All retailers of all types should have no trouble relating to this post, especially if they offer made-to-order products ...
Customers, especially at picture framers, are already apprehensive about bringing their treasure to you be framed and it's not just because of the price…
A lot like choosing a wallpaper, reframing their eyeglasses, or resetting a diamond, customers don't know what the end result will look like until they see it done. They only know that they had to trust the person who sold it to them.
And they’ll have to live with the result of that choice for a long time.
Once when I was visiting a custom picture framer, I overheard him say to his customer, “You have to mat the photograph or it’ll touch the glass and you'll ruin it.” I watched the woman wince and back away from him.
He had instantly put her on guard and heightened her insecurity.
Like the almighty Oz, he snapped a fact at her, and at that moment, lost any chance of forming a relationship that could have ended in a sale.
That information he shared with her may have been right, but he could have made a sale if he had first made the customer feel comfortable and important. If he then had placed a green mat on the corner of the picture and said, “Let's see if this brings out the colors in the girl’s coat. Hmmm, I like it. What do you think?”
In the first encounter, he told the customer. In the second, he invited her in and they figured it out together.
In the first encounter, the customer left feeling shamed, stupid and foolish. That store has lost that customer for good...and he has lost everyone that customer knows.
There may be a very few customers who will grit their teeth and put up with encounters like this. They just want to get their job done. But when a customer is not made to feel safe, they often become demanding once they leave.
They call you in a week, even though you told them it would be three weeks or more. They demean you on the phone. They gripe when they see the results. They are oftentimes paying back the feelings they perceived from you - uncaring.
(TIP: When you write up the order, always write a pickup date that is one week later than the real date. That way when you call to say it is done, your customer is overjoyed.)
And if they became demanding, that usually means a poor review after the work is completed - regardless of your talent. You might get to complete this one deal, but lose any return customer visits or word-of-mouth marketing.
In the second encounter, the customer most likely made an expensive purchase. And she took it home, hung it over the fireplace, and invited her friends to see it.
Because the salesperson stayed away from I, the almighty Oz, and worked together with the customer as we, she will return to that store again and the store will gain her friends as well.
Customers return to places that feel friendly, inclusive and fun.
If you sell any custom item: window coverings, tailoring, jewelry, home electronic installations, you name it - you often lose a sale because of the way you presented information.
Sometimes your extensive knowledge gets in the way of making the customer feel included.
This is especially true with customers nervous about how their custom finished product will look.
By staying focused on reducing your customer's anxiety and making the process a conversation, you will make more sales, customers will have greater confidence in you and know they came to the right place.
And if you're looking to get my customer-focused message to your dealers, please download my speaker packet below.
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