Please say a fond farewell to retail. Because retail as we’ve known it, is gone. Certainly, the old attitude of “It’s on the floor, so we’re done” is gone, and in that case, good riddance. While that might have worked when there was only one store in town, now, no matter how small a town is, competition comes via the Internet.
So what can you do to ensure that your business stays rock solid? Engage in exceptional customer service. It will be the differentiator between those stores that stay, and the ones that go away.
But if you’re a small business with a small budget, how can you offer exceptional service. Filmmaker and Webby founder Tiffany Schlain has the answer. It works equally well online or off.
She says the best way to get the people you want involved in your projects or your business, is by offering them a “love sandwich.” Here’s how to make one.
Recipe for a Love Sandwich
Step one is by giving some love, the second step is asking for what you need, and the last is finishing off with a heaping portion of love on top.
Here’s how it works when people come to your store. Start by making them happy. Do it by saying Hello when they enter, and be really friendly when you do so. After all, you are happy to see them; without them, you have no business.
Offer a small compliment (if it’s sincere), and give them something simple. Trader Joe’s does it with its food and coffee bar, and you can do something similar. Make sure you tell them, Help yourself, so they feel comfortable doing so.
Then ask for what you need–in this case it’s the sale. Do that by asking whether they want to look around or whether they want help. If they want help, don’t point and don’t tell what aisle it’s on. Take them straight to what they want, and if you stock several different models of what they’re looking for, clearly explain the differences to them. That shows shoppers that you appreciate their business, which makes them more inclined to buy from you.
Then finish up with love. You can do that by complimenting their taste or their savvy, by wrapping their purchase carefully and beautifully, and by placing it in a shopping bag that you’re proud of (after all, it has your name on it!), and that they’re proud to display.
When you take care of people, they take care of you. By offering exceptional, caring, customer service, you show the value of your business and you bring in more. Find more suggestions on How to Drive Traffic to Your Store here.
If you want more ideas about bringing in business, I can help. I’ve been a retail reporter at Women’s Wear Daily and Home Furnishings News, a columnist at the Miami Herald and a correspondent at People.
I’ve also handled the marketing and public relations at major corporations and small businesses. Need a speaker or a consultant? Get in touch at Ask Laurel (one word) at laureltielis.com or connect with me at LinkedIn.
Copyright © 2012 Laurel Tielis