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Creating Memorable Customer Experiences: Education

A Tale of How To Increase Retail Sales and Customer Retention Via Education

Years ago my best friend and I were walking through a large furniture store. Just for kicks, we laid down on a couple of the beds when we arrived in that section of the store. An astute salesman walked over to see if he could be of assistance. “Do you like this one?” Neither of us were shopping for a bed, so we admitted we were just testing out the merchandise. He smiled politely and walked away. It was a friendly enough encounter, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Since my friend and I were in the middle of a conversation, we continued sitting in the bed section of the store chatting for a while longer. During that time, a couple of other salespeople approached us. (It was obvious these folks worked on commission.) All were pleasant, but we weren’t shopping for beds. We were talking on beds.

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“A more experienced salesman asked a simple question.”

As we stood up to walk away from that area, a more experienced salesman asked a simple question. “How do you sleep?” Evidently, the looks on our faces communicated our confusion about the intent of the question. “I mean, do you sleep on your back, on your stomach, or on your side?”

We stopped and turned around to engage in this ice breaker, each of us sharing our sleeping preferences with the man. From there, he went on to explain how different beds are more supportive based on your preferred sleeping position. Fascinated, we asked how to tell which beds were best for which positions. There’s no space to explain mattresses to you right now, but trust me when I say we learned something that day.

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I tell you this story to illustrate a point. This encounter happened years ago, but I still remember it because it was so unique. Instead of convincing people to buy something they didn’t need, this salesperson educated people who would one day need a bed. He wasn’t pushing a particular model. The goal of the exchange wasn’t to get one of us to purchase the most expensive item. He simply taught us something about the product he sold.

How Education Will Increase Retail Sales

I no longer live in that city, but I’m currently in need of a new mattress. That salesperson is whom I would buy it from if I was still local. Here’s why:

  • He wasn’t pushy.
  • He was well versed in the merchandise the store sold.
  • He taught me something.
  • He seemed more concerned about me getting a good night’s sleep than he was about making a sale.
  • His knowledge led me to believe that he was an experienced professional.
  • I remembered my experience in that store.

If you want to increase retail sales, educate your potential customers while they’re in your store. They may not make a purchase that day, but when they’re ready to make the purchase, you’ll be the first place they go because they remember how knowledgeable you were about the product.

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