Thursday, February 10, 2011

How To Turn a 'No' into a 'Yes'

This customer gets a 'yes!'

"You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!" This idiom applies in the retail world.  It is so much easier to persuade people to see it your way when you use polite arguments and flattery.  Yes, even you have to do a sales job to get what you want or get what is right.

When I was in management in the retail world most of my confrontational issues came at the return counter.  Every company has return policies to protect their interests against employee misuse and customer fraud.  When a customer was mean and nasty I'd stick to the policy.  A nonconfrontational customer with a pleasant manner and legitimate story received a 'management' decision.  This means I could circumvent policy to 'save' a customer.  I was the type that circumvented policy to keep a customer happy.  My intent was to treat a customer like I would want to be treated.  It worked for me.

So how to get a yes! When the first person states policy and says 'no' just thank them for doing their job and ask for a manager.  Please don't waste good energy at this level.  Usually, the first person does not have the authority to alter policy (remember employee misuse) and has to take the brunt of this answer all the time (not fair.)  When a manager comes on the scene explain your problem (story) in a succinct, calm manner.  If that one says no, then ask for the Store Manager.

So what happens when you come up against a Store Manager that just doesn't get it!  I mean the type that have this enormous ego riding high on a proverbial power trip?  Have you ever had a confrontation with one of these? You know, the one that thinks Customer Service means the customer serves her?

If you don't get your legitimate issue resolved at this level allow me to clue you in on some of the secrets.

Remember, every one that works in retail has a boss.  If one of those bosses don't 'do you right,' then ask for their boss. Most Store Manager's do not want you to go to the next level.  This is a direct assault on their management skills.  They will start backpedaling fast and say something like, "I'll make an exception this one time."  Don't let this make you feel like a chump.  The manager is trying to save face.

Sometimes you may run into an egocentric Store Manager that may want to fence with you.  He or she will try to convince you that they 'are' the boss and there is no one else higher that can help you.  At this point I've seen customers give up, throw their hands in the air, and walk out without having their issue resolved.  What a shame.  If they had only known what to do next.

This is simple:  Ask for the phone number or business card of the District Manager!  This shows you intend on taking this to the next level.

In most companies the next level would be the District Manager.  Believe me, the DM does not want to be 'bothered' with customer issues the SM should be able to resolve  Most SM's do not want the DM to perceive them as an incompetent buffoon! In most cases this will get you what you want.

For the remaining 1%, a District Manager has to answer to a Regional Manager.  A Regional Manager answers to a Regional Vice President, and then it's the office of the CEO (Chief Executive Officer.)  Trust me, it's rare to ever have to get this high but it does happen.  My sister-in-law had to take her issue this far.  The office of Carly Fiorina, the then CEO of HP, chose to make right that which should have been fixed at a much lower level.  With persistence, determination and a willingness to maintain control of her emotions she got her issue resolved.

So, remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  So when it comes to retail, save your energy.  Most of the time you can get what you want by just being nice!

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The definition of a chump:
a gullible person, a sucker; someone easily taken advantage of, the target of a scam.

Learn from a former salesperson and trainer how salespeople drive sales. Learn how to keep more money in your pocket where it belongs! There are two ends of every sales stick!  One end cries 'chump.'  The other end boasts 'champ.'  I know which end of the stick I want to be.  How about you?

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