If you handle things correctly, you can save the sale. When the shopper says straight out that they’re irritated, apologize and ask how to make things right. Or if they don’t say it, but you sense the foul feelings, put the irritation to sleep.
In the 1970’s, psychologists gave the name “sleeper effect” to a phenomenon they noted, not in selling products, but in selling political candidates: When the arguments for a candidate were convincing and the person making the arguments was irritating, the consumer would at first not be at all convinced, but after a period of time forgot about the source and was persuaded by the message.
Subsequent studies by consumer psychologists found that the sleeper effect works in a range of selling situations. Research centered at University of Illinois-Chicago Circle described the conditions essential to produce the sleeper effect. Here is my translation of the findings into the steps you—the retailer—can take to activate the sleeper effect when you think you’ve irritated a customer and an apology doesn’t fit the situation:
- Briefly state the one reason for purchase that you believe will be most compelling to the shopper.
- Ask the shopper if they have any questions you might answer.
- If they are not interested in making the purchase, say something like, “I know a purchase like this can be an important decision. Please think about it and then visit us again.”
- If you’ve the contact information for the customer, wait one month and then send them an e-mail or postal mail invitation to come in to shop with you. Have the invitation signed with the store name, not your name. This is an exception to the rule that it’s better to use “I” than “we.”
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers
Click below for more:
Avoid Locking In Bad Moods
Shoo Away Negative Customer Feelings