I am a vertically enhanced female which I normally see as a benefit, except when I am trying to buy clothing. Most of the clothing options for women do not come with a choice for inseam or length. This often leaves me in the dressing room wondering if I can pull of this dress being too short or do these jeans look like capris or a fashion faux pas. I am stuck in a world in which one-height-fits-all in ladies fashion.
Having been in customer service, it is hard for me to choke down being the customer without the service. I take long deep breaths and bite my tongue, as a salesperson rolls their eyes at me for taking outfit after outfit back to the changing room and still coming out empty handed. To that salesperson, I am just a statistic and one in which there is a diminishing ratio of time spent in service over amount of commission made. At that moment, I am no longer a person but some retail catch phrase.
A few years ago, I was afforded the unique opportunity to attend and complete a course on being a hostage. The focus on this training was how to increase the survivability ratio. The training was in-depth and extensive, but if I had to boil it down to one concept that seemed to improve survivability…make yourself a real person! It is difficult to dismiss someone you can relate to and to your captive, psychologically it is more difficult to kill someone they have a connection to.
As a perspective buyer, I refuse to be held hostage by retail nomenclature. I am a person and deserve to be treated as such. In order to gain this level of respect, I start off each buying experience with making myself real to the salesperson. I use the salesperson’s name. I treat the salesperson as my equal and with the same respect I wish to have them bestow on me. I look for talk points on things we might have in common. I ask questions, listen and entertain their advice. Even if they cannot help me, I give them the opportunity to point me in another direction and thank them for their assistance. I demonstrate to the salesperson that I am a person and a potential buyer.
If you want to be known for providing the best in customer service, flip the script! In management and sales performance training, teach your team how to connect with prospects and avoid the pitfall of seeing a potential buyer as just another catch phrase or statistic. When your sales and management teams are connected to someone, it is difficult to disregard their feelings because they are now seen as an equal. A salesperson or sales manager can now relate to this person as if they stood in those very same shoes. The ability to relate must occur before the sales can be made.
Most decisions to purchase are connected to some level of emotion. Therefore, building a relationship is the key to building trust. If your team is vested in their emotion, they are no longer engaging in a one-size-fits-all sales process. Being able to custom fit the sales experience to the prospect not only increases the likelihood of closing the sale, but also the potential for continued business and referrals.