I started working with a new client recently and had the opportunity to meet some of the team. There’s this guy Sam (Name changed to protect the innocent) who after a brief conversation says, “What sign are you”? Immediately I’m thinking, “What is this guy all about (said sarcastically of course)? This is a business”. But I tell him I’m a Leo and he launches into a dissection of my sign, which is peppered with very flattering remarks about my personality.
This guy totally won me over! Why? Because he flattered me. And this guy doesn’t have anything to gain by flattering me. Now that I know this guy a little better, this intense interest in others, be it co-workers, clients and vendors is just how he is. He is universally loved and respected for his work, and I’m one of Sam’s biggest fans.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
How are you making sure you’re treating your customers like they’re the only ones in the world?
1. Greet each and every customer — I was in cavernous mattress store the other day and immediately upon entering had a sales associate walk toward me and greet me. As I watched, every new customer who came in had an associate “intercept” him or her at the door just to make them feel welcome. So intercept your customers right when they walk in. Don’t just sit behind the cash wrap and say hi. Walk up and say hi — it makes a huge difference and says you’re interested in them as your customer.
2. Be curious — Find some common turf to further the conversation beyond a hello. Tie what you’re selling into how it impacts their life. If you’re selling furniture, find out if they’re redecorating a room, the whole house, if it’s a new house, etc. Ask them about it. Apply this method to whatever category of retail you’re in.
3. Thank them by name — This is one of my favorites. I love store associates that grab my name from my credit card as they’re processing the transaction, then once the transaction is completed, they say “Thanks Mike”. Wow – they called me by my name – that’s a rarity in retail today.
4. Hand them the bag on their turf – Another favorite is when the transaction is completed and the sales associate picks up the bag, walks around the cash wrap and hands the bag to me. It’s so much more personal and is an added step that makes a huge difference. It says that you took the extra time to recognize how important they are as a customer. This is a great time to thank them by name.
5. Say thanks via mail — Get them into a database so you can track their purchases and more importantly say thanks via the mail. I love shopping at this store called Los Angeles Sporting Club because every time I shop, I get a thank you note in the mail. Not a big deal, but they stand out as retailers because you hardly ever see that anymore.
Connect with your customers and a more personal level and you’ll reap the benefits because you’ll truly stand out in a rather cold and impersonal retail world.