A friend recently told me about a motivational seminar he went to years ago. The speaker started out by asking everyone in the room to take out a dollar and throw it into the center aisle.  Pretty soon there was a rain of bills aimed at the center of the room. The speaker scooped up the money and took the pile up to the podium. He then posed the question: “Why did you give me this money?”

There was a moment of silence, and then he answered his own question: “Because I asked for it.”  A simple concept, but there is a lesson here for retailers. How often do we let a customer walk out without buying anything – simply because we are afraid to ask for the sale?

Especially here in the Midwest, we tend to be polite and not want to disturb shoppers. But if you go on the assumption that most people come into a store intending to buy something, it is not an imposition to assist them in doing so. 

Are your employees essentially cashiers whose interactions with customers are limited to ringing up sales?  The checkout counter is not the best place to give excellent customer service – hardly anyone about to leave a store ever answers “no” when asked if they found everything they were looking for.  The time to find out whether a shopper is finding what they came in for is while they are still browsing.

Offering sales assistance can be part of a friendly welcome.  And if your shop often doesn’t have what customers are looking for, be sure to track that valuable information.  Whatever many shoppers assume you might have is something you should consider stocking.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder