I’m in Las Vegas at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. If you’re a storeowner, it’s the most expensive retail rental property in America.
The merchandise is all attractive. The customers are all in a festive mood, with big bags full of purchases, walking around the mall looking to buy even more.
The paradox is the salespeople. If you actually need sales help, the sales clerks are often talking to each other. At the more expensive shops, there’s a security officer at the door looking stoic, almost mean. But in Las Vegas, none of that matters. In spite of a stern security guard, in spite of lousy salespeople, the customers will still buy.
I’ll challenge every storeowner that if their front-door people were friendly greeters and their salespeople were engaging, sales could double. But most retailers haven’t figured that out yet.
How are you engaging your customers? Not greeting them. Engaging them.
Let me give you the elements of engagement and let you judge for yourself:
• Smile. Your smile tells the customer that they are welcome. Do you smile every time you greet someone?
• Friendly. Friendly is a manner that comes from within. It also allows the customer to be more open with you. Are you friendly all the times?
• Ask a question that creates meaningful dialog – an engagement question. It can even be a statement, as long as it engages. In retail, it can be “I have something perfect for you.” In your business it can be, “When I say (insert your product here) what one word comes to mind?”
• Sincerity. This is as obvious in its absence as it is in its presence. If you don’t love your job, if you don’t love your company, your sincerity will be in question, and so will your sales. Do you love what you do enough to be sincere about it?
• Eye contact. Look people in the eye when you greet them. It gives them confidence in you. How would you rate your eye contact? How can you improve it?
• Knowledge of the product or service you sell. When engaging a customer, this is a given. Are you the master of product knowledge?
• A genuine desire to help. This element comes from who you are as a person, your character, your service heart. How willing are you to serve others?
• An incentive (commission) to sell more. If you know there is a reward at the end of a successful journey, you’ll work harder to learn it and earn it. What’s your incentive?
• An ability to answer the customer’s question(s) in a manner that leads to the sale. Don’t just answer the question; try to find out why they’re asking it.
• Tell me what you can do, not what you can’t do. Don’t tell me you’re out of stock; tell me what other store has it and how you’re going to get it to me. How easy is it for your customers to buy?
• Ask for the sale. Most sales opportunities are lost because salespeople fail to ask for the business. Are you asking for the sales every time? (I doubt it.)
Engagement challenges you to get one-on-one with a customer in a manner that puts the customer at ease, excites them, and makes them want to purchase from you. It never ceases to amaze me that people in business fail to take advantage of the opportunity afforded to them when a customer calls or walks into their store wanting to buy.
In these challenging times, the power of engagement can help you get to the one word in business that you seek: Profit.