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 an option for inseam or length. This often leaves me in the dressing room wondering if I can pull of this dress as an empire waist line without looking like a maternity dress or can these jeans be cut into a Capri. 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 as I watch a salesperson roll there eyes at me, as I take outfit after outfit back to the changing room and still come 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 and simulation 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 better a person’s chance of survival, I would say make yourself a real person to your captive for physiologically it is more difficult to kill someone you 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. So 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 and listen and entertain their advice. Even if they can not 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.
Now let’s flip the coin. As a salesperson, connect with your prospects and you will avoid the pitfall of seeing your potential buyer as just another catch phrase or statistic. When you are connected to someone, it is difficult to disregard their feelings. Most decisions to purchase are connected to some level of emotion. If you are vested in their emotion, you 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.
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