Thursday, May 5, 2011

Repeat Yourself Repeatedly

After years of observing retailers interacting with customers and staff, I’ve decided that many of those retailers are too quick to believe you can get results by saying something once. The root cause isn’t customer or staff stupidity. It is retailer familiarity: The retailer subconsciously assumes that if they’re highly familiar with how to do a task or why a certain product is good, the other party will get the message promptly.
     Effective retailers repeat themselves. Again and again. Researchers at Harvard University and Northwestern University discovered that, on average, about 15% of communications by managers are redundant. Some of the managers they shadowed generated four or more versions of the same message. Moreover, those managers who were intentionally redundant got better results.
     It’s not just the content of the message, says the research. When you repeat yourself, you’re maintaining contact with the message recipient. You’re making your presence felt, which strengthens your influence. Staff and customers are inundated with instructions and suggestions. Repetition adds distinctiveness.
     The commission of repetition easily irritates the recipient if you’re saying the same words in the same way again and again. Based on their results, the Harvard/Northwestern researchers suggest that when it comes to supervisors giving directions to their direct reports, a face-to-face followed by an e-mail works well. Not only does this ease the irritation potential, but it also takes account of the fact that different people have different learning styles and all people remember best what’s delivered in a range of modalities.
  • Tell the person
  • Give it to them in writing
  • Show them how it’s done
  • Have them demonstrate it to you
  • Ask them to teach it to someone else and then report the results
     It does work differently when communications are with customers rather than with direct reports. For one thing, retailers are about twice as likely to recognize the need for redundancy with customers as with staff. For another thing, the retailer is less likely to recognize the availability of multiple modalities. Sending a confirmation e-mail to a staff member is natural. It takes more effort to think about sending an e-mail to a customer to follow up on a store visit.
     When talking to a group of staff or customers, another way to ease the irritation potential is to talk to each group member in turn, shifting eye contact as you do.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Delegate, Empower & Collaborate
Repeat Information When Selling to a Group

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