Retail Advice: What To Say Before They Go Out The Door

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As a retail consultant, I find people are always looking to me for retail advice to increase their sales. Everyday experiences can provide some of the best learning...

A colleague of mine, former senior editor James Bickers at Retail Customer Experience, shared a story that I thought was particularly good. "Just down the road from my house is a great, locally owned, independent comic book shop that used to be one of my frequent haunts. Recently I've gone back in to reconnect with a hobby that I once loved.

The owner, an unassuming and quiet fellow named Doug, is there virtually all of the time. He has a deep love for and knowledge of his product and is always happy to make suggestions about what to read next, based on what you've previously enjoyed.

Doug does something else that I didn't notice at first, a powerful little trick of language: When he's handing you your purchase and change, he leaves you with a phrase that, for lack of a better term, is a command to come back.

He doesn't say, 'Come see us again!' or 'Thanks, please come again!' or any of the common parting shots. No, he says, confidently, 'You'll be back,' or 'You'll enjoy," or 'You'll come back for more soon!'"

Notice the level of specificity in his parting shot.

He planted the seed for my next purchase by spelling it out for me. Much more effective is a simple and direct statement of what value the customer received, why they will want to receive it again, and what they will come back for."

Giving thought to what employees should say as customers leave is something most of us never consider when trying to build sales. I'm reminded of my first sales training in footwear when I was in college. After you were all done and the order was paid for you'd move out from behind the counter and say something like, "Now let me show you your next pair."

Set the right expectation and you've planted a seed for return sales.

See you soon!

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