Stop the Insanity

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, then the battle cry of the insane is: “May I help you?”

For the love of humanity, stop saying that! If you’re in retail and your sales team addresses customers in that manner, you’re losing over 30% of the sales you could and should have.

To stop this travesty and others, training and role-play must occur on a regular basis. The top sales professionals in the world continue to work on their skills, and if the top professionals in the world need it, your sales associates certainly need it. There are no exceptions to this. None. And no, I don’t mean the high-pressure, insincere, used car salesman pitches of the past. I mean authentic, informed, interesting shopper interaction with the intent of helping them experience something from your store that will enhance their lives.

Most of all – be real:

  • Talk to them like someone you met at a dinner party.
  • Introduce yourself
  • If you like something they’re wearing, compliment it and ask them where they found it
  • Let them know of some special department or item in the store that is unique
  • Tell a short story about the item’s origin that’s intriguing and how they should be sure to see it before they leave
  • Give them a brief overview of the store and let them know you’ll check on them in a bit to see what they think.
  • Listen and be interested in what they have to say – don’t just be waiting to talk

When you check on them, don’t say, “Do you have any questions?” Don’t ask questions to which they can answer no.

Say something like:

  • “ What have you seen that’s interesting?” (They could say ‘nothing’ but they most likely won’t – unless they’re rude.)
  • Get them talking – recommend that they take a look at a certain item or a new shipment that has just arrived
  • Tell a story about how you or a friend bought something like what they’re looking at and how it worked out well for you/them
  • Employ a small touch of appropriate humor
  • Ask them their thoughts on displays or what they would like to see in this type of store
  • Don’t overwhelm them with a list of scripted questions
  • Stop being robotic
  • Loosen up and let the conversation flow so it’s enjoyable for the customer because they are more than a customer, they are an actual person with thoughts, feelings and opinions – treat them as such.

If they are mild-mannered and slow moving, talk to them the in that way. We are most comfortable with those who are like us. If they are outgoing and flamboyant, get excited, use bigger hand gestures – even touch them on the shoulder… and always, regardless of behavioral type, use their name. We all like to hear our name spoken to us. It is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate that they are important and matter to you. This is not a small thing – stop with the excuse of “I’m not good with names” and just do it.

This is nothing more than good sense in action, but so often we are distracted and don’t make the effort on the very things that will get us more business than anything else – smart customer interaction.

This goes for answering the phone too. Phone calls are not an imposition; they are an opportunity – so act accordingly.

Think of it this way, you are capable of making friends in your personal life; therefore, you can do it in your business life too. Everywhere you go its all life; so relax, have fun and make friends – do that and the sales will follow.