Tis the season for all the great Holiday movies and “When Harry Met Sally” is on the top of my list. “I’ll have what she’s having” is how many customers shop. You are losing sales if you are only presenting products or services based on “I’ll have what she’s having.” Here’s how…
Most customers shop with the same method as the older lady in this scene. She has no idea that the food is not why Sally is reacting so excitedly, but she is making her purchase decision based on what she is seeing and hoping it will give her the same results – even though she has no idea she will not get the same results! That is how people generally shop for goods or services!
I had the great fortune to have learned sales skills from a specialty women’s shoe and apparel store owner (“The Shop for Pappagallo” in Miami) back in the 1980’s. I was young, and I remember that while I was being interviewed, I honestly thought he was really over the top in how serious he was about selling shoes. Looking back, I am grateful for him teaching me what true selling was all about.
Don’t just honor their request before they learn all of their options!
His approach was to completely ignore the “I’ll have what she’s having” approach most women had when they came to his store. For example, if a woman asked for a dressy black strappy sandal with a high heel, I was taught to bring her EVERY black shoe we had in her size – sandals, pumps, yes, even boots! We had to bring a minimum of 8 pairs of shoes out to the floor!
At first, I thought he was just a slave-driver – I was 21, and not mature enough to understand his approach. And was this intimidating to the customer? Sometimes, but they soon realized we weren’t pressuring them to buy. We then would open every box and hang the heel of a shoe on the end of the box. This made a presentation like that of the assortment in the glass case at the candy store, only this was a candy store of shoes! It really wowed them and they were ready to try all the “candy!” It was not uncommon to sell them a shoe (or 2) of a shoe that was totally unlike what they asked for. This was an especially good approach for those who requested a shoe that was totally wrong for their type of foot. With our skills and knowledge, we found shoes that made them look AND feel good. They were much happier with their purchase and often became loyal customers.
What was important was that it showed them their options…
Most people have no idea of the options available to them in any store or for any service, especially if it is their first time. You are really losing many selling opportunities if you only present what you were asked for … and you are not providing your best customer service.
Customers can’t and don’t have knowledge of your entire inventory and services, nor do they have the time to browse long enough to learn. That is why you must have salespeople to listen to their needs and bring the appropriate products to their attention. Even people who appear to know exactly what they want – they still don’t know all their options and it is your job to present them all.
Think about when YOU shop. You probably have a pretty good idea of what you want, but would certainly be open to other possibilities if they were properly presented to you and truly fit your needs.
A customer usually shops based on what his/her friend has, or s/he saw on TV, etc. But, realize that if they were 100% sure of what they seek, they could certainly purchase online. But they drove to and walked into your store! Isn’t that evidence enough that they need more help and more knowledge of the options that might be available to them? Jump on it!
Don’t miss that golden opportunity – a warm lead!
What a customer is actually saying to you when they tell you what they want is, “I think this item is what I need, but it would be great to have choices. But if no one gives me any other options or educates me about other products that would serve me better, …I’ll just have what she’s having.”
Ask and listen! Don’t miss the opportunity to sell them what they really seek! Otherwise, their experience with you is minimal and most of all, not memorable. If you helped them get what they really sought, they would most certainly come back to you over and over because you kept them from wasting their money on a lesser choice.
So bring out ALL the black shoes…!!!