Retail Sales Skills: Employees Have To Want To Connect

By Bob Phibbs

retail selling skillsLooking for why it is important for employees to connect? Read on...

I bought a martingale collar the other day. I was wandering around historic Williamsburg and saw a very small pet shop with a good display. I entered and began looking around when I spotted a 14” wide pewter dog food dish adorned with bones and spike collars.

A young woman came up and greeted me and I said, “That has to be the baddest bowl I’ve ever seen.”

Her name badge read Ashley. She asked if I had a dog and, like any proud owner told her yes and that she was a Harrier hound as I showed her a picture on my iPhone. Hallie Mae the HarrierAshle shared that she had two hounds and that one was a St. Bernard hound-mix that weighed 125 pounds. I picked up a black collar as Ashely asked me, "Have you ever seen a martingale collar?"

I told her that I had never heard of them because Hallie Mae is so strong, I have to use a choke collar.

Ashley replied, “You know that just makes her pull more." I said, “I know but I’m afraid of her getting away since she had been at the ASPCA for nine months and can cover 40 miles a day if she gets the scent."

Ashley told me that martingale collars won’t let the dog pull their head out of the collar so you’ll have control over her, it relaxes quickly so she won’t pull like the choke collar and it is soft fabric so it won’t wear off her fur.

Ashley went on to say they have tensile strength for 225 pounds, and the ones she uses on her hounds haven’t broken yet. She added, “I only weigh 110 pounds so they can get away from me, but they don't and it's not because I'm not that strong, it's because of the collar.”

She took the time to show me which one worked for a 55-pound dog and stayed with me the entire time.

None of that would have happened if she hadn't been curious about me and shared something about her.

I walked by the shop next door and saw neckties with various dog breeds on them in the window. I typically don’t buy kitsch but found myself thinking wouldn’t it be cool to have a Harrier tie when I speak to pet retailers? I walked in and asked the guy behind the counter, head down reading, “Do any of those ties have a hound on them?”

He opened the drawer, pulled out a chart and said to no one in particular, “No, that’s it” and returned to his bookwork. I looked around the store for three or four minutes while a couple was looking at some hats and some other items - unattended.

What a stark difference from Ashley who was driving sales.

I was not in the market for a collar. But the need when I was presented with the information was there because Ashley made a connection. Nobody got out of that pet shop Mrs. Bones without buying something; in my case it was a $36 collar.

No other person in the various shops I visited said a word to me or the other shoppers on that rainy day. Ashley had to talk to me, she had to connect. Ashley craved that connection.

You can build a business on the Ashleys of the world.

See also, Five Retail Sales Training Tips From Selling Shoes

In Sum

You want to bellyache about how business is off? Call your buddies and compare sob stories?

Save your time and instead go out shopping to find and recruit the Ashleys of the world to your store.

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