This Episode: Everybody Has A Story


Major retail tip: to be the best salesperson you can be, it’s key to remember that everybody has a story. Everyone who comes into your store has something going on in their lives that you don’t know about, but that may be relevant to the process of getting them to a perfect purchase. 

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Hey, it’s Bob Negen, and welcome to another episode of “Real Retail TV.” Today we’re going to go to the Retail Sales Academy, and actually, the video comes from the ongoing professional development series.

If you are part of the Retail Sales Academy, you do your training and you get certified, and then you go through a second phase, which is mastery and application. And then you get to the third phase, which is ongoing professional development. And in that ongoing professional development phase, every other week you get a video that explores a concept that will help you become better. You know, it’s sort of next-level sales stuff. And we thought we would share one of those OPD, Ongoing Professional Development, videos with you. Because this one is really important.

It’s about the heart it takes to be a truly great retail salesperson. It talks about the fact that everybody has a story. And if you recognize that and honor that, you will be better for it, and they will be better for it. Enjoy.

Hey, it’s Bob Negen again, and another episode of your ongoing professional development series. You know, as we talk about every two weeks, these videos are here to keep your head in the game, to give you more information, to help you become a more successful retail salesperson. And so today we’re going to explore this idea that everybody has a story– that everyone who comes into your store has something going on in their lives that you don’t know about but that may be relevant to the process of getting them to a perfect purchase.

There’s a term called “sonder.” And the definition of sonder from The Dictionary of Urban Sorrows– isn’t that something? Dictionary of Urban Sorrows– goes like this. Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness, an epic history that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways and thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you may appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as the blur of a traffic light passing on a highway, as a lighted window at dusk. Or, might I add, as a salesperson in a store.

So everybody you talk to has a story. And understand that everybody deserves your best self. And it kind of goes to this idea of never judge. You know, someone may not be dressed well. Somebody may smell bad. Somebody may be really weird and uptight at that moment. But you never know what’s going on with them.

Recently, I heard a story about a woman who owns a knittingware store. And she told the story about somebody coming in just about the time that they were closing. And she seemed upset and distraught, and really, really, really anxious. But this person, even though it was closing time, decided to relax and be kind and give this person the benefit of the doubt, and let this person shop.

And she stayed quite a bit longer than she should have or could have. The store had been closed for a half hour when this person finally found the project and the materials that she needed. And it turned out that one of her best friends had just died in a storm that had come through the Northeast. And she didn’t know what to do with her hands, so she thought of knitting and she went to this knitting store.

That is an example of sonder. You don’t know. Because somebody dresses a particular way, or because somebody is behaving a certain way, doesn’t mean that they’re bad, that they’re poor, that they’re weird, that they’re crazy. It just means that something is happening in their lives.

And I want you to remember that every day you hit the floor, you have the opportunity to change lives, not by just doing your work well, not by getting your customer to the perfect purchase every time, but by being a good, kind, understanding person, understanding sonder, understanding everyone has their own story and respecting everyone’s story.

So I hope that you enjoyed that, and I hope that you saw how this idea of sonder can really make a difference in your effectiveness as a salesperson. And when you understand that deeper level and you can tap into that deeper level of experience that your customer has, boy, oh, boy, that’s how you get customers for life.

So your action item, should you choose to accept it, is to have this conversation with your team, to talk to them about the fact that everybody has a story and that everybody is feeling something, and that if you want to be the kind of independent retailer I know you want to be, that being kind and being generous and being understanding will help everyone, will help make you great– even greater.

If you liked this video and if you want to help your team become much better on the floor, much more connected to your customers, I would strongly recommend that you go to RetailSalesAcademy.com and sign up for a free tour. The Retail Sales Academy is the best customer-focused sales training for independent retailers anywhere. Not only will your customers get a better experience and your staff have more fun on the floor, but it will help you make a lot more money.

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