Ask PETS+ A Real-Life How-To on Putting a Shoplifter in Her Place And how to deal with a sales person who can’t close a sale … Published 2 years ago on May 7, 2019 By PETS+ Staff PETS+ June 2019 Issue Share Tweet I’ve got a person on staff who simply adores dogs, and she almost never fails to strike up a lengthy conversation with customers, but for the life of me, I can’t teach her how to close the sale! Help! “Failure to close is most often a combination of lack of basic skill and fear of being too forward, or pushy,” says Kate Peterson of retail consultancy Performance Concepts. Be aware, she says, that you can’t effectively teach closing as a separate and disassociated thing. If your team member is good at engaging the customer in conversation, focus on teaching her how to make emotional connections between what the customer wants and what the merchandise provides and to listen for signals that indicate it’s time to close. When it comes to more expensive items or services, remind her that most customers are often looking for permission to pull the trigger. “Providing good service means giving it to them by asking for the sale,” says Peterson. There are also situations, when your salespeople will be grateful to be “let off the hook” with a particularly chatty customer via a personal intervention from the boss, meaning you. What if I see a customer go to steal an item and then put it back? Ain’t much you can do, says Rick Segel, author of Retail for Dummies. “The police don’t arrest people for contemplating shoplifting.” Make it obvious this person has caught your attention and hope they don’t come back. The staff at Paddywack in Mill Creek, WA, had just such a situation recently, reports owner Shane Somerville: “We had a customer quickly put on one of our hoodies for sale, then put her coat on over it and pretended like it was hers. Luckily, our team realized it was our merchandise and made like she was buying it because it’s such a great sweatshirt! She realized she was busted and immediately acted like she was just trying it on but ‘decided not to buy it’ and quickly left.” One of the questions I always get, and always hate, is “Do you have to charge sales tax?” How should I answer this? Here’s a simple way to diffuse this sneaky discount ploy. Look the customer in the eye, smile, and say, “Actually, I don’t charge sales tax. I collect it.” They’ll get the point. And while everybody wants the best deal, they’ll trust you more for it. Because if you’d cheat on your taxes, how could a customer trust you to take care of one of the most important “possessions” in their life? My brother, who is the oldest, assumed leadership of the business, but I don’t feel he pulls his weight. What should I do? The icky truth is you’re going to have to confront your brother. Leaving such matters to fester only makes them worse and imperils the business. Call a meeting with your brother and consider using the DESC conflict-resolution method: Describe: Outline the problem. Be careful to avoid using judgmental language. Express: Let him know your concerns of what will happen if things don’t change. Specify. Tell your brother what you’d like him to do to make things better. Be as specific as possible. Example: “It’s important you’re here on Saturdays …” Consequences: Cite the consequences that will occur when the behavior is changed — a better-run store, more profit for everyone. Through all this, remember to really listen to your brother’s side of things and stay clear of the question of who’s right and wrong. I know I should be focused on my business, but I get an almost warped glee out of competing fiercely with the unethical mill-puppy-selling schmuck up the road. There’s nothing wrong with having such an enemy, is there? Indeed, there’s plenty of psychological research that testifies to the fact that humans partly enjoy having enemies. They clarify the world for us and bolster our sense of righteousness. So sure, why not channel this sometimes less-than-admirable truth to good ends? And it’s certainly easier to keep an eye on what your rivals are up to in the internet era. The only thing we’d say is that you don’t lose sight of who your real enemy is. Is it the guy so bad at business he’s cutting legal corners, or is it an online retailer, or something else — like your own complacency, inertia, or fear of change — that poses an existential threat to your business? Enjoy your day-to-day skirmishes with the schmuck up the road, use it to motivate yourself, but channel your energies into evolving and growing your business. Advertisement Related Topics:Featured click to Comment(Comment) PETS+ Staff Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at email@example.com. Advertisement You may like What Do You Do When Employees from Other Pet Stores Come Into Your Store? Ask PETS+: Can You Ask Staff to Sign a COVID-19 Liability Waiver? How to Pass on a Handshake? And Other Ask PETS+ Answers Promoted Headlines Let’s Hear it for the Comfort Zone Tall Tails Category Spotlight: Terry Naturally® Animal Health Category Spotlight: eTailPet Advertisement Latest Trending Videos Photo Gallery7 hours ago LOL at These Pet Industry Bernie Memes Press Releases2 days ago Two Companies from Bend Oregon Team Up for the 2021 Stage Stop Sled Dog Race Press Releases2 days ago New Tiki Cat Grill Pate Wet Cat Food Features Real Fish & Seafood Recipes in Broth Press Releases2 days ago Choice Pet Products Welcomes New Territory Manager to the Team Press Releases2 days ago Canopy Animal Health Pet CBD Products Awarded NASC Quality Seal Headlines4 days ago Open Farm Receives $65M in Private Equity Investment Photo Gallery1 week ago How Indie Pet Stores Are Celebrating — and Selling — Valentine’s Day Columns1 week ago Shelf Appeal: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing Products for Your Pet Store Hot Sellers1 week ago Holiday Toys, Bird Perches and Spa Treatments Among the Hot Sellers for November Headlines5 days ago Mars Petcare Plans $145M Expansion in Arkansas Trace's Store School2 months ago Video: Trace’s Store School: How to Build Community — and Grow Revenue — with Other Businesses Trace's Store School2 months ago Video: Trace’s Store School: Get Ready for Black Friday and Small-Business Saturday Trace's Store School2 months ago Video: Trace’s Store School Teaches You How to Start a Produce Co-Op for Pets Headlines3 months ago Video: Some Retailers Board Up Due to Election Unrest Fears Trace's Store School3 months ago Video: Trace’s Store School Covers Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Advertisement Advertisement SubscribeBULLETINS Get the most important newsand business ideas from PETS+. Instagram petsplusmag Instagram post 17903339089637516 Here’s why The Dog Store is one of America’s C Our 1st issue of the year is now live! Check it ou Holiday Pet Photos: Pics with Santa, Selfie Statio Even the scroogiest of pet parents can’t resist The #K9 #mask fits the shape of a #dog’s muzzle, New #Edibles for #Cats, #Vegan #Bars for #Dogs and Terry Lemerond, a pioneer in the human health supp LOAD MORE Most Popular Headlines4 days ago Open Farm Receives $65M in Private Equity Investment Photo Gallery1 week ago How Indie Pet Stores Are Celebrating — and Selling — Valentine’s Day Columns1 week ago Shelf Appeal: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing Products for Your Pet Store Hot Sellers1 week ago Holiday Toys, Bird Perches and Spa Treatments Among the Hot Sellers for November Headlines5 days ago Mars Petcare Plans $145M Expansion in Arkansas Press Releases1 week ago Coastal Pet Institutes Authorized Seller Policy Ask PETS+1 week ago What Do You Do When Employees from Other Pet Stores Come Into Your Store? Headlines1 week ago Pet Stores Have Questions About Lightspeed Supplier Network. We Have Answers!