GEAR: “R” Relationship Part Three

As 2016 comes to a close, so does our series on GEAR. From Get Involved, to Edit, to Appeal, to Relationship, we’ve broken down the various facets of GEAR and what makes it such a great approach to retail. We’ve already talked at length about retail and its importance in the scheme of GEAR. Today, we’ll finish the series on GEAR, our discussion of R, and even the process of a retail experience, as we discuss the standards for checkout.

From the moment a customer steps through your door, every action you take and word you say is important, but perhaps none as important as those that take place as your customer prepares to reverse their steps back out the door. Making your customer comfortable throughout the entire checkout process is integral to your relationship with them, and their return.
So you’ve gone through all the steps of GEAR, and your customer is ready to make a purchase. First thing’s first: get them to the register. And don’t just send them on their way, walk them and their product (or products) to the register; offer to carry their goods and chat with them about their future adventures.
Once you arrive at the register (which should always be neat and organized), the most important part of the sale begins. This is when the customer gives you their money; they’re passing you the ultimate symbol of trust, and you should in turn offer them the attention and respect they deserve. Just because the sale is official does not mean you should disengage or disregard the remainder of the process. Remember that it’s not just about this sale, it’s about the relationship you’re building with this customer!
The priority through the checkout process is remaining engaged. Keep a smile on your face! Never participate in a conversation that doesn’t include the customer. Make sure they know they are your priority.
If the phone rings during the checkout process, simply say “excuse me for a moment,” then answer the phone, put the caller on hold, and forward the call to someone who’s more available. Although the caller is also an important customer, your focus should remain on this customer with whom you’re already developing a relationship.
As you ring up their items, continue to converse with the customer. In this new location, there’s so much for you two to chat about. There’s a bevy of new products to offer around the cash wrap. Don’t just point to a nearby product and ask if they need it, truly educate them about the product and explain why it would be a beneficial addition to their bag.
This is also the perfect time for you to talk about the training programs, events and fun runs hosted or attended by your store. If they seem interested, share the written information with them and help them sign up. As an indication of the genuineness of your relationship, let them know which events you’ll be attending and ask them to join you. They definitely won’t feel like a mere sale, but a fellow sportsman.
For many customers (including us when we’re out shopping!), it’s an uncomfortable situation when the salesperson asks for their email address during checkout. But if you explain why you’re asking for their email—and how it benefits them—they’re not only more comfortable with the question, they’re more likely to answer it honestly.
Oftentimes when at the register, a customer will be struck with an idea—something they forgot to pick up or an accessory they might be able to use. If that happens, suspend the transaction and once again accompany them to that area of the store. You never want the customer to feel abandoned or self-guided; you’re there to help them every step of the way.
Finally, finish bagging their products, walk around the cash wrap, and hand it to them personally. With eye contact and a smile, repeat their name and say “thank you” as you walk with them to the door.

Congratulations, you’ve just created a lifelong customer and a relationship that will last.

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