What do the following phrases often heard on retail sales floors have in common?
"Is there anything special I can show you?" "Do you have a favorite color?" "Can I point you in a particular direction?" "Did you see anything you can't live without?" "Will you be taking this with you?" "Has this been a fun experience?" "Are you browsing for anything special?" "Have you seen anything that you have to own?" "Are you shopping for ideas?" "Should we get your order started?" "Would you like me to write this up?"
Those of you who recall the sales wit and wisdom of Furniture World’s enthusiastic contributing editor Kathy Finney will know that these are “lizards”, the closed probes likely to get a one-word response... the one you and your sales associates probably won’t appreciate!
Kathy spent years working to eliminate these phrases from furniture sales associate lexicon, yet lizard phrases continue to slither off the tongues of new as well as experienced RSAs.
Kathy suggested that sales associates forgo lizards in favor of questions starting with the words who, why, when, what, where, how, tell me, describe, elaborate and explain. Also, that they ask questions shoppers already know the answers to, such as, "Where will you be using your new sofa?" and, "Who will be using your new room?" Sure, shoppers may still reply, "I'm just browsing", but it's a lot less likely.
Get customers talking about themselves, she advised. Let them know that you are there to listen, to have a conversation, to help, give them a great experience, and not waste their time or your own.
I hope you enjoy all the great information in this edition of Furniture World magazine. Best wishes for a happy and healthy summer retailing season!
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.