Let the customer prove you wrong


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Almost everyone has what I call subconscious assumptions. We go into most situations or interactions with a subconscious assumption of what we believe will happen. The subconscious assumptions are a sum of our experiences and our own beliefs, but since they are subconscious we rarely realize they are guiding our behaviors and actions.

Let me share a non-retail example. When I was a teenager, one of the hardest things to do was asking a girl out on a date. Since there was no texting, email, or Facebook, you had to ask her either in person or over the telephone.

In the beginning I was nervous, but determined. Unfortunately, things didn’t start out so well. I think the first three girls I asked out were older, and they had no desire to go out with a younger boy whose mother would have to drive us to the movies. The next three I asked already had boyfriends. Or at least that’s what they said, and I’m sticking to that story.

It wasn’t long before I wasn’t as nervous asking a girl out, but I had also started to assume that the answer was going to be “no.” I went from “Would you like to go out?” to “I suppose you don’t want to go out.”

Then one day I asked a girl I worked with if she’d like to go out to dinner and the movies. She said yes. I said thanks anyway. She actually had to say, “I said yes.” I didn’t hear the “yes” because I was assuming the answer was “no.” That is how the subconscious assumption works. Or as you can see from my story, works against us.

In retail there are a few subconscious assumptions that directly impact our results.

1. The customer wants to be left alone. This one might be a little more conscious than subconscious. As we’ve discussed before, customers don’t necessarily want to be left alone. They just don’t want to be helped by people who don’t add value to their experience.

2. The customer is just looking. This assumption happens naturally in stores that have a higher percentage of non-buying than buyers customers. Every person who walks in the store is looking at something, but our assumptions tell us they’re a non-buyer.

3. The customer is worried about the price. This assumption is more often driven by our own beliefs than the customer’s. Customers want value, but most will become extremely price conscious when the store and staff don’t add value to their shopping experience.

The antidote to these subconscious assumptions is to consciously think and act differently.

Assume a customer wants your help, until you’re proven wrong.

Assume a customer is walking in to make a purchase, until you’re proven wrong.

Assume a customer is willing to spend any amount of money, until you’re proven wrong.

So let me ask, are these or any other assumptions getting in the way of your and your store’s success?

Have a great week.

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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