Ask for the Order

Posted on December 3, 2013

Just Ask - Commstorm

Guest Post by Diana Marinova

Ask for the order or what lessons about communication the lady in the supermarket taught me. Honoring Debra’s one year anniversary of blogging, I decided to share a little story from few months ago. It’s a very ordinary every day story but put in the right context and perspective, we can learn a lot about communication from it.

The story

One cloudy morning, I went to the supermarket because I ran out of coffee. Maybe it’s good to know (in advance) that I am not a morning person and I definitely hate going to the supermarket. So, I entered the supermarket. I looked around (I was on a vacation so I didn’t quite know that particular supermarket). I found the coffee, took my brand and went to the cash register.

The lady looked at me, saw the coffee, ran it through the bar code reader and said to me: “We have a new brand of biscuits in the store. I tried them this morning and they are delicious! And at a promotional rate, too! Would you like to try them?”

I stood there for a moment thinking – well, yeah, who doesn’t like a nice chocolate treat with their coffee – so I nodded affirmatively. She ran the biscuits through the bar code reader, too. Then she just took out from a little fridge beside her a small cartoon of milk and said: “And you gotta try both the coffee and the biscuits with this milk! It’s not at a discounted rate but it sure will make your day if you have your morning coffee and biscuits with it!” – and she winked at me – LOL

I laughed and I felt good – it’s not every day that someone winks at you the old fashion way, eh? Besides, she did make me smile although I hadn’t had my coffee yet… So I ended up buying both the milk and the biscuits along with the coffee that I went for in the first place… and an ice-cream – because I was feeling good 😉

Ask for the order, always: The customer may or may not buy something. But if you ask them to, politely and with a hint of humor, they are more likely to!

Don’t be shy. Don’t be rude. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be pushy. Be yourself and ask for   the order genuinely – as if you are talking to a friend and making a personal recommendation regardless what the answer might be.

Share the information you have: Being a non-morning hating-the-supermarket customer, no way could I have noticed there are cookies at a discounted rate; or a small carton of milk beside the cashier. And I definitely had no way of knowing the brand of biscuits is new in that particular store. So, unless the lady at the cash register told me all that, there was no way for me to make a decision to purchase anything beside the coffee I went there for.

Don’t assume the customer knows something. Don’t assume the customer doesn’t want something. Don’t assume the customer doesn’t care. Don’t assume the customer doesn’t want to be bothered. Well, basically – don’t assume anything. Assumptions are your enemy when it comes to communication (and sales). Just share the information you have and deem important. I will cite here Debra – “information shared is power squared” 😉

Connect on a personal level: As hard as it may sound, it really isn’t. In my story – the lady in the supermarket winked at me! It was unexpected; it was funny; it was personal – it definitely helped me like her and purchase all she had to offer.

Connecting on a personal level doesn’t mean you have to know the person you are dealing with. It means being human; being yourself; being honest and forthcoming; being creative; being funny sometimes. Connecting on a personal level has a lot to do with being genuinely interested in what’s going around you. More importantly, it means helping the other party, even if they don’t know they need help – and just because you can!

Thank you, Debra, for hosting my story on your blog! And to all of you, dear readers – tell us in the comments –

What else did you learn about communications from my story?

Diana Marinova is a freelance marketing consultant and writes a wonderful bog providing smart and practical advice for freelancers and anyone in the business world who has clients or is a client.

Cafe con galleta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)