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The In-Store Experience | DAN MANN WINNING FORMULA: If a customer decides to shop and spend her hard-earned money with you, you’d better recognize it and express your gratitude to her every time.

Winning Where It Counts at Retail

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etroit is a wonderful, diverse, hard-working city. It has worldclass art, culture, shopping and music. Detroit has a new football stadium. Ford Field is one of the newest stadiums in the NFL. It cost $500 million to build. Its architecture and design are inventive, beautiful and state-of-the-art. Ford Field offers some of the most technologically advanced video and audio systems in the NFL. Detroit does not, however, have a winning professional football team. The Detroit Lions are not very good. They are the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 in a season. They are the only team to have gone three years without a road win. Three years. They have lost more games in the past 10 years than anyone else in pro football. That is why their attendance is historically among the lowest in the sport. Even though the stadium is capable of hosting 65,000-70,000

fans, attendance this season has averaged just over 47,000. Why? It’s what happens ON THE FIELD that counts. Sports franchises have learned this the hard way. Spending millions (billions?) of dollars on a beautiful stadium will not guarantee a profitable franchise. Ultimately, it’s having a winner ON THE FIELD that matters. Retailers have to learn this same lesson. Building a beautiful store is important, sure. State-of-the-art technologies for CRM and loyalty programs are great, of course. Visual merchandising to create a beautiful sales environment is vital, too. But, ask yourself this question: Are you 14 • Sports Insight ~ January/February 2010

winning ON THE FIELD? Are you winning customers on the sales floor? When a shopper visits your store and encounters one of your sales people, is that shopper having a memorable exp0erience? I’m afraid that too many retailers have decided that it is enough to have a beautiful store, the latest POS technology and good signage. But today’s increasingly demanding shopper is looking for more. They want an experience. Today’s retailer that expects to win the profit battle is going to have to be concerned with the customer’s in-store experience. What does this customer want? A. This customer wants to be acknowledged. It is no secret that we are in a tough business climate these days. If a customer decides to shop and spend her hard-earned money with you, you’d better recognize it and express I’m afraid that your gratitude. Believe it or not, this begins at your lease-line. A smile and a friendly, too many “Welcome to our store,” can communicate retailers have to your shoppers that you’re glad they’re decided that shopping with you. Unfortunately, I don’t it is enough even get this courtesy from many places I shop. to have a beautiful store... B. This customer wants you to listen. She is tired of coming out to shop and being “sold to.” The smart retailer will take the time to ask questions and listen to the customer. What are HER wants, HER needs? Talk half as much as your customer. C. This customer wants you to have solutions. Your product is the best in the industry, right? Show this customer that you are convinced of it. After you have heard what your customer’s needs are, be ready to offer real solutions. Know the answers. Be prepared with the details. D. This customer wants a relationship. We can get very emotional about the brands we love. Just ask a Pepsi drinker to try a Coke! If you can do everything in A, B and C above, you’ll have a customer that will want to come back for more. Give them a reason to. One of my dear friends, Tony works for a major southern department store chain. He is one in the top 10 percent of all sales people in their company. His clients love him — and are fiercely loyal. During this past Holiday season – in order to manage payroll dollars – his management had him regularly work a half shift, with instructions: Do not sell. Do not run the registers. We want you to only change displays and straighten. Huh? This retailer is making a mistake in my opinion. Rather than focusing on creating a delightful in-store experience, they have had this world-class salesman spend his time straightening the store. That would be like asking your star quarterback to sit out the game and work concessions. Let’s get back to putting our customers front and center — they will reward you for it. l Dan Mann is the founder of The Mann Group, a leading retail training and education company that focuses on results. He began his career as a teacher. His goal? To create leaders. That same goal followed him to his next job at Bachrach, where he led the largest privately owned men’s clothing chain, to great success. His company, TMG, is a nationally known leader in helping retailers get results. Dan is scheduled to speak at The Footwear Event, June 29, 2010 in Chicago.


Winning Where it counts at Retail