I recently popped into a motorcycle shop to drool over bikes. Two "sales" men were sitting behind desks. There were no other customers. One looked up - barely - and asked "you good mate?" then carried on doing whatever he was paid to do which certainly wasn't to try sell me anything. Maybe the shop is doing fine without another sale or maybe I simply didn't look serious, who knows? They had failed to realise the value of the fact I had walked through their shop door led by my passion for bikes. I wasn't asking to be sold a bike, I was simply asking have my dream stoked. Getting me in the door was half (maybe more) their job done. I spent the 20 minutes drooling and neither of them got up. I had bought a bike for my wife a month earlier. I didn't intend to, but a real salesman took the time to harness my already evident passion and off I rode, living the dream. I have since returned to that same bike shop even though it is 2 hours away after visiting several others closer to home with dismal salespeople. When I walked in we carried on where we left off and he has already arranged demo models for me to test ride. Can I afford another bike? Not on your life! But I probably will own another one soon because someone is taking the time to stoke my passion and match it to a dream. [update, I have since bought a Hayabusa.
I remain baffled at the lack of basic sales - or dare I say PEOPLE - skills that seem to be evident in staff on retail shop floors and somehow bike shops seem particularly guilty. What income is there apart from a sale and what sale is there without a customer? And is there a customer without the interaction that comes from a visit to a store (virtual or real)? Getting the customer is the hard part - the hard earned advertising dollars spent or the high floor space rentals to get feet in the door.
Surely once those feet are in the door they are valued?
The fact that a potential customer is in the store and is not engaged is a shame. One wonders what the advertising and marketing dollars it takes to get them there is, but I can only imagine what it has cost in goodwill and brand degradation when a customer leaves unattended. No word of mouth recognition; no customer loyalty; negative brand connotations- now working against all future advertising dollars spent.
All as a result of simply not understanding the value of a potential customer - the one who pays the salary - by simply taking the time to throw fuel on the fire of that flame that led them to your store.