A prospect walks through the front door. Congratulations, you just achieved one of the hardest tasks of retail—getting the customer to walk into your store. How do we celebrate? By not acknowledging them, making them wait while our parts associate finishes up a task that itself can wait, and finally greeting them with the enthusiasm of an elderly sloth. I wish I could say that this doesn’t happen, but the reality is that it happens way too often. All too often the way I see prospects or customers being handled in stores blows my mind and it has to be addressed. So, how should we train our employees to handle our prospects and customers? My suggestion is to treat them as you would a G.U.E.S.T. in your own home.
Greet — Greet whomever walks through your door right away. Let them know that you are excited that they came to your store. Can I cite the “Welcome to Moe’s” example if anyone has been into this chain? Maybe offer them coffee, water or soda while they wait or browse.
Understand your customers — Through questioning, get a thorough understanding of your customer's needs. Repeat back what you understand your customer is looking for. This clears up any confusion and gets the customer’s buy in on where you are going with your results. Use full sentences and conversational tone. Hint: “Make, Model, Year?” is not a full sentence.
Expedite their request — Show your customer that his or her time is valuable to you and treat his or her request with urgency. The goal is for customers to be looking for the Staples “Easy” button when they are done with their transaction.
Smile — Use your body language to tell your customers you are happy they are shopping at your store. Regardless of how mundane our jobs may become, our store is still an escape for your customers and we want it to continue to be. Be happy!
Thank your customers for their business — Your customers not only have options of where to spend their money in the powersports world, but more and more outside forces are competing for that discretionary income as well. Your customer decided to give you a chance at earning his or her business and you stepped up and earned it! Thank them for giving you the business, or for at least giving you the chance.
The retail battle is not getting any easier. We cannot rely on what has worked in the past to produce the results of tomorrow. If you want to win in this marketplace, you must be constantly refining the skills of your staff to provide the level of service that our customers have come to expect in a retail transaction. Please share below if you have any success stories that others could learn and benefit from.
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the US, owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at: