Posts Tagged ‘high’

The Budget Friendly Customer

October 11, 2011

Although there are jobs with commission–with customers who have admittedly deep-pockets–and other jobs which congratulate or reward employees with huge sales, there is an underlying truth which isn’t always discussed. You see, greeting customers is a random process, not as hard as winning the lottery, but roughly the same idea. You don’t know, when you walk up to a customer if they’re going to be rude, crude, and brusque–well sometimes you actually do. In any case, you also don’t know when you walk up to a customer if they’ll be money-bags or moth-balls–well sometimes you actually do.

So what’s the point? Even if you are a great salesperson, and you get a customer to spend their entire budget–let’s use¬†percentiles–so 100% of their available budget. If the customer has $1000 to spend, than you’ve made some good money. ¬†(Of course, if you make 3% commission on a $1000 sale, that’ s just $30, so you better get on with the selling!) Yet, if a customer only has a budget of $200, then you may or may not consider them cheap compared to the $1000 customer. If their budget is less than $100, then surely you’d be silently spitting upon them, right? This is the point, you can’t gauge the budget of a customer, you don’t know how much money they actually have to spend. So when you pat yourself on the back because you were able to make the customer spend $500, is that because of your skill or because it’s well within their budget?

I think it would make more sense if you consider a customer’s total budget, and how far into that budget you’re able to hit. because you can’t get a customer to spend $500 if they only have $200. If you get a customer with a budget of $1000 to spend $500, and you get a customer with $200 to spend the entire $200–which customer have you truly capitalized upon? Although I believe acknowledging sellers who hit high numbers, I also think we need to take into consideration if they just randomly hit the jackpot, or just ran into a customer who had a lot of money, and they just barely skimmed the edge of that budget.

I bring this up because of the power of money in retail. It makes the customers look at salespeople like they’re only worth as much as money is spent, but the same can be said about salespeople towards customers. In all reality, there is some respect to be found. There are some salespeople who find out how much their customers are able to spend, and help them work through that amount. This definitely takes a great deal of skill, because can you really help a customer find an outfit for less than $100? It’s ridiculously easy if they’re willing to spend $500. So just where does your skill really lay? Does it matter you can make huge sales? Or are you just ‘lucky’?

32×30 versus 32×29

July 22, 2010

I am helping a customer. He is a man, and his male-partner is standing idly by letting him shop. The man shopping is wearing a pair of denim–waist 32″ and length 30″. He came out of the fitting room noting that it was just a tiny-bit too long. He asks his boyfriend what he thinks, but the man shrugs–obviously, he’s been through this before.¬† The boyfriend responds with, “You should get what feels right.”
“Oh, I don’t know, it’s just a little too long, don’t you think?” Turning to me, he asks, “Don’t you have anything just a little shorter?” I tell him we do offer both 28″ and 29″ inseams online. If he wishes, he can order them.
He turns back to his boyfriend, “Should I get the 29″?”
“If you think you need it.”
“Don’t you think this is too long?”
“It looks fine to me.”
“But,” he pauses, “What if I wash it and it shrinks? I don’t want it too short.” He turns back to me asking it if will shrink. I reply that it may shrink by a quarter-of-an-inch–mind you, this is 0.25″. “Oh,” his face is full of surprise, “That may be too short! I don’t want it to look like high-waters!” Because a quarter-of-an-inch is roughly a dollar’s worth of quarters, right?
He looks down at his feet again. The pants seem to be at the perfect length, and I tell him so. I even say, if he wears shoes with a higher heel, the length will make a positive difference.
“That is true, too.” He sighs. “I just don’t know. If I get the 29″ and it shrinks, then it will be too short. But I don’t want my pants too long, they don’t look right.” So, he pulls out his cellphone and he starts dialing. I’m not sure if he’s calling online or what. “Hello? Hello, are you busy? Good. I have a question. I’m wearing a 30″ inseam and it’s just a little too long, and I’m thinking about ordering a 29″ inseam, but it might shrink, then it will be too short. What do you think I should do? Should I order it online or should I just get what I’m wearing now and hope it shrinks to the right length?”
I look at his boyfriend and I shrug. The boyfriend rolls his eyes, smiling, as I walk away.

I return several minutes later, and either he’s talking to someone new, or the same person, saying he just can’t decide, it’s so hard! He hangs up, telling me, “I just can’t make up my mind. I’m not going to get any of them. Thanks for your help, bye.” He hands me several pairs of denim, and then they leave. Now, that was exciting.

Customer Type: Agreeing to Disagree, ESP, The Rambler, The Riddler, Tailor-Made

Sticks and Stones

July 13, 2010

I answer a phone call.
“Hello? Can you explain to me,” a younger-sounding male voice asks, “Why my son is being teased at school for wearing your clothing?”
There is a moment of silence. The first thoughts which come to my mind are customers blaming me for the company not making a color they like, or when the company stops making a type of clothing they like. It’s usually my fault. I mean, is it right? No, not so much. I’m also thinking if this is some prank call. Why would someone’s child be teased?
Then I hear a young boy’s voice in the background. He says what the kids have been saying. I have flashbacks of jokes I’ve heard, which I thought were long dead, but seem to still be alive and well. I wonder if each company has their foibles, the little things kids use to pick on each other. “They call me gay and proud!”
While I’m thinking there is silence, I hope the man is gone, so I ask, “Hello are you still there?”
“Yes, I’m waiting for an explanation.”
“I think you should talk to a manager, please hold.” So I put him on hold and call over the manager. I explain the situation. She wants to tell him that we are not responsible for what children say or do. She was even considering offering to call the child’s school to report this activity. I wanted to find the phone number we have, I know we have one to forward calls like this. We just can’t remember the number. Either way, the manager decides to go to the office to take the call, rather than on the sales floor. By the time she gets back there, the man has hung up.

Customer Types: The Complainer, The Dumb, The Questioner