Many sales gurus teach the adage “don’t sell, help customers buy.” Apple is one company that really takes it to heart, according to this recent report from the WSJ.

In fact, Apple store employees may not even help customers buy per se.  Instead, they’re told to help customers solve problems.

When customers first enter, they’re told to “approach customers with a personalized warm welcome.” 

Then, the employees are told to:

“Probe politely to understand all the customer's needs.”

“Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.

Present a solution for the customer to take home today.”

“End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

Apple’s problem-solving employees, true to the company’s “don’t sell, help customers” philosophy, don’t receive any sales commission.

Other rules Apple store employees follow include not prematurely acknowledging widespread glitches in products, not discussing rumors about products, and not writing about their employment experience with Apple online.   

“What Apple has done so well is pay attention to the customer buying experience,” said David Brock, CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, a business consulting firm.

While Apple’s product advantages, especially in design, have been well-publicized, Brock thinks its industry-leading point-of-sale advantage over its competitors cannot be stressed enough.

“It’s different from any other kind of [consumer] technology buying experience.  Everything is customer-friendly from the showrooms, to the way you’re greeted at the door, to the way employees deal with you, to the way you pay for the product,” said Brock.