how to involve a staff in
waiting on customers
friends, Walt, Richard and Len, recently ran into one another in
a restaurant. Walt asked why none of the three was seeing the others
in the store where they had initially met. A quick check among the
three found that none shopped in the store any more. This prompted
a discussion as to why that had happened.
they determined that the owner of the store, who had always made a point to wait on the three, was rarely seen on the sales
floor any more. He had been one of those owners who made a point
to know customers by their first name. There was often a handshake
or pat on the back to go with the hello. It was one of those competitive
edges a small business can have.
business had grown, and the owner opened a second and third location.
The owner, who had pampered customers so much, was pulled away from
this enjoyable task by his expanded duties. Sure, there were other
people working in the store. But who takes the time to notice the
other salespeople when someone is taking such good care of you?
of this brings us to the title of this column: "Making the
Pass." There is a strong need for business owners and managers
to learn how to successfully make a pass in their businesses.
some need to be able to "make a pass" so they can expand
their businesses to other locations, there are many more who need
to be able to make a pass so they can complete their duties as owners
and managers. We often hear how little time an owner or manager
has to complete his management duties, to look at ways to increase
sales, or find ways of reducing costs. This is what happens when
the day-to-day aspect of running the business devours the work day.
take a look at how you can become a successful "passer."
Almost every store manager or owner enjoys the opportunity of visiting
with customers. It is an integral part of what makes a business
different from the competition; and with many businesses, the owner
or manager is the best salesperson in the building.
the owner or manager is probably also the best at several other
tasks-planning, merchandising, scheduling, and buying. While giving
quality customer service is the backbone of a successful business,
the other tasks are the internal organs of that same business, and
no business can exist without either one.
the task begins by having an owner or manager who develops a quality
sales staff. The only way to do this is through an education program
for your staff. If you say you don't have time for one, then you
are sure to see yourself in a situation similar to a hamster on
the exercise wheel in a cage: you go faster and faster but are going
having an education program, you start people on the road to becoming
quality salespeople. When you begin building quality salespeople,
you often find yourself hiring one or two who bring some terrific
skills into your business.
Imagine what would have happened if Walt had walked into the business
one day, asked the owner a question, and the owner suggested that
another staff member be asked for his input. Walt likely would have
answer would have been, "Sam just came back from an all-day
school on these products, and I am sure he has heard some things
that, the owner or manager has introduced Sam to Walt and suggests
Walt ask his question of Sam. Within a few moments, Walt is developing
a level of comfort with Sam.
course, the good owner or manager will prompt Sam to follow up with
a telephone call to Walt in a few days. More important, he is cultivating
a relationship between Walt and Sam that is similar to the one the
owner or manager has had with Walt; and the next time Walt comes
into the store, the owner or manager will probably ask Walt if Sam
took care of everything for him.
key here is for the owner or manager to recognize that he cannot
have all the answers to all of the questions a customer might ask.
If he does, he will be relegated to one-and only one-job: always
waiting on customers. This situation is much like the football team
that does not ever pass but runs the ball on every play. With this
type of strategy, the team is sure to lose.
definition of a best manager is a person who recognizes that each
and every person working in the business can do something better
than he himself. That best manager's job is to find what that skill
is and to put it to use somewhere in the business.
owner or manager-the ball is in your hands. What are you going to
do with it?