Word to the RetailWise VI

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Presenting options to your customer initially and during the add-on or upsell stage.

Everyone knows that Presenting Options is one of the steps in the selling process. But not everyone knows it means exactly that.

Too often sales associates suggest options, point to options, and generally talk about options…instead of actually presenting the options. Sometimes presenting options can seem like a lot of work…but it pays off. Work is part of the job, right?

By putting the options – merchandise – in front of the customer (or the customer in front of the merchandise) they are encourage d to touch, feel, play…whatever it is depending on the type of merchandise being presented. This helps the customer become emotional about it; it creates some sense of ownership.

So, if you’re a retail manager, take a moment to really listen to your sales associates when they are talking with customers. You’ll probably hear some statements similar to these:

“We have widgets and they’re right over there.” Or, “A great widget would work well with that, and we do have some.” Or, maybe, “If you’re looking for a widget I can show you one if you like.”

Presenting is the key. Don’t just talk about your merchandise…. show it!

Employees who take initiative make a difference in your business.

What’s the difference between an employee who takes initiative and one who doesn’t? It’s not so easy to tell, but there is definitely a difference. 

Here’s a story about a recent experience in my favorite market to illustrate the point:

I noticed there was no pre-made garlic bread – the kind that the bakery staff makes when the bread is really fresh; they spread butter and garlic on the fresh bread and wrap it in foil while it’s still warm.  

Fresh garlic bread is always available for sale at this market so it seemed odd that there wasn’t any. However, the store was really busy so it was reasonable that they ha d sold out. Their brand of garlic bread is particularly good…people can’t get enough of it!

So, I asked an employee if there was any garlic bread – perhaps it had been merchandised in a different spot. She took one look at the counter that normally held the garlic bread and didn’t miss a beat…she turned to me and said “I’ll have one made up for you. It’ll take only 2 minutes.” And she immediately went about making a loaf for me. 

A very short time later she came out from behind the bakery counter and handed me my loaf of fresh garlic bread. Although this is a simple example of an employee taking the initiative to do something for a customer…when you compare her actions against the actions of 95% of retail/service employees out there today, it was pretty special.

I have been a loyal customer there for a couple of years, and my loyalty is not misplaced.  

It could have turned out very differently if the employee I spoke with was just average; if she was not the type to take initiative to please a customer. She might have said “Oh, I’m sorry we’ve sold out.” And that would be the truth and she may be really busy with no time to make a loaf for me. 

But, I would have been disappointed.

Not upset, or angry or ready to take my business elsewhere…just disappointed that I missed out. No one feels good when they miss out.

That’s the difference I’m talking about. 

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