A tip for the staff: Get the customer talking!


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Increase customer connectivity and purchase intent by getting customers to talk about themselves.


Want to get your customer in the mood to buy? Believe it or not, one of the best ways is to not do all of the talking. That’s right. Stop talking so much, and get your customers talking about their favorite topic: Themselves. Here’s why.

In a report that came out last year, Harvard University neuroscientists discovered that talking about yourself triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money. I don’t know about you, but in my book that’s a good reaction!

In the study, the researchers assessed people’s inclination for what they call “self-disclosure.” Some might call it bragging or boasting, but I like self-disclosure. The scientists conducted laboratory tests to see whether people placed an unusually high value on the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. What they found is that people were willing to give between 17% and 25% of potential extra income so they could reveal personal information. I like those numbers….

The researchers also did brain scans, and found that acts of self-disclosure were accompanied by spurts of heightened activity in brain regions belonging to the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction from food, money or sex. Do I need to say more?

Here’s the bottom line. When a customer talks about him or herself, they become much more likely to be in the mood to spend money.

All you have to do is to ask the right questions and then let ’em go. Here are three of the best questions/comments you can ask to get the customer talking about him/herself.

1. What do you currently own? This is a great question when a customer is proud to be associated with a particular brand. Ask follow-up questions. Where did you buy it? What do you like about it. There’s a story behind every purchase. Get your customer to share hers.

2. Where are you from? Is this your first time here? This might seem like trivial small talk, but getting your customer talking about him/herself has benefits. Not only does it makes the customer feel good, you learn things you can use while showing products. I see good salespeople using this technique all of the time.

3. Tell me more! Where is your customer going on vacation? What project are they working on? Why is she looking for a special outfit? What’s his wife’s name? What are some of their favorite desserts to make? Where did you find that? What’s your costume going to be? Getting your customer to share that next level of information can create a stronger connection, and it makes him/her feel even better about making a purchase.


1. Practice getting every customer to “self-disclose” even more by using one of these three questions/comments. Of course you’ll want to limit the conversation if the store is slammed, but there’s always time for a little bragging and boasting.

2. Watch to see if you can notice a change in customer receptiveness after they’ve shared some information with you. With some customers you can actually see the physical change in them.


Remember the Bonnie Raitt song about giving people something to talk about? Sometimes, the most productive things happen when people talk about themselves.

– Doug

I’m excited about my new audio program “The IDEAL Way to Delegate: Four days to becoming a more effective delegator.” It is now available for immediate download, CD/download combo, and premium package with personal coaching and accountability.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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