“Can I help you?” said the young lady not long after we’d walked into the shoe shop in a small, sleepy town near Bristol.
“Well, yes”, said Jan. She added, almost apologetically, “I’m a challenge”.
And Jan knows about challenges in retail when she sees one. A number (ahem!) of years working in shops have taught her a trick or two.
But it didn’t seem to phase Tanya though, so we pressed on.
Jan was looking for shoes. So far, so ordinary.
She needs special ones as she’s had problems with her feet for a number of years but finally got round to seeing a podiatrist only a few weeks ago. He gave her a thorough examination and a diagnosis with specific requirements for the type and brand of shoe she needed to put her body straight.
Feet are important as the way you stand has an effect on your back which in turn affects your entire well being. But if you’ve ever had any kind of chronic back pain you’ll know that.
I’m not sure how long we were in the shop but I took three phone calls and she must have tried at least ten pairs of shoes.
But with Tanya, we were dealing with an expert.
And an expert not afraid to pass on a quick sale. She could quite easily have sold us the first pair that fitted and we’d be on our merry way 80 quid or so lighter. She told us not to buy anything…yet.
Shops like our one keep very little stock, it’s too specialised. So we were told to order (but not pay) from the catalogue, come back and try them. Only then were they to go back to the podiatrist for adjustment with inserts to correct other things and the final purchase be made.
Combining expert knowledge and service to get a long-term customer. Jan’ll probably buy two pairs when she goes back and will be a customer for a good.
We’re also in an age group where we have friends who are likely to have the same kind of problems. You get the picture.
Customers respect knowledge and indeed expect it. They also respect being told NOT to buy because that rarely means “don’t buy now”, it means “don’t buy yet”. Buy when it’s right for you.
Yes, this can get to be quite confusing if you’re a beginner in business or even if your have a good deal of experience.
I’d love you to join my Facebook group, Becoming Pro. We all have gaps in our knowledge. You’ll get some support, tea and sympathy and a few idea to move you business forward. Join here.