Are Knowledgeable Store Employees The Canard of Retail?

retail employeesAs any reader of this blog knows, I’m am a huge fan of well-trained retail employees; specifically retail salespeople.

I think a job in retail can be the best training for anyone wanting to do something with their life.

I think every parent should encourage their sons and daughters to work in a local retail store starting in high school. A retail store where they can learn how the real world works.

So why would I call knowledgeable store employees a canard?

First, in case you don’t know the word, a canard is a false or half-truth. It comes from the old French expression, "‘vendre un canard à moitié" (to half-sell a duck.) It's not the complete story.

For example, “the widespread canard is that all lawyers are dishonest,” OK, that might not be the best example, but you get the idea.

Survey after survey reports on customer discontent at not finding knowledgeable store employees.

It's far as it goes.Slide1

According to a Deloitte survey,having knowledgeable employees was the most compelling strategy by retailers to get potential customers to buy and was the most likely reason shoppers said they would be more likely to buy in store.

I disagree…

There are plenty of retailers who have knowledgeable retail sales experts.

They include hobbyists who use the product, Analytical salespeople who pride themselves on their knowledge, and a host of retail employees who work with brands they love.

So they know the product but that’s just not enough...

They don’t know how to engage the customer.

They don’t know how to get the customer to trust them.

They don’t know how to get into a dialogue and sell from the side, instead of from in front.

They don’t know how to sell from a friendly position as equals, instead of from a knowledge bank of superiority.

And the higher the price of the merchandise, the more important it is to engage... truly engage that one customer…

As an equal…

As a friend.

And no app is going to save you.

Neither will any amount of geo-spammed discounts and coupons to smartphones…

Neither will a new mobile website...

Neither will dubious services like curbside pickup...

None of those are going to change that.

It starts with who you allow on your sales floor, yes…

but it’s what you do with them once you have them on your team.

More knowledgeable store employees without the tools of engagement won’t close a sale.

Get the full picture, stop trying to sell half a duck.

And yes, that's where I come in...

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