Are You Ready For An Answer?

I will do my best to keep this post short as my last one was fairly lengthy. Although if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do (unbiased opinion of course) – click here.

My wife and I were at Home Depot on the weekend, which is usually one of my favourite stores to visit. On this particular outing we spent roughly forty-five minutes looking for several items on our list. I can’t recall what any of them are (which is why I’m given lists in the first place), but I can remember that of the four or five items we needed, we only came away with one. The bulk of our time was spent wandering the aisles trying to locate our required items. Our lack of success was primarily due to lack of stock, improper sizes, etc. but the bottom line was that the trip was a bust!

We proceeded to the checkout with our single item and were greeted by the cashier, “Hi, did you find everything you need today?” Despite our frustrations I instinctively responded, “Yes.”

It was only after answering that I thought about what I said. I’m sure virtually every customer gets a similar greeting from the cashier, and I’m also sure most would respond as I did: automatically. But what if I had given a different response?

What if I told the truth? What if I explained how frustrated we were in a) trying to find the products, and b) finding that they didn’t have what we needed? What would the cashier have done? I think she would have given a conditioned response regardless of my answer and I certainly would not have expected her to prob further or take action in any way. Perhaps her response would resemble, “Oh, sorry to hear that” but ultimately that would be the end of interaction.

I’m not condoning asking the question: in retail it is a legitimate query. However, I was reminded of a crucial sales/life skill that all-too-often gets overlooked. Whether habit or not, if I ask a question, I better be prepared for any type of response.

If I ask how your day is going, I should be prepared to listen to what you have to say. Similarly, if I ask a prospect about their business, I should actively pay attention and be engaged in their responses. I know that if I ask my pregnant wife if she would like a snack, I better be ready to get off my butt, go upstairs and make her a snack.

Once you ask a question, you MUST listen, engage and be ready for action. Otherwise, what’s the point in asking?

Are you ready for an answer?

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6 thoughts on “Are You Ready For An Answer?

  1. Chris,

    It would have been very interesting to see what would have happened if you had told the cashier about the problems you had. I’ll have to try this and see what happens the next time I’m in this situation. The response will likely say a lot about the company.

    I agree that it would not be good to ask the question if the cashier (or somebody else there, perhaps a manager) isn’t prepared to follow up on any issues that the customer brings up.

    • I honestly think the cashier’s reaction would resemble a deer in headlights. I’m not sure she would have known what to do or say next. I am becoming increasingly tempted to try it though…
      I appreciate your comment Greg. Have a great day!

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