Jenifer Winningham / September 7, 2022
The Shoe Matters
During college I worked at Quiet Flight Surf Shop at Universal Orlando Resort’s City Walk. Oh, those were the days! I absolutely loved my job. Talking to new people every day, helping them find what they came in looking for, training new associates, learning how to manage properly, creating my own training tools, etc. Hands down one of the best jobs I ever had, but as life would have it, I wanted more and to branch out after completing my degree.
Fast forward many years later, I found my next best job ever – working at The Lipsey Company with Michael Lipsey and Tim Rios. I didn’t realize it in my early 20’s, but I did later, that training is my jam! It’s who I am at the core. I love to interact with others and build up their skills and talents.
Within the first few weeks of working with Mike it was clear to me that his approach to selling was identical to the one that was instilled in me at Quiet Flight. Build rapport, transition, ask open ended questions, provide features and benefits, and sell them what they want. As a salesperson our focus is to sell as much as we can to earn commission. We often forget the basic techniques and what truly makes the sale great not just for us, but for our customers (who we ultimately want driven back to us).
If we want our customers to return, or in my case at Quiet Flight buy more, we need to learn to ask the right questions and begin a sincere relationship with them. When a new associate came on board at Quiet Flight, I was tasked with training them to do just that. First, we’d build rapport with our customers and then transition to what brought them into the store. Often, we’d get a response such as “I’m looking for new shoes (or shirt, dress, shorts, gift, etc.)” Before we would even show them our shoe collection, we’d ask about the purpose of the shoe, the colors they liked, the fit of the item and any relevant question that would help us narrow down what they would want. This allowed us to have a higher chance of closing the sale and even upselling additional products. I wouldn’t sell them sandals if their plans were to hike a mountain. The type of shoe they need is based on their use and likes.
Let’s think about the steps I just mentioned above. My associates weren’t supposed to ask you if they could help you find anything (still a trigger for me when I go shopping). They were expected to build rapport first and then transition to a sale. Mike’s best practices such as Lipsey’s 55, Client Discovery Needs Analysis, RUNS CLEAR, and more, provide these first essential steps in closing the deal. You’d never show space to a user without knowing the purpose of it. Nor would you present to your client a presentation on building their own building if they didn’t have the funds.
So, the next time you’re working with a client, remember the shoe matters.
– Jenifer Winningham, Chief Administrative Officer, The Lipsey Company