How To Be Good At Sales – 101

Our Story at Ghirardelli’s in Woodstock, GA Today

My wife and I were doing some Christmas shopping today at the outlet mall in Woodstock, GA.

I generally am not the biggest fan of going to these kind of stores because a lot of times the sales folks are too pushy or could care less.   I don’t blame the sales person for this lack of skill set actually. I blame the store manager.  A lot of the front-line store clerks are nothing more than kids, probably working their first jobs ever.   It’s well apparent that in the desperate need to get bodies to man the operation the bosses didn’t take the time to do any basic sales training.

Everyone is in Sales

And that’s too bad. Because with just a small amount of effort the staff could increase sales, which increase store revenue, probably bonuses and makes everyone happier.  Secondly, the staff could realize that sales is not a dirty word. In fact, sales is what makes the world go around.

You may have the best product ever known to man but if you can’t sell it, guess what?, you’re broke.

Let me share with you, however, an example of a sales approach that was obviously taught to the staff, resulted in more sales and created two repeat customers.

Generate Interest First

My wife, Charlotte, and I were walking between stores and I mentioned that I’d like to hit Starbucks to get a cup of coffee.  Charlotte said, “Well, there’s a Ghirardelli’s right there. I bet they have coffee.”

I didn’t know if they’d have any coffee first of all, or the dark kind that I like from Starbucks, but they did have a sign on their door showing they made pumpkin spice latte’s. So if they can do that, they certainly can do just a normal coffee.

We go into the store and are greeted by a very friendly young lady behind the counter. I said “can you make a dark coffee?” To which she said “of course.”

But, and this CRITICAL before she took our order, she proceeded to come out from BEHIND THE COUNTER and give us each a sample of their most wonderful chocolates.  To which my wife and I, and that lady, began to converse about how cool that is for them to give out chocolate samples.

Question for you. What do you think this does to defenses about being upsold something? Remember, she greeted us in a very friendly manner, made eye contact, CAME OUT FROM  BEHIND THE COUNTER, gave us a sample and engaged us in a friendly conversation.

Do you think this technique is not trained by the bosses at Ghirardelli’s?  If not, then I want to invest in this lady because she will be a success in whatever she does.

We order our coffee and as the lady is making it she engages in a discussion with my wife.

During this time, I’m browsing the store and come across the same chocolate that I had just sampled. By now my taste buds are beckoning to feed them more chocolate. “Oh, those chocolates are also on sale, eh?” I tell myself. Might was well get some.

Know Your Target Market

First: I wanted some coffee and was heading to Starbucks to get some. We would have bypassed Ghirardelli’s except for they the sign on the door indicating they made pumpkin spice latte’s.

Now be advised, if I were in the mood for a fish taco instead of a coffee, the Ghirardelli’s sign would not have appealed to me.  You need to catch the people who are INTERESTED in your product first of all.  Find those people and engage them.  Stop wasting time on trying to convince people of your product who are not interested.

Be Sincere

Second: We were greeted in a personal, friendly manner.  A SINCERE greeting is worth its weight in gold.  You know the insincere one’s I’m talking about; When you go into a store and someone just yells “Welcome to Joe Schmo’s” in  half-hearted manner from halfway across the store without even looking up from what they’re doing.  If you aren’t sincere, don’t bother. That is actually worse than saying nothing.

Positive Physical Interaction

Third: Saleslady comes out from behind the counter and gives us a sample of their goods.  I simply can not stress how important this is. Samples are wonderful. But hand-delivering them??? Whoever is training that skill set deserves a raise.

Divide and Conquer

Fourth: Sales lady engages in conversation with my wife allowing me to browse the store and focus on something I wanted.  If my wife and I were browsing together we might have challenged each other NOT to buy anything because we watch our carbs. BUT in this case, I was off by myself and my taste buds got the best of me.

End Result

A couple who would have NEVER stepped into this store ended up making not one, but TWO purchases. Certainly, that transaction in of itself will not make or break Ghirardelli’s but here I am writing about them and telling you that if you are thinking of coffee and want maybe satisfy a chocolate craving you won’t go wrong by visiting this store.

Customer service, folks, is sales and can make OR break your store. Don’t overlook some basic training of your staff even if you mainly have part timers who are still in school. They need to be trained and you will benefit immensely by taking the time to do so.


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