Retail: It’s okay to sell

I’m in the market for a dining table so I popped in to my favourite local homewares store recently and found a table that I must have missed previously. 

It was hidden underneath lots of other homewares, but the price tag suggested it was not only on sale but absolutely perfect…

So I went to the counter which is where the two “Prue and Trude” types were hiding.  Prue was guarding her store from customers who wanted to buy and Trude was trying but not succeeding to make not being able to buy anything  a bit more pleasant. 

I couldn’t believe it when I asked about the table…

 

Here’s a transcript of the conversation…

Me: “Just wondering about the dining table here….do you have any new I can order for delivery (which I’d done with other furniture) or only floor stock?”

Prue: “Haven’t you gone onto our webpage to check?”

 

Breathe.

Me: “Ah, well last time I did, there weren’t any tables, but maybe I missed something…” 

Prue called up the website and was disappointed to find no tables.  Instead, she said:

Prue: “We’ve only got that table and it’s not for sale.  We need it for our displays.”

Me: “Oh.  And are there any others available at the warehouse?  Would you be open to selling me this one?”

 

Trude: “it’s had oil spilt all over it….it’s a bit damaged.”

Me: “Oh right.  That makes sense.  Okay thanks.”

 

I started to walk out and noticed a second previously unnoticed table exactly the same and also ticketed for sale at the same price.

Me: “I’ve just noticed this one: is this for sale at all?”

Prue: “No we need both tables for displays…”

 

I couldn’t have given her my money if I’d tried.  And I tried a couple of times.  It was a shame because I wanted to support this local business. But it was like I’d swum across the moat and now faced the secondary line of defence at the castle.  She needed to bring out the big guns to stop me actually buying something in her store!

Now, I also know another local business where the exchange was very different when my mum bought something from her last year (hint: she’s grown and has had the same lifestyle/homewares shop for 20 years which is no mean feat)…And believe me, if she had what I wanted, of course I’d have gone across the road!

 

Mum: “Just wondering about the buffet….do you have any new or only floor stock?”

Annie: “I’ll sell you that one and order another one…I’ve just noticed a couple of scratches as it’s been floor stock.  Would you prefer to wait for the next shipment for a new one or if you want it now, I’m happy to knock $x off it and have it delivered to you by xday?  I’ll need a deposit today and I’ll put a big sold sticker on it….”

Mum: “That would be great…” 

Buffet delivered.  Product being enjoyed currently. Great connection to store maintained.

 

Now, I’m not sure if the first store was owned by Prue or Trude.  But if not, the owner is in serious trouble.  It takes a lot of candles, door mats, fragrance sticks and lamps to make up for one of those tables.  And it’s made me think twice about couches.  Which is a real shame because I love their stock.  But I don’t want to have to battle to buy…just be allowed.  Boy, this was anti selling..

So, retail please make it easy.  Meet your customers where they are.  Make it easy to buy from you and be happy about it.  And if you truly dare, sell to them. 

 

They may just be aching for the experience.

 

View our other posts

From My Heart to Yours This Xmas

Any business which has person to person  interactions has an opportunity to embody the spirit of Xmas by demonstrating our willingness to serve others.  I talk about service a lot.  I am guilty of banging on about it actually.More recently I’ve been asked why the word...

Rep vs consultant

What makes a good sales rep? Is it someone who has the courage to walk into a brand new prospective business and give them the “spiel” like a door to door encyclopedia sales person?Is it someone who builds great rapport on first introduction and makes a time to have a...

When Connection goes wrong

Some people are amazing at building rapport.   They’re naturals.  Everywhere they go, they meet more people who like them and who trust them. It’s almost like they can’t help it….or can they?I recently met someone like this, who connected with me so well that I had to...

Build your network before you need it

A few months back I caught up with a friend and colleague who had recently been made redundant.She’d been in the role for a few years and couldn’t foresee the events that led to a few people in her department being let go when a new Managing Director started making...

Why gratitude is fundamental to better service

We can only give away what we have.  The disease of more is rife in our culture: more money, more time, more boobs, more lips, more sex, more love, more holidays, more recognition, more likes, more followers….when is what we have enough?  When do we learn to...

PODCAST: The Art Of Backing Yourself

Listen to EP 6: The art of backing yourself | Ingrid Maynard from The Millennial Crisis in Podcasts View our other posts

Have we trained customers to expect too little

Are customers expecting too little of retail? When our customers believe that great service is being greeted when they enter our store we must NOT pat ourselves on the backs as retailers!Because it’s not great. It’s common courtesy. A service standard.  And it’s on...

Merging online and bricks and mortar

In 1999 when I was working at the Australian Retailers Association, I read that MYER was adamant that its online sales would only ever be 10% of total sales revenue. How times have changed. With bricks and mortar retailers battling declining sales, it’s easy to think...

The Customer Experience?

Retailers!   We have never lived in a more exciting time when technology and personal experience can work together.  Ignite your imagination beyond marketing and understand that your people are your front line brand ambassadors.  They embody your brand…..or not.  What...

How to have a SERVICE culture

How to have a SERVICE culture Culture.  You can feel it.  It’s embodied by the experience we have as employees, as clients or customers, as service providers…and it’s a tricky one to define.  But we all know when the culture is a good one, and when it isn’t.Creating a...