Don’t Ask…Don’t Tell?

Cynthia: What do you do when a customer walks in and wants something that you fear really won’t suit her — for instance, she loves the look of the huge dangling earrings Beyonce prefers?
Caroline: I’d show her what I have that most closely matches her preferences out of what I have in stock and offer to order whatever she wants. I’d also try to get her to try them on first (or whatever I had in stock that is close) to see if she really does want them. Sometimes when you try something on in person …… well, let’s just say they might work better on Beyonce.
Cynthia:  In that case, would you try to explain why they don’t look as good on your customer, or remain mum?
Caroline: Depends. If she’s dead set on them, tries them on and likes them, well “the customer is always right.” That customer doesn’t need or want me to offer my opinion. Now, if she asks and doesn’t seem as dead-set on purchasing them, then I’d show her styles that would seem to better suit her.
Cynthia: I was raised in the philosophy that the customer is always right – that’s left over from my gig in high school working at Marshall Field’s. If the customer wavers and says, “I don’t know…” would you try to explain or just show her different merchandise?
Caroline:  I would not go into details unless she specifically asks. If I did, it might seem like I’m giving her a hard time. I’d probably just steer her toward other earrings and tell her (if it were true) how flattering they are.
Cynthia: I agree – I’d volunteer the information only if she asks. In that case, would you try to explain why something else might be more flattering?
Caroline: If she asks, I’d certainly try to answer all her questions. I don’t think I’d be qualified to tell her why one pair of earrings works better than another, other than in instinctive visual terms. I know you are qualified as an image consultant with the proper training and to you this analysis is second nature.
Cynthia: I hope that our book and this blog will provide some information to help find ways to flatter the customer.
Caroline: I hope so too!
Cynthia: If she has a short neck, for instance, shorter earrings might be more flattering.
Caroline: Yes, we covered that last week. Of course, you can’t just tell a customer “Hey, you have a short neck and those earrings really won’t do it! Try these earrings instead!”
Cynthia:  Of course not! So what would you try next on the customer who thought she wanted plate-sized dangling earrings but doesn’t like them once she tries them on?
Caroline: I’d probably pick out several styles (a variety) and ask her to try them on and we’d study them on her ears.
Cynthia: Great idea.  What would you say to her about the earrings, some of which work better than others?
Caroline: If they worked, I’d simply say that, followed by “How do they feel? Do you like them?” to gauge her reaction. Just because I like them, of course, doesn’t mean she will. And if they didn’t work, I’d say, “Well, I think these (another pair) might be more flattering.” Of course, she may not agree!
Cynthia: We’ll talk more next time about how to decide if a look works or not!

Today’s Jewel

There’s nothing harder than trying to get someone to consider another look when she has her heart set on one. Many times, it’s not even a good idea to try!

If you can see a style is all wrong and can entice your customer to try something else on, maybe you can steer her toward a look that will flatter and she will enjoy.

For most retailers, this is second nature but bears repeating. Tune in on Friday for more on how you can help your customer choose earrings that work!