Apple’s retail chief has rallied the troops: Do not upsell the iPhone X

Apple’s Angela Ahrendts: High five on the downsell?
Apple’s Angela Ahrendts: High five on the downsell?
Image: Reuters/Noah Berger
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We’re days away from the launch of the iPhone X, but Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior VP in charge of retail, isn’t training employees in hard sales techniques. At the company’s 500 shops around the world, employees are being told that there’s an iPhone for everyone. There’s no need to upsell the latest model.

In a recent interview with CNBC at Apple’s new flagship store in Chicago, Ahrendts explained that she’s more interested in building a relationship with customers, which means giving them something that best suits their needs. “It’s no different than fashion,” said the former Burberry CEO. “Don’t you go back to someone who has taken really good care of you, who you trust to make you a better version of yourself?”

Apple employees, Ahrendts believes, need to be able to “look you in the eyes and create a lifelong, loyal relationship,” by matching you with the appropriate phone, even if it’s at a cheaper price than the newest model. That’s the way the company approaches sales of its MacBooks and iPads too, she notes.

It’s certainly a laudable approach when the world is awash in e-waste, more people are in debt, and most of us are served pretty well by the phones we already own.

Then again, Apple doesn’t need to do much work to drive interest in the iPhone X. Its new phone launches always seem to have a momentum of their own. We all know: there will be campers, if not blood.