Zappos is my order shipping overnight, without any extra charge. This is just one of the many ways that Zappos honors their core value of WOW-ing the customer.

Here are some key take-aways from the book that drive sales results, regardless of the industry:

A. Hire for core values first, foremost and only. Don’t waver, settle or rationalize.

Zappos protects their core values as if they are the Federal Reserve. Zappos likes smart people, however, if the high IQ person interviewing doesn’t match the culture, it is a no go. They even go as far as paying new hires $2,000 to quit after the first week of training if the new employee doesn’t feel like the job is a good fit.

B. Honor the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

In the world of retail, vendors often get beat up on price, delivery, dating, etc. The team at Zappos understands the power and profit in collaboration. They believe their vendors are an integral part of their success and treat them well. Zappos works with their vendors to make sure everyone is making a profit. Makes good business sense doesn’t it? If your vendors are making money, there is a good chance that they can hire better people, provide better service and continue to invest in innovation.

C. Embrace Change. Create it, don't fight it and win because of it.

Embracing change is a core value for Zappos and is also a key business driver. Zappos understands that in the information age competitors have access to your best practices much quicker and will work hard to copy those best practices. As a result, Zappos only hires people who are flexible enough to work in an ever changing business environment. They know their competitive advantage is changing more quickly than the competition because they have the "right people" on the bus who know that change equals profits.

Are you delivering happiness to your customers?

Good Selling!

Colleen Stanley
Chief Selling Officer