3 Blue Tie Lessons for Retail Sales Magic

The Story of an apparel showroom’s online review

Showroom shopping is dead. Long live show room shopping’ You’ve heard that too, I’m sure. For me, at least, yesterday changed it. Forever. 

Alright, I admit I’m biased. When I buy clothes, I still prefer to stroll into a clothing outlet, breathe in the ambience, browse the collection, try out items for fit and get my alterations done there and then. Not to speak of the deals, previews and goodies that such stores can offer

Long story short, I went to look at blazers last evening. Just wanted to explore.  No intentions of buying anything. The young salesperson in attendance was unobtrusive. “Blazer for a special occasion Sir?” 

“Daughter’s graduation. Not in a hurry. It is still a month away”

“Grey would do great Sir. Style guide suggests a turquoise blue tie and a white shirt with it. It says that wouldn’t be strictly formal. Yet it will look subtle and social. Right tone for a graduation invite. Can we show you a few other accessories Sir? Also Sir, we have an offer going all of this week on suits and blazers. ” 

I fell for that one, wallet first. Anyway, I have to buy, so why delay, I thought. I ended up buying an entire ensemble, trousers, tie-pin, cufflinks and socks to match.  There was no defence against that kind of pitch, the clincher was the blue tie of course. Next time you want to browse for clothing, you should give this outlet a try”

What does it take to convert a walk-in from a ‘browser’ to a ‘shopper’

Like all things beautiful, selling is simple. At its heart, sales is just 2 steps:

  • Identify and (or) create a need (“So you are looking for a blazer?” in our story) 
  • Fulfill that need with your product or service for mutual benefit (“Grey blazer would be great”) 

That’s a classical definition. It’s classical as it is old yet contemporary. Apply it to any type of selling and it still works, whether it is a retail showroom or an ecommerce site. 

It is particularly effective when selling happens within a store. That’s because the salesperson in a retail store has the opportunity to interact one on one with the Customer and influence the shopper to move from browsing to billing. 

Research on why we buy, attributes this type of conversion to Suggestion Impulse, where a suggestion crystallizes the need in the shopper’s mind and prompts a decision to buy (Ref: Shopper, Buyer and Consumer Behaviour by Jay D Lindquist and M Joseph Sirgy)

Putting it to practice – The How  

This need identification and fulfillment process is broken up into 2 further steps in DAPA©, a simple but powerful personal sales process evolved by Mercuri International. So, each of the 4 alphabets in the DAPA© acronym stands for a step in this approach to selling:  

  • You Define the Customer’s requirement for your product or service 
  • Customer Accepts your definition of the requirement 
  • You Prove to the Customer that your product or service can fulfill the requirements 
  • Customer Accepts the proof you’ve provided
  • The shopper in our story, couldn’t resist the showroom pitch because the salesperson followed DAPA to the alphabet. 
  • He helped the shopper define and crystallize the need (‘Blazer to wear for a graduation event?’: D + A - Steps 1 & 2), 
  • He proved to the shopper that grey will fit the occasion best (Cited Style Guide: D – Step 3) 
  • Finally, he got the shopper to accept the proof (The shopper in the story bought the idea: The final A – Step 4)  


Master Class Takeaway

The 3 Blue Tie story lessons 

Selling is a science. Like any other science, it is learnable. And this science, on repeated practice and application evolves into an art. Then the salesperson can improvise and make buying a pleasure for the Customer. DAPA© will makes this science easy to practise. It can help internalize these 3 blue tie lessons from our story: 

  • Take selling beyond the stated need (Suggestion of a blue tie+ accessories) 
  • Spot latent needs, bring them up and influence them suitably (Quoting the Style guide helped convince) 
  • Get the Customer to own the discovered need. Then the sale gets elevated to a ‘service’ (The shopper was so impressed with the ‘service’ he shared an online review) 

Get salespeople in your stores use the 3 blue tie lessons.  They will do magic to your sales! 

For more ideas on the power of Customer Driven Goal Oriented Selling, explore the Mercuri Insight document on DAPA  here

“At bank, post office or supermarket, there is one universal law which you ignore at your own peril: the shortest line moves the slowest”

– Bill Vaughan –

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