Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To All The Mall Vendors Out There: Here's A Better Way To Sell Your Hair Curlers

I was in the mall the other day and started to notice the zigzag pattern I tend to walk when making my way through the mall. Its not because I can't walk in a straight line, its because a straight line in the mall is almost sure to be full of vendors trying to clear your face up, curl your hair, or even (I'm not making this one up...) sell you an oxygen mask...

There's nothing wrong with being a go-getter and having been in retail sales I know that vendors need to move their product. However, its an unwritten law of the universe that when you chase something, you ultimately end up driving it even further and further away. Hmmm...I think even I just realized something right there!

I can't count how many times I've seen and experienced mall vendors annoy, offend, and even intimidate passerbys in the mall. I guess what I'm trying to say is there is a better way to do it, mall vendors.
First of all, drop that default line, "Hey, can I ask you a question?" The answer will always be no. Why? Because you asking for value before you have given any. Instead, move away from your display, about 10 feet away and just smile and greet people, be a diplomat! Just say "Hi, how you doing?" and nod your head as they walk by. You'll actually start to see them slow down and perhaps look at your stand, some might even stop. Give it a try, you'll see it works...

Why does this work? Because you are doing a few subtle things. First, by greeting people and smiling, you are GIVING value first rather than asking them for it. Second, by putting distance between you and your display, you are allowing people to look at your products without fear of being 'sold'. And third, it will allow you to see who your customers really are as they slow down, because chances are while you were chasing someone who wasn't interested you might have missed someone who actually was.

As people stop, you can slowly move in from the side as they browse and ask a genuine question: "so what are you shopping for at the mall today?"...start a conversation and go from there.