Businesses come in all shapes and sizes just like people. Have you ever had a first interaction with someone that was awkward? How can two people meeting for the first time struggle for conversational content when there’s so much that they don’t know? How can a business and a customer build a long lasting relationship?
Finding that first fragment of common ground, offers the green light to building rapport. This all ties in to clienteling. If you are a Sales Associate in Fashion Retail, an individual aiming to build your own brand, or a large corporation aiming to revise your customer retention process, these 6 steps to building your client book could be useful for you.
- Show A Genuine Interest – Always maintain the mindset that you want the customer to be as happy as they possibly can be. If you’re working in fashion, you want them to look the best that they can to represent your brand in the best light. Showing a genuine interest and curiosity for their requirements will resonate positively with them and allow the in-store experience to flow smoother than a cream cheese bagel.
- Develop An Understanding of the Customer – Experience in visual and social assessment helps in this situation. Many people with backgrounds in or an interest in psychology tend to think about what things mean and what certain visual cues say about a person. Whilst it can help to have these questions at the forefront of your mind, there are easier ways to develop an understanding of the customer. You can ask them about their day or drop in a compliment on something they’re wearing.
- Build Rapport -Experience in visual and social assessment helps in this situation. Many people with backgrounds or an interest in psychology tend to think about what things mean and what certain visual cues say about a person. Whilst it can help to have these questions at the forefront of your mind, there are easier ways to develop an understanding of the customer. You can talk about their plans for the day or drop in a compliment on something they’re wearing. Are they carrying shopping bags from other stores? Are they wearing an interesting item? Starting a conversation off the back of an unconventional observation is much more effective than saying “Hi, are you okay there?”. Try this approach, you may find that you’re getting to know a lot more about your customers a lot quicker.
- Give, Give Give -I would suggest not approaching a customer unless you have something to give. This could be useful information that they don’t know like where certain things are in the store, an interesting fact about a product they’re looking at or a discount code for their first purchase. When you give, give, give before you ask, you are much more likely to gain positive compliance from the customer. Give it a try.
- Timing – At the till point? When asked about a product you don’t yet stock ? Get a feel based on your interaction with that unique customer when the right time is to take down their details. Use a customer’s request or query to demonstrate the benefits of acquiring the their email and telephone number.
- Preparation – I talk about being smoother than a cream cheese bagel for a reason. What we don’t want to do is create an awkward break in the interaction where we are looking for a pen and paper to take down the customer’s details – no. Have your client book in an easily attainable place with a business card handy. Continue with the conversation as you hand the customer your business card (give, give, give) and then ask them to write down their details.
That’s 6 steps to building your client book however there could be more depending on how you adapt your approach. Remember you are a unique individual just like the customer so in the same way you adapt based on the customer you receive, you must adapt these 6 steps to your own character.