Befriending Store Sales People
About ten years ago, I walked into a wholesale outlet store in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia and began looking around. I was not on a shopping mission that day, but when I passed the store, it looked intriguing, so I stopped in. You never know when you’re going to encounter a tremendous bargain that wasn’t on the radar.
A salesperson came up to me with a warm West Virginia greeting and asked if she could be of service. I told her that I had stopped in the store on a lark; it looked like it would be a neat place to visit and there might be some bargains. With that, she told me that there were some great deals on men’s shoes, coats, scarves, gloves, and other accessories.
I looked around for a few minutes and found a variety of interesting items. I brought $90 worth of goods up to the register, and the sales lady informed me that if my total purchase was $100 or more, I would receive a coupon good for a $15 rebate. Therefore, by spending $10 more, my total charge would be $85 instead of $90.
It didn’t take higher math to realize that if I could find $10 more worth of goods it would be to my benefit. I looked around for a few minutes and then came back with two pairs of gloves, each $5.25. She was happy that she was able to induce me to spend above the $100 mark.
We continued talking and she said, “If you’re up this way again, we have an excellent sale on the last Saturday of the month.” She went on to tell me what goods would be offered during the next few months and at what discounts. This was valuable insider information that she did not have to impart and that I would not have otherwise encountered.
At home, I thought about what a great ally she had been during my visit. I recognized how valuable it is for me to build rapport with other salespeople I encounter. In this case, the “up sale” saved me money, but that isn’t always the case.
In the course of the day, plenty of people come into a store, shop around, and leave. The one person who comes in and takes a genuine if limited interest in a salesperson is likely to stand out more than anyone else that day. Everybody likes attention and appreciation.
Holding the Keys
Salespeople often hold the keys to a successful shopping experience. Those within a company, especially veteran salespeople, are likely to know the best bargains in the entire store:
* They know what’s going go on sale when.
* They know what represents an excellent buy versus what is simply standard.
* They know which generic and store brands are most similar to the top national brands.
* They know what customers have complained about.
* They know what customers have raved about.
Good salespeople are walking compendiums of insider information that might not otherwise be attainable. So, look for the continual opportunities to befriend the sales people you encounter.