For Your Staff:Selling Insights
As mom warned you, don't judge a book by its cover any customer
at any time is likely to make a big purchase
BY CHRISTINE ANZELL
& JACK LEVENSON
In our ongoing efforts to conduct the most effective sales training possible,
the two of us often go shopping. We trade our business suits and dress shoes
for jeans, sweatshirts and sneakers and wander into the mysterious world
of fine jewelers or department store jewelry counters to see what happens.
Too often, what does happen (or should we say doesn't happen) is truly unbelievable.
We deliberately dress way down to prove that just as customers judge
sales associates on initial contact, so do sales associates judge customers
the minute they cross the thresholds of their stores. We are proud
and sad to say we've been ignored or talked down to in some of the
finest establishments in the nation.
What's interesting about this situation is we'll conduct a seminar for
that company the next day and ask whether anyone can share a story about
prejudging a customer only to discover their initial judgment was incorrect.
Often, the same sales associate who ignored us the previous day stands up
and proudly presents the best anecdote in the group to prove the importance
of not prejudging people. Why is it that sales associates universally seem
to believe in not "judging books by their covers" and then persist
in doing exactly that day in and day out?
"Not me!" you say. "I treat everybody equally." That's
what many sales associates swear when telling us stories about folks who
enter the store in worn-out shoes, T-shirts with holes, cut-off jeans or
sweaty sweats. The sales associate who virtuously and courteously helps
these apparent losers is usually rewarded when these are the people who
whip out a wad and spend significant cash. Maybe we've all learned to be
kind to the unclean.
But What About All the Rest?
Be honest now how many times have you seen a teenager walk in and
suddenly remembered some important paperwork you had to complete? When was
the last time you rushed to greet a bent-over senior, a person who obviously
was not born in this country, a physically or mentally handicapped person
or one whose sexual preference appeared to be out of line with your own?
Here comes a gentleman with a bad toupee and a watch in need of a new
strap. How often have you pushed the newest associate in that gentleman's
direction while you waited, hoping someone off the cover of Vogueor
GQwould stroll in, head directly for the diamond solitaire case,
look in your direction and say "I'll take that one!"?
Do you avoid eye contact when you see a potential repair, cleaning, a
battery replacement or perish the thought a return coming
your way? Tell the truth; wouldn't you rather someone else handle that situation?
You might be missing the fact that all of the above-described people
may have as much expendable cash as the folks with the designer clothes
and fancy manicures. In fact, they often have moredisposable income
than the fashion plates who come in to drool but have no room left on their
A nine-year old asks to try on a $150 watch. After several sales associates
avoid him, one who sees the possibilities offers to help. Twenty minutes
later, the boy returns with his mother, who buys the watch for him.
A woman walks in and makes a beeline for the countertop watchband display.
That "green" salesperson is left to help after the vets stampede
to the back office. Upon choosing a $10 strap, she inquires about a 2-ct.
diamond ring she saw advertised in the newspaper. Shortly thereafter, she's
on her way out the door with her snazzy new watchband and her breathtaking
ring as the other associates kick themselves.
An admittedly intimidating-looking gentleman enters a San Francisco department
store. His shaved head is adorned with a spider web tattoo that extends
over his face to his neck. As he moves from one department to another trying
to buy several items, no one makes eye contact with him. He finally comes
upon an empathetic soul in Fine Jewelry who accepts his credit application
figuring, "What the heck. I'll process the application, he'll be rejected
and be on his way in a few minutes." When the human cartoon character
is granted an opening credit line of $5,000, the associate winds up ringing
and earning commissions on sales from her department and several
Judge Not ...
Successful sales associates never prejudge. Even if the big sale isn't made
that day, the courteous and enthusiastic equal treatment of all customers
will assure a very high rate of returning clients at the times they are
ready to buy.
Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson have spent a combined half-century
in fine jewelry retail. For information about their copyright jewelry-specificClient
Record Keeping Book orSales Training Manual, call them at (800)
887-8902, fax them at (954) 217-7065 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.