I walked into a furniture store the other Sunday; as you do when you are looking for a piece of furniture. It wasn’t long before I was approached by a staffer with the broadest smile.
You’d think he was really glad to see me. He made good eye-contact, stopped before he got too close and said ‘G’day, have you been to XYZ before?’
I said I hadn’t.
‘Well, if you like, I can show you around, or I can give you our latest catalogue to point you in the right direction – there is a floor layout on the back page that will help.’
He whipped out the catalogue like magic and handed it over with a great smile; and used the opportunity to ask more questions.
‘What room are you looking to furnish?’ he asked.
Interesting; a closed-ended question, but yet a smart one – no matter what my answer he could continue the conversation. And I couldn’t respond with a ‘just browsing’ when I asked a simple question that had to have an answer. And a question that would help him to guide me towards the right section of the store.
‘A tallboy,’ I replied, thinking I will make him work for it.
'Excellent' he said, affirming my choice as if I was doing the right thing when I haven’t even done a thing.
‘They are definitely back in vogue, let me show you to that section.’
Great use social proof, I recognised.
‘Will this be for your own room or for another?’ he asked casually as we approached the section. I noticed that he was leading the way but managed to pace exactly to my own pace without me feeling that I am being led like a lamb to slaughter.
And so it continued. He engaged me upfront. He helped me buy the product I wanted with enabling questions. He demonstrated product knowledge which enhanced his authority. He got me to commit to certain products with clever engagement questions and said the right things that affirmed my choices without sounding like a sales pitch.
Then I woke up.
Of course I was dreaming.
What really happened was that I walked in and wandered around like a lost sheep in a warehouse with poor signage.
I was ignored for about 8 minutes, and then I decided that maybe I did want to give my money to them after all. Maybe they were too busy complaining about the impact of the internet on their business.
C’est la vie.
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Ganador is a learning and development agency with accredited expertise in using technology to equip people with the knowledge, skills and tools for effective communication and high performance in the consumer frontline of retail. Email Dennis with questions.