I used to work in retail, so I know how important approachability can be when it comes to encounters between salespeople and in-store customers.
That’s why when I read this article from CNN.com called Best-kept secrets of the world’s best companies, I also peed my pants.
Yes, that’s how amazing this idea is. Check it out…
Car shopping as entertainment has always been the draw at Planet Honda in Union, N.J., one of Honda’s fastest-growing dealerships. A giant video wall shows footage of the latest models, and new-car buyers get a G-force ride on an 18-foot spaceship simulator.
The best part of the show? The “tech cafe,” where the presence of salespeople is strictly verboten, and where a receptionist asks shoppers if they need help. If you respond the way most do–“Just looking, thanks”–you get a yellow smiley-face badge emblazoned with the letters “JL” to stick on your lapel, which alerts the sales guys to back off.
Not for long. Planet Honda owner Tim Ciasulli says JLs turn out to be his best customers, because the badge helps to lower their defenses. “The magic is when they peel it off after 15 minutes and they’re ready to do business,” Ciasulli says. The dealership sold 3,300 new cars last year, more than three times the average for independent dealerships.
The Approachability Gods have shined down upon thee, oh mighty Planet Honda of Union, New Jersey!
It’s reeeeeally interesting how this works. You could say it’s an anti-front porch (back fence) inasmuch as the customers don’t care to be approached (yet). But just because they have the stickers on, doesn’t mean they can’t be approached at all or ever! They just need to be approached them differently.
And what happens is, there’s a sense of comfort on the end of the customer, since he doesn’t have to worry about being bugged; yet the salesman can better read the customers he DOES need to approach in order to serve them better.
Everybody wins because everybody’s comfortable.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What steps do you take to neutralize your customers’ worst fears?
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Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag