Monday, April 09, 2007

Respect the customer...please!

The Retail Muse welcomes Guest Blogger Tom Shay of Profits+Plus Seminars and crowd favorite at CAMEX 2007.

Tom muses…

A personal shopping experience in the last couple of days provides me with good material for the readers of The Retail Muse.

Walking into a store, we were promptly met by a young lady who was bright and cheerful. You might think this is a good thing. However, as soon as we were in the store, she went into her "pitch" that she had developed for the day.

"Here is what is new. Here is the rest of the series of this product. Here is why you should buy it. Here are my testimonials from customers of how much they love it."

There were two glaring errors in her efforts.

The first is that she failed to recognize the "decompression zone". That is, the space and the time a customer first experiences when they enter your store. If the customer is walking in from outdoors, the “DZ” gives their eyes an opportunity to adjust to the indoor lighting. It is the time the customer gains their "bearings”, determines the type of store they have just entered, and what their senses are telling them about the place.

The second error was her pre-determination of where the conversation was going to go. She was intent on telling me about her store. We refer to this as "informational throw-up" or "verbal vomit". It sounds ugly…and it is. It’s an open demonstration of the sales person’s dis-interest in learning from the customer (like what the customer is looking for). I see this type of situation in two common instances - technology sales and “trained” salespeople.

“Verbal vomit” happens in technology sales because there are a lot of features and details to the product. Unfortunately the salespeople do not realize that many customers are not interested in all of that. They just want to ask their questions and find the best solution.

“Info throw-up” also happens when staff members are “trained” instead of educated. Trained sales people are told what to do and what to say. They are not allowed to do any of their own thinking. Compare this to staff that are educated on the finer skills of interacting with customers and engaging the customer in a conversation. These staff members will know the proper steps to greeting and conversing with customers. They will also know to listen first, ask questions to clarify needs, and THEN recommend products to meet the customer’s needs and make a sale.

Tom Shay, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)
Profits+Plus Seminars

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