Dancing with the customers

Dancing with the customers

Dancing with the customers

You know you watch!

Maybe you’re a closet watcher, but I unabashedly love watching “Dancing with the Stars.”

Huh? Are you on the right blog?

So what has this all got to do with the retail stuff I usually write about? Well, Monday’s episode had the “instant dance” challenge. The couples have no idea what song they are to dance to until just minutes before they have to perform it. When the song is revealed, they run to a practice room and try to come up with a routine for that song in those few minutes.

So, watching this, and true to my nerdy retail addiction, I found a correlation between this challenge and retail sales.

The Challenge of the Instant Dance

Working on a retail sales floor with customers is a lot like the instant dance on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Each customer is like the unknown song and the salespeople don’t know what steps they’ll need to take until that customer comes in and gives them the “song,” and then it’s off to the stockroom to figure out the sales routine and the product selection.

Every customer IS different.

Yeah, the sales steps are basically the same for most customers like the dance steps are basically the same for most routines, but the combination and choice of sequences will differ –  a surprise, like each customer really is a surprise.

It doesn’t matter whether today’s customer is asking for the same items as yesterday’s customer, the sales dance will differ because the story behind a purchase is specific to each customer.

Don’t step on their toes!

Every customer is really hoping their salesperson is going to follow their lead (more dance references 😉 ) and too often, most salespeople want to do the leading. But both dancers in a couple can’t lead or they’ll wind up standing still. No sale.

Do I really need to expand on that? Ok. I will. If both are trying to lead, how can one possibly be paying attention to the other? Whoever leads has to focus on the next move and how to execute it. So how can you do that and still let your partner lead? You can’t. And you can’t follow when you are busy leading. You both wind up with bruised toes and going nowhere.

R U Guilty as charged?

So… do you by chance recognize yourself, sales people?

Do you tend to predominantly lead in the retail sales song and dance?

Are you forgetting to listen to your customers’ requests to lead?

Does your customer quit before the song is over because you are frustrating them because you won’t follow?

Just lead, follow, or get out of the way!

So the obvious solution is to let the customer lead! At least at first. Let the dance flow with the strong beginning lead, and it will flow into the side by side portion of the dance where you both can shine on the floor together in sync.

Then you’ll both flow back together, close the dance (sale), and the finale is that customer throwing you into a final big dip of gratitude because you really followed their lead.


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