January 16, 2015
Last weekend, Amelia and I went to Jared to have our rings re-anodized. After a year or so, white gold takes on a yellow hue. Now they’re all silver and pretty again.
Each time we visit Jared, someone greets us at the door and if they don’t know us, they always ask, “Have you been to Jared before?”
This struck me as odd…until yesterday. Why would they ask that question? Most salespeople ask, “Can I help you with anything?”
But they ask, “Have you been to Jared before?” Always the same question from everyone, like we just sat down for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.
Does it make a difference if we’ve been there before? Not really. But the question makes a huge difference.
When a salesperson asks you if they can help you, assuming you’re not hunting for something specific (and you’re not a man who refuses to ask for help), your answer is almost always, “No” with “leave me alone” as the subtext.
But what’s the answer when they ask, “Have you been here before?”
If you say no (because you haven’t been there before), you immediately think to yourself, “I wonder why that’s important? Is there something special I should know about this place? Do they give first-timers a present?” Etc.
If you say yes, they immediately know you’re a repeat customer and roll out the red carpet.
(My only complaint as a repeat customer is that most of the salespeople there know us (a little too well) so it’s a bit insulting when someone doesn’t recognize us. My first thought is, “Oh. It’s a new guy. Where’s Harvest? She knows us.”)
I mentioned earlier that this practice confused me until yesterday. A couple days ago, I started reading “E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. It’s been on my reading list for years and was referenced in another book I read over the weekend so I decided it was time.
In one of the sections, he talks about this very concept and how several of his clients opted to try “Have you been here before?” instead of “Can I help you with anything?”
What they found was a considerable increase in sales in the range of 10% to 16%, just by changing the wording used to greet people when they walk through the door.
Oh, and wearing a blue suit also outsells wearing a brown suit. Someone at Jared must have read this book because I’ve never seen a brown suit there, either.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in sales or doing whatever your job is, there’s always something new to learn because there are new things being discovered and new ways of doing things being developed all the time.
And if you haven’t read it yet, go read E-Myth Revisited (the “E” stands for Entrepreneur). There’s a lot of valuable information in there that every entrepreneur and small business owner should know (but most don’t).