I want you to think about something: How are you building trust with your customers?
You charge your salespeople to build that connection with the consumer when they walk into your store, but are you practicing what you preach?
Think about it this way. When a consumer walks into your store, if your retail salesperson just walks up to that person and says, “Hey, how’s it going? We have a sale going on. Here are the prices. Here are the products in the sale. Which one do you want?” how good are your sales going to be for the day?
Versus a retail salesperson that greets that same consumer at the door, talks to them about how their day is going, interviews them based on the things that they are looking for, why they’re looking for them, what room they’re going to go in, and what quality level they’re interested in.
If it’s a mattress specifically, get into their sleep, their sleep habits, the problems they’re running into that are preventing them from getting a good night of sleep. If you do your job interviewing that consumer, when you get done, there is a trust built, not to mention the fact that if you’re able to along the way find some common ground.
Find some hobbies you both share, maybe even realize that your kids go to the same school. Talk about charities you’re involved in and make some sort of connection with them. Consider that your chances of ending that experience in a sale, go up drastically versus someone who just sits on your selling floor.
And all they’re interested in doing is really making a sale and making a commission. Customers understand that; they know what you’re up to. They have an automatic fear of making a bad decision because everyone has had that experience. So most salespeople are seen as a group that is just trying to get at your money. So you already have a wall belt, which means you really do have to do your job in building trust with that consumer.
Managers and owners: tough gut-check time. What are you doing with the store marketing budget to build trust with the consumer before they ever make it into your store?
And by that, I mean, are you sharing stories about who you are? Are you talking about your employees, even in social media or in your advertising? Are you talking about the charities that you support? Are you building value in the products that you sell instead of just pimping the sale with price and promotion advertising?
Because if you’re not, if you’re not finding ways to connect to the consumer while they’re in the shopping phase, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Let’s look at Tempur-Pedic as a case study for just a minute. When they first came to market, what did they do? Did they come into the U.S. and talk about the memory from technology and discount it 50% trying to get people to rush to their telephone and make an order or go online and buy it from them?
No, they did not. Instead, they took to the airwaves, they bought long-form ad inventory or 30-minute long shows and they told their story in a very unique and interesting way.
So there was a big piece of education that needed to happen for them. And they found a way to do that, that endeared people to their brand. Well, why did they do that? They did it because they knew if they weren’t building a connection to the consumer, if their storytelling wasn’t compelling and it didn’t create excitement, then they weren’t going to get people to move and buy a technology that had literally never been launched inside of this country before.
So did it work for Tempur-Pedic? Absolutely. They spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars telling their story and making their product interesting, not just promoting it, devaluing the product at the same time.
And as a result, when they decided to launch into brick and mortar, it’s not like they went knocking on doors begging people to take products on their floor. Brick-and-mortar retailers were beating on Tempur-Pedics door saying, “Hey, I need your beds on my floor because I love the big-ticket,” right?
Because of the job that you have done with your story, consumers come into my store presold because of the relationship you’ve already built with them during the shopping phase and through your media buy.
There are so many brick-and-mortar retailers out there that get it and do a terrific job in telling their story. But there’s a whole lot that don’t. So for all of you out there that are pushing product price and promotion 95% of the time, I just want you to think about it this way: You are asking your salespeople to build connections and build trust with the consumer when they come into your store. Because you know, if they do that, then a transaction is likely.
So why don’t you guys put some of your time, attention and focus on messaging through social media or even in your advertising in a way that builds trust and lets people get to know you. It makes them want to shop with you.
Awareness of your store in your market is a tiny piece of what the future is going to be for you. So my question to you back to the gut check: are you building preference for your store, or are you just another place to shop?
The good news is if you make people fall in love with your business by sharing some of your own stories, then you will go from that place to buy something into the only place your customers would even consider buying something—which is a pretty great place to be retail managers and owners.
If you’re training your salespeople to build relationships and ask good questions because it closes more deals, how is it that this strategy wouldn’t work for the social media and the marketing aspect of your business?
The answer is yes, it does work. It works for brands and it works for really great retailers out there. It can work for you if you’re not already doing it. All you have to do is focus on it and watch the business come because you’ll be playing a completely different game.
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