When my daughter was young she worked in Jessops.
She said she learned a lot about advertising working there.
She learned it from the manager, Robert.
The main thing he taught her was you’re not in hard-sell mode.
That just scares people off.
You’re in the business of helping people find the best solution.
So work out what their problem is.
For instance, when someone comes in they start looking at the cameras in the glass cases.
They don’t want the hard sell from a sales person, so they try to work it out themselves.
Eventually a sales person comes over and says “Can I help you?”
They’ll say “No thanks I’m just looking at this camera.”
The sales person says “That’s a great camera, would you like to buy it?”
They’ll say “Not right now thanks. I’ll have a think about it and come back.”
The person leaves the shop to get away from the hard sell.
They don’t come back.
They go somewhere else to look at cameras.
You lost a sale.
My daughter told me she was taught as follows.
Daughter “Do you need any help?”
Customer “No, just looking at this camera thanks.”
Daughter “What will you be using it for?”
Customer “I’m just getting started on photography.”
Daughter “Because that’s ones good for action photos, with the motor drive, but it may not be ideal for what you want.”
Daughter “Yes, if you want landscape photography there’s that camera which has better lenses. If you want interior photography that one is better for close ups. If you want street photography, that one is more compact. So you may not need to buy that expensive camera. It depends what you want to use it for.”
Customer “I was thinking of photography around London.”
Daughter “Okay, there’s three cameras that are all good for that. This camera is bulky but does everything you want.
This one is smaller but it doesn’t have so many lenses.
This one is more professional, it’s got the best lenses but it’s the most expensive.”
Then the customer would choose which camera suited them best.
The way my daughter had been taught, the customer was in control.
It was always their choice, they weren’t being sold anything.
That way they stayed in the shop.
That way they chose from the range of cameras they were shown.
That way the shop made a sale instead of losing it to another shop.
She learned selling isn’t about hard-sell.
Selling is about helping people find an answer.
She was at art school at the time so she only worked weekends.
But customers would come in during the week and ask for her.
Because she was so helpful they trusted her.
Because they trusted her, the shop got repeat business.
And repeat business makes business sense.
It’s much harder to win a new customer than it is to keep to an existing customer.
The same cameras are available in pretty much every camera store.
Why would the customers keep coming back to that one store?
The only difference was the sales experience.
Like advertising, when you do it properly it works for everyone.