What Dentistry Can Learn From a Successful Fashion “Make Over”
I recently had an amazing shopping experience in my hometown of Wenatchee, WA. It was that transitional time of year, between winter and spring, and I was feeling a bit out of touch with fashion. I casually stepped into a small boutique clothing store on Main Street- Immediately, I heard “Hi Shari!”
Remember, this was a casual stop with no real intention to buy... a “just looking” kind of trip. With Marsha’s confidence, expertise and enthusiasm, however, I eventually walked out of the store with three complete outfits. Delighted with my purchases, I asked myself, “How did this happen?” Or more accurately, how did Marsha make this happen?
The only way to find out, I decided, was to take Marsha to lunch and get her to reveal her ‘secrets to success’. Her answers are relevant not only to the fashion industry, but to any industry where customer satisfaction matters. Dental offices are no exception. Here’s what Marsha had to say:
Q: What three things would you tell anyone whose goal is to provide outstanding service?
A: Be honest. Don’t stop until the customer feels and sees it for themselves Follow up after the sale. Make business personal.
Q: What is it that moves you to be involved in selling clothes after 19 years in the business?
A: I genuinely care for each client. I have passion. It’s easy for me to sell what I believe in. If you sell the best you have to believe in it.
Q: What do you think your clients are looking for?
A: No one has ever walked in to my store and said “Show me something matronly” Everyone desires increased self esteem and a more youthful appearance. They all want to look the best they can, and to find “their” best personal feature.
Q: What can you help them find beyond that?
A: I can’t “tell” them, I have to show them by putting them in front of a mirror and letting them identify the poor/better/ best in the clothing for them.
Q: How do you define success at the end of a day?
A: Of course we look at total sales, and I share that with my co-workers. We also ask questions such as:
1. Did I "fluff" the store today?
2. Was I on the phone following up on sales?
3. Was I writing notes to clients?
4. Did I transfer enthusiasm?
If I can answer yes to these questions I know I’ve had a successful day.
Q: What is your personal secret to being successful?
A: I read 7 fashion magazines each month.
I make three calls a day which keeps low totals away.
I make it the customer’s idea.
I write personal notes.
I dress the part. I have fun with my wardrobe and encourage my clients to do the same.
Q: How do you see dentistry and fine clothing as being related?
A: We must both get the pulse of the customer and integrate it into a sale, and they both offer a way for us to communicate with each other. We communicate with the appearance of our mouth and teeth just as much as we communicate by what we wear.
Q: You’ve managed this store for 19 years. How do you mentor your peers?
A: As the manager and a co-worker I see myself as an equal. I have more responsibility, not more power. I ask myself how I would want to be treated and treat my co-workers the same way. I pretend I am the customer.
What can YOU learn from Marsha? What a great discussion for a staff meeting! Let the ideas fly!
WISE WORDS FROM MARSHA
“I can teach nice people to sell, but I can’t teach people to be nice.”
“People are not afraid to buy, they are afraid to buy a mistake.”
“We can make lots of sales, but we can’t make lots of customers.”
“Customers make the sales, sales don’t make the customers.”