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Please Do This When a Customer Interrupts You . . .

A Strategy for Sales Success:


“When a customer does interrupt you..just talk to them…and they’ll probably buy something.” As was told to me in February 2009 by the owner of a retail garden center concerning their plans for improving results for the spring of 2009. He figured that realistically, if he could just get his merchandise focused people to give a little attention to frustrated customers it would be an improvement over the previous years performance and would lead to increased sales. Kind of makes some sense does it not?

Or This?

“[The salespeople] are always really attentive and friendly and they always end up bringing you so many other cute jeans and shirts to try on … and then you end up buying more than you planned on.” As was told to the Wall Street Journal by an Indianapolis customer of Buckle the up and coming jeans retailer.

Just let the numbers speak.

Unfortunately, the “please talk when interrupted” strategy has so far yielded negative growth for the retail garden center

-19.1% for their peak week sales volume

-1% for week average transaction

-17.8% year to date sales volume

Stellar sales performance during a recession is saying it mildly for Buckle, who has attained double-digit comp growth for 21 consecutive months and shows no sign of slowing.

Buckle Performance

True, revenue growth is not the only, or most important measure of success. However, this type of growth is staggering for a non-discount retailer during a time when many retail experts continue calling for more discounting. Should we take the Buckle strategy seriously?

True, Buckle is aimed at the fashion oriented youth market – you know, the generations who buy on sale, online and don’t pay for service.

Maybe the attentive salesperson strategy has some merit?

Look again at the customer quote and take note of the first few words few words, “[The salespeople] are always really attentive…” Is that what it takes? Attentiveness? Are there degrees of attentiveness? To develop a culture of customer attentiveness click here to look into Client Advantage.

But how do you show the customer other cute perennials or exotic vegetable seeds so they end up buying more than they planned? Short answer – do not bother if you have not properly connected with the customer as a person.  You may sell them something for their yard or garden but you may also miss your opportunity to create the relationship bond that creates a long term client, and true loyalty.

Growth like that which Buckle is experiencing is amazing, and you can’t get that without keeping a satisfied and returning customer base who sends and brings their friends. And while you are selling, sell them a solution such as a complete look, coordinated colors, to help them set themselves apart.

What has been your experience with Buckle? Do you, your kids, or your staff shop there? Have they been back? Have they brought their friends? Will they be back?

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