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Show Concern and Interest

It’s always possible to show concern for your visitor:

“It’s very hot today in Milan. Please do be sure to drink enough water, especially your children.”

“The weather forecast is for very heavy rain tomorrow, so please be careful!”

And also express interest in your visitor:

“You look like such a friendly person, Madame. May I ask you where you are from?”

“If I guess that you are American, am I right?”

At last, do not forget that well-placed compliments are always welcome and increase positive feelings:

“You look so nice that I must compliment you sincerely, Madame.”

“You inspire me, Madame, with all your grace. My compliments, Madame.”

Retain Your Customer

In my experience, if customers leave the store during the welcoming stage, it’s never because they don’t find what they are looking for. It’s simply because the sales advisor was not able to retain their visitors.

- Exclusive sales advisor

Customers leave the store or boutique if they are not able to establish contact with a sales advisor. I recommend that you quickly establish a sales advisor- to-client, one-to-one protocol. Clients need to feel they are being valued and have someone to talk to.

- Retaining services

Many services contribute to your warm welcoming and allow you to retain customers. A coffee or tea creates time and a customer will need to wait for it. Chinese customers love Chinese tea, especially when they travel. Europeans like espresso, and usually will ask for another after the first one. Providing some confectionery, biscuits or cakes also contributes to the pleasure of staying.

The most powerful and easy retaining service is table hospitality. The selling table becomes a coffee table, a dinner table. Offer a menu with different choices. A drink, whether hot or cold, is part of the expected minimum gesture. And since everyone is doing the same, why not do it better—that is, deliver the highest possible standard.

Story Corner

There is an expression in French qualifying a resilient sales person as a "marc- hand de tapis" meaning literally carpet merchant. I met one in Tunisia. After I entered his boutique and looked at the different carpets on display, the owner came in with a big silver tray, with tea and very appealing oriental cakes. I turned down the nice Oriental teatime offer and prepared to leave. He told me that this is his pleasure and that a mint tea prepared must be tasted and he would be so grateful for my acceptance of his hospitality. I sat down and he described all the different kind of cakes, one by one. He was patient enough not to show me the carpets as I expected him to do until he noticed that I had my eyes on a carpet hanging on the wall. He asked his assistant to display it on the floor and said: "To appreciate a carpet, you need to see it from the right angle. Let me tell you the story of this one..."

One of the most frequent mistakes is to think that the customer’s time is limited and therefore you had better get to the selling process as soon as possible. To welcome warmly and offer good hospitality are part of the selling process and most often the easiest things to deliver successfully, quite simply because a customer rarely refuses the offer of a drink—and many even expect to receive one.

A second possible retaining service is to have customer try the product. In Luxury fashion, for example, a customer trying on a suit or a pair of shoes must remain in the boutique. The same is true when trying on a Luxury watch or an item of jewelry: keeping the customer busy trying the product is a very good way of retaining the customer.

—Get the customer’s attention

Lucy: “Madame, I am not sure if you noticed our iconic leather creation, the

Bag B, displayed over there?”

Alice: “Oh Madame, I should of course introduce this new creation to you!

It just arrived and I would love to hear your opinion of it.”

—Orient your customer

By being in the right place in the boutique, you can engage with the customer at different moments of their visit. If you stand in a certain place in the boutique, customers will most certainly choose to head in another direction so as to avoid the sales advisor. By guiding the customer and walking them in a certain direction, effectively leading the customer in the direction the sales advisor wants them to go, sales advisor does not really give the customer a choice and most of the time they manage to orient them.

—Avoid customers leaving

By being alert and strategically positioned (not too far from the door), sales advisors can prevent clients wanting to leave by leading them to another part of the store that the customer might have missed or toward a new collection for their review.

—Make the customer take a seat

This is a main key to success. A seated customer spends three times more money compared to a customer who is standing. To encourage a customer to take a seat, integrate sitting as part of the selling advising process. It has to seem natural. Always pull out the chair for the customer and wait until the customer sits down.

Manager's Corner

A good quality of service inevitably brings good sales results.

Do you really believe this and place service quality at the center of your sales process?

How is this translated into performance indicators?

The objective to achieve at the end of Step 2 is to have the customer agree to stay for a full presentation. A second objective is to establish a positive and warm relationship. These are only the objectives and this is already a lot, if not essential. Without the ability to retain customers, a sales advisor never has the chance to sell!

We will see in the next section how to discover the customer’s desire, and also understand customer’s fears and doubts.

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