In the beginning your sale has unlimited potential. It has the potential to be quick, easy and effortless. It also carries the potential to be a long-winded, drawn-out marathon. The final outcome is going to be based solely on whether you truly connected with your customer or not. From the moment your customer walks through your doors your actions set the course of the current sales process as well as the future sales process – if they choose to shop with you again.
For those of you who did your homework in reading The Four Basic Customer Types series, I’m sure you could see that there was an ultimate goal by design. By taking care of your customers’ individual needs you have the potential to turn every customer into a Simple Minded Customer. Once the bond of trust is established and the customer knows that you have their best interest in mind, sales become easy and almost effortless. This is the way to build your customer base and create an environment that makes selling fun.
Now you have a clear vision of what true and lasting success will look like. However, achieving such success takes a lot of hard work and effort. So today we will start by focusing on the customer who is shopping at your store for the very first time. Every new customer who enters through your door is walking into a world of unknown. Some may be guarded wondering if they will be pounced on or cheated. Others may appear confident while fear and insecurity are bringing out the worst in them. The bottom line is that the Modern Day Customer has been trained by negative experiences to not trust you.
The first priority in assisting your customer is to overcome their fear and establish a connection to open the lines of communication. You do this by offering a service that benefits the customer. Offer a free jewelry cleaning and inspection while they browse. This allows them the necessary time to adjust to the store and begin to relax. If they refuse, offer them a beverage while they shop. These simple things assure the customer that you are there to serve them and it sets the tone for the sales process.
The old-school training would go something like this: “OK, Michelle, I am going to clean her jewelry. While I’m doing that you go see if you can sell her.” Today’s customer is no longer naïve or stupid. They see right through that and you are worse off than you were to begin with. I like my customers to see me working for them with no pressure or gimmicks. This creates a beautiful word called “obligation”. The customer feels obligated to shop with you even if they are not purchasing that day.
Other ways I offer service is finding a customer’s need and addressing that need. The watch they are wearing might be too big on them. Offering to take a few links out for free while they shop goes a long way. If it is someone shopping for an anniversary, I will go the extra mile and buff their band while they shop. This would be a need they did not even know existed. It could be a simple prong that is bent or a ring shank out-of-round. The list could go on and on. In my seminars people are amazed how many little things you can find to serve your customer. All you have to do is stop and think. Owners and managers, I suggest you do this little exercise with your staff.
Another way to establish a connection with your customer is to make them laugh or smile. When a couple walks in together and I introduce myself I always follow it up with the following line: “Bill, I am here to make this process as painless as possible for you.” Instant smile every time! It is little things like this that relax your customer and begins to establish a bond of trust. Sometimes I actually tell the customer, “You’re the boss. I work for you.”
As you can see the common theme is letting the customer know that you are there to serve them. If you learn to do these little things well that “Just Looking Customer” will open up to you like never before.
There is a way to fix the problem that we as an industry created. In order to do so you must first understand the problem and see it with clarity
Many years ago we created a concept called “the sales tactic” which was intended to be good. Over time these sales tactics became fueled by greed, which disconnected us from our customers. Instead of focusing on our customers we began to focus more on the dollar amount and commissions. Those tactics worked well for a season, until the customer awakened and decided they no longer wanted to be treated like that. This has lead to years of sales associate vs customer and the sales floor has become a grind of relentless stress and pressure. Those who have worked in the industry for a long time can testify to this.
In closing I will leave you with the final ingredient to help you connect with your customer. It’s the benefit of using passion and energy when connecting with your customer for the first time. When your customer enters your store do they hear the excitement in your voice? Do they feel the energy and enthusiasm that you give in your hustle to work for them? Can they see the desire that you possess within to take care of them?
Unfortunately in today’s world many of us are weary and run down by the demands of business life. We are lacking the proper passion and energy to impact our customers’ lives in a meaningful way. This month’s homework is to read my old articles titled, “Maintaining your Levels of Passion and Energy,” and “Understanding Life’s Defining Moments.” They can be found on the Southern and Mid-America Jewelry News websites, www.SouthernJewelryNews.com and www.MidAmericaJewelryNews.com under columnist Brian Barfield. Within these two articles you’ll find the answers on how to give your customers the proper service they desire.
It is my hope that this article has opened your eyes to see the new opportunity you have to make your sales career more fun, meaningful and successful. For more information I encourage you to purchase a few copies of my book, “Modern Day Selling” for your staff for the holidays. It’s the perfect gift that will keep on giving.
Brian Barfield is a two-time published author, world-wide, who specializes in offering fresh new insight in retail sales training. Modern Day Selling offers a unique perspective in teaching sales associates how to reconnect with their customers and how to achieve greater success in their sales career. For more information please visit his website www.moderndayselling.com. Brian also offers in-store sales training and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.