A while back, I did some consulting with a major retailer in the men’s luxury garment area. My task was to assess their sales teams throughout the US and create a development plan to increase their sales.
One of the first steps I recommended was that I peform a “secret shopper” evaluation to understand their current selling environment. It didn’t take me long to notice something peculiar. The stores were regal and inviting with elegantly presented garments. The sales people were impeccably dressed with great posture. But there was one thing missing…HEART.
I couldn’t find any.
When I shared this observation with my client, he lamented that each store was designed to feel as though you were in a person’s living room.
“Funny,” I said,” because when anyone comes into my living room, I ask how their day was, how they’re feeling, what type of beverage they’d enjoy and where they plan on vacationing this year.”
Essentially the hosting role I play is the same role they needed to play and they weren’t.
Be a Good Host
An author client of mine summed it up perfectly; once you’ve invited someone into your home or gain their attention you have a obligation to “host” them for the time they devote to you. They are giving you their time and from this action you have a responsibility to make their time productive. You accomplish this by being a gracious host. Being interested, actually very interested/curious in them is the first key to professional consulting and selling.
When you are with a client pretend they’re in your living room for a Friday evening dinner party…
Let me know how it goes…