Loyalty by Larry
By John Hennessy, Vice President, Concept Shopping, Inc.
- I never bothered to see how much the shirt cost.
- It was lots more than I ever paid for a shirt.
- Somehow I didn’t mind.
The above three items are from Chicago Tribune Perspective Editor Charles Madigan as he relates his quest for a new dress shirt.
Despite admitting that he loves the efficiency of buying stuff on the internet, Mr. Madigan enjoyed a terrific buying experience in the hands of a sales professional named Larry
– an experience that Mr. Madigan says has changed him.
Mr. Madigan relates how some believe the era of service is now just about dead. “But every once in a while you run into someone who recognizes what it’s all about and plays his
role like a Barrymore.”
When Mr. Madigan asked Larry what people should expect of their sales folks this Christmas season, Larry responded without even a second’s pause – “The moon! And what they should
get should be beyond the moon!”
Mr. Madigan adds, “If you are fortunate this season, you will run into someone like Larry while you are shopping. You should thank him, first, for being so engaging. Then you
should write a note to his employer and tell the company what a pro he is and keep that happy thought as you climb into your new lavendink shirt.”
Moderator’s Comment: Has the desire for automation and the challenge of hiring and keeping “Larrys” caused many retailers to abandon the search? What
has been the cost to their businesses?
Larry is not a card or a program, but he is all about shopper loyalty.
Larry doesn’t expect shoppers to be loyal. He demonstrates loyalty to his shoppers by listening to them. He earns their loyalty by satisfying each shopper’s
needs. He improves his business by satisfying these needs with savvy, with sales and margin-enhancing item recommendations and complementary item suggestions. He even mixes in
some entertainment. Shoppers respond by rewarding Larry with raves, such as Mr. Madigan’s, and business they had been doing elsewhere.
Not every retailer can afford to hire and keep a few Larrys. Or can they afford not to?
Larry actively sells. He uses skills and experience to identify and satisfy needs. He connects with customers and creates a lasting, favorable impression.
As Mr. Madigan suggests, that kind of service sticks with you and can motivate a change in behavior.
Larry substitutes service and relevance for price. Without Larry and his skills, price looms large. –
John Hennessy – Moderator