Client education in retail health food stores (and your small business, too…)

The kick from my “red eyes” (coffee w/a shot of espresso) has faded lately. Too many late nights and early mornings I guess. I decided I needed something “new” to level out my energy levels and keep my immune system running on high, even as I subject it to stress.

Off to the health food store I go.

I walk in and head to the energy section. Grab the supplement that’s been recommended to me and make for the counter. Before he rings me up, I ask Jay what else I should be looking at to stay my perky and happy self. Long story short, instead of walking out having spent $20, I lay 10 times that on assorted stuff.

I ask what should be the obvious questions:

Me: “Jay, how many people buy this energy stuff each day?”
Jay: “Oh, that’s one of our best sellers. About a dozen bottles a day, I’d guess.”
Me: “Really, that much, huh. How many of ‘em buy all this other stuff I did?”
Jay: “Hardly anyone, unless they ask.”
Me: “Uh-huh.”

Now, I long ago learned there is nothing more futile and less valued than free advice given without being asked for it. But I like Jay. He’s been waiting on me for over 5 years now. He’s a nice guy. So, I say it…

Me: “Gee, wonder what would happen if right next to the bottles, you put a flyer with the headline: ’11 Proven Ways To Boost Your Energy’ and subheadline that says, ‘You can have more energy throughout the day without getting the shakes, feeling nervous, or any other nasty stimulant side-effects. In fact, these supplements will actually boost your immune system AND make you healthier.” It could describe the same things you’ve sold me today, using the same language you used to sell them to me. Don’t you think you’d sell more stuff?”
Jay: “Sure, but if they want to know that stuff they’ll just ask me.”

At this point I refer back to my own advice about giving free advice.

See, the thing is, most people WON’T ask for advice, no matter whether it’s about marketing or supplements. They desperately want to know the right things to do, but not at the risk of looking like they don’t know what they are doing. When you make it easy for your customers to find out all the ways you can help them, you will pad your pocketbook. When you rely on them to ask the questions, to know the right questions to ask, or even to know that you are the right person to ask them of; money is just walking out your door. Every day.

This is true of retail, service, b2b, and every other industry I’ve been involved in.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous November 16, 2004 at 9:11 pm

Such valid info.  We all need to be more proactive as sales people. Ask questions – engage the customer – close the sale.
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2 Anonymous November 17, 2004 at 2:11 am

Such valid info.  We all need to be more proactive as sales people. Ask questions – engage the customer – close the sale.——-

Reply

3 Anonymous October 11, 2004 at 8:10 pm

You should try yoga.  That will solve all your energy problems.

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4 Anonymous October 7, 2004 at 3:10 pm

Involve the client ( customer ) in the process!  Essential feedback!  State and ask the obvious!

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5 Anonymous October 7, 2004 at 8:10 pm

Involve the client ( customer ) in the process!  Essential feedback!  State and ask the obvious!

Reply

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