This is a guest blog by a friend of mine, Bruce King, whose book “How to Double Your Sales: The Ultimate Masterclass in How to Sell Anything to Anyone” is possibly one of the best business books I’ve ever read, far extending beyond just sales! Bruce wrote this blog back in 2008 and came across it when he was clearing down his old file! He sent it over to me and I felt it was still so relevant that I wanted to share it with you – I hope you enjoy it!
Shopping in New York was a joy! An amazing difference to shopping in the UK…
I’ve been in New York for three days now. The trip is a mix of speaking engagements, visiting my two daughters who both live and work here, and playing with my new grandson. As my wife is accompanying me so I have had to go on several shopping trips, which not my favourite pastime in the UK! But I have to say it has been a joy; what an amazing difference to my usual UK shopping experience…
Service with a smile – being made welcome makes me happier to spend!
In the UK I am almost never greeted with a smile. In the UK most shop assistants are surly, cannot be bothered, do not know very much about their product and seem reluctant to serve me – let alone actually sell me anything. In fact on so many occasions I feel I’m intruding and unwelcome. Even if I want the item they have, I feel unhappy about giving them my money.
Not so in the New York. EVERYWHERE I go I am greeted with a big smile and areally pleasant hello. I am welcomed into the store. They make me feel good and wanted. They know anything and everything you could want to know about what they are selling – and YES – they sell! They sell very pleasantly, very efficiently and they make me WANT to spend money. On several occasions when my wife or I wanted a particular item they did not stock, they even told us where else we could purchase those items, walked with us to the shop doorway and gave us instructions of how to find their competition. Shopping in New York is an absolute pleasure!
Is lack of training the reason why UK retailers make shopping so unpleasant compared to their counterparts in the USA?
So why have so many retail shops got it wrong here? What is the matter with them – what is their problem? Obviously it’s bad training – I believe they are not taught to sell, they are taught (sometimes) to serve. There is a big difference between serving and selling! I also think part of the answer is that New Yorkers complain about poor service. They are not prepared to tolerate it and speak out loudly on the rare occasions that they are not satisfied. Here in the UK we tend not to complain, so to some extent it is also our fault… So in future complain if you are not happy. If the store manager is not cooperative, then write to their head office. If you don’t get any satisfaction from that, write to the Chairman. Their details are almost certain to be on their website. Complain and things will eventually get better.
And how can smaller retailers steal the march on the “big boy” competition?
So, that was Bruce’s view…. Now my advice reflecting on that is:
Think like a New Yorker! Expect a rude complaint if you under-serve and your service will improve; expect no sales unless you make it a pleasant experience and your sales will improve. Most of all TRAIN the staff – ensure that anyone who comes into contact with a customer understand the very basic requirements “service with a smile” and ensure they understand the product inside out. If they don’t then they must be ready to refer to a colleague who does – everything they do should focus on making that customer HAPPY to part with their money… and that all ties back to my key advice for smaller retailers “Don’t compete on price, compete on service”
If you feel you need some support in sales and customer engagement Bruce’s book is a good tool as a starting point… and of course by July you can add mine to that too! 🙂
About Bruce King…
Bruce King is a UK based sales and marketing consultant who is recognised internationally as a leading sales, marketing and personal growth strategist. With over 35 years experience he is a highly sought after keynote conference speaker, sales and marketing master class presenter, and sales trainer. Bruce is additionally a highly regarded business adviser focused on SMEs, a personal coach, and a best selling author.
In 1993 Bruce was commissioned to write a book for BBC Books. “Psycho-Selling: How To Double Your Income From Sales In 8 Weeks”, was published by the BBC in 1994, was translated into several languages, and became an international best seller. Since then he has written several other best selling books including “Double Your Sales” (Financial Times).
Bruce is a Fellow of The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (FInstSMM) and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD).