Retail is a tough gig. And that is compounded by the fact that so many people who work in retail do it 'by accident' and not by design.

Truth be told: retail is one of the most exciting jobs you can imagine. It requires creativity, financial acument, people skills and lots more. It is always changing and you are at the forefront of consunmer trends.

IF ONLY retailers and their staff made it their business to know and understand their businesses.

When visiting a centre where I was running a retail selling workshop, I arrived early and went for a wander. I bought an iced-tea at the donut shop, and observed a particular interaction which is, unfortunately, probably not rare.

Customer: A caramel shake please.

Owner: Just a regular size? (Holding the cup aloft.)

He should have attended the training. But that is another story for another day.

In the sales training we cover the Principle of Reciprocity. That is; how to induce it during the sales process in order to effect a sale. Reciprocity is one of six such psychological hot buttons that every retail professional should know.

In this scenario, you would use it as follows:

  • Make the bigger milkshake.
  • If the customer (belatedly) expresses a wish for the smaller size, let them pay for the small one and have the big one ‘on the house’.
  • Tell them what you are doing: apologise and make the offer. Event if they protest, insist. (The same applies to wrong orders.)

Give away your mistakes!

This induces reciprocity: the customer now feels obligated to return your kindness. And there is only one way they know how – and that is by returning for another serve.

Of course ‘giving’ a customer great service is the best gift and again they reciprocate with return visits.

Can you think fo a few other (specific) ways that you can induce reciprocity?