Today, I was in Brantome (Dordogne, France) and saw a luxe three-quarter length cape/jacket. I would have purchased it immediately; however this is what happened.
I walked into the shop and there were two people, one man and one woman, sitting in comfortable armchairs. I said, "Bonjour" and the man responded. I told him the store was "magnifique"; he acknowledged. The woman sat there without any acknowledgement. There was a "fall" jacket/cape that I wanted to try on but it was in an awkward position. I struggled for a moment or two, trying to retrieve the jacket to try it on. The man advised me that he could send the piece by post if needed (he obviously deduced that I was a foreigner and made an assumption), the woman talked about accessories that would go well with the piece. Neither person acknowledged my struggle or anticipated that I wanted to try it on before I would buy. I left without trying it on and hence, without buying.
How many sales are jeopardized by what sales associates say or do? In the case described, these were probably the owners, all that had to be done was for one of them to take the jacket off the rack from their angle and once I had it on, I know I would have purchased it. Neither had the foresight to do that.
In another situation, this time in Canada, I loved the dress. I knew it looked it good. What's not to look good, it was a sheath dress in a size 4 (I now wear a larger size). The sales associate said, "I don't like blue". OK, I thought . . . it doesn't matter what you like. After I changed to try on something else, she took the dress away, out of my sight - mistake #1. I tried on the second dress, a print. She then began telling me how great the print looked on me and how awful the blue was - mistake #2. I liked the blue. I did not like the print. I left without buying the one I liked or the one I didn't like.
I have been a sales associate in a high end women's apparel shop. We were trained to mimic the shoppers' responses to whatever they tried on without talking too much. It worked. As a sales person I stood in the mirror with the customer; she touched the neckline, I touched my neckline; she motioned toward the hem and made a comment, I motioned toward my hem; she shrugged and then affirmed with a nod, I shrugged and then nodded. Voila. A sale was made. I probably did not say more than 10 words through the whole process and none opposed what the customer said herself. But then again, none were over the top compliments. I recognize the strategy when sales associates use it on me and I am impressed if they use it at all. It smacks of neuro-linguistic programming. Whether it is or not, I do not know, but it is a strategy of some sort and it worked for the most part.
Have you ever left a shop without buying? It would be interesting to read about your positive and negative sales experiences . . .