I went shopping for clothes today.
My plan was to buy a navy blue sports coat, a couple of shirts and ties and maybe a pair of black shoes.
Understand that as a sales trainer, I want people to ask me to spend my money. I'm not going to buy unless asked. Unfair you say! Maybe but here's the thing... Unless you ask me to buy, I won't.
How hard would it be for me to spend maybe $1,000? As it turned out, it was very hard. Let me recount what happened.
Store 1. A well-known CBD menswear store. Actually they were having a sale - up to $200 off sports coats. I went to the display, took a coat off the rack and put it on. A size too small. A well-dressed, well-groomed senior staff member came up and said there was one in the next size and gave it to me. I tried it on and it fit and looked good.
Reduced to $399 and there's me with cash in my pocket... I said I wanted to look at shirts so he put the coat back and left me alone. Taking two shirts, I went to the tie rack and picked out two nice ties. Then I took them back to the coat rack and held them next to the coat.
Talk about giving out buying signals!
I was completely ignored. All they had to do was to say, "Great selection - they go together really well. Was there anything else you wanted?" and over $700 would have found its way into their cash register.
I left the store with my wallet intact and no new clothes.
Store 2. Drove from the CBD to a suburban mall. I knew the store I was going to; found the sport coat rack and tried one on as two staff members watched. I looked at myself in the mirror, went to get a shirt and tie and held them up in the mirror too. No one spoke to me. I was there for ten minutes and again left with my wallet intact. Of note was that there were no other customers in the store at the time.
Store 3. A little more down-market this one - a guy with a purple open-necked shirt hanging outside his pants (looking like the host from a reality TV show like "Idol").
He saw me hovering around the coats and asked me if I knew my size. I told him and he showed me where they were, giving me four different colours and styles to try on.
He was really helpful, explaining fabrics and what to wear with them. I politely told him that they weren't quite what I was looking for so what he did next was to refer me back to store 2 where he said they had "better brands"
No sale. Three times I'd tried to spend several hundred dollars. I went home with the money still in my wallet.
No one asked me why I was buying the clothes; what I was planning to wear them with or where I was planning to go when wearing them. No one attempted to get my name for their list. No one bothered to ask me to buy. It's so simple, it's annoying.
Oh, and guess what else? Not one of them made any attempt to get my name, address, or email details. So none of them offered me the opportunity to hear in advance of new ranges, summer / winter sales. Missed opportunity.
Please understand, I don't want to be sold, I want to buy but I sometimes need help. Here's the message: If you don't ask, you won't get.
? James Yuille, Brisbane, Australia, 2004.
About the author:
James Yuille is a sales and marketing consultant and trainer with over 32 years experience. He is based in Brisbane, Australia.
His free weekly sales and marketing newsletter provides topical information for business owners and salespeople. Find out more at http://www.jamesyuille.com