My father and new step-mother were in town this weekend. They were supposed to come up for a sales conference but my dad’s company had a swine flu scare! So instead of listening to boring presentations, my dad and step mom got to see the finer parts of the Twin Cities. We visited several restaurants and shops in Minneapolis/Saint Paul.As a single male, I don’t go “shopping” much. For me, shopping involves going to Super Target once every 3 months.My retail experience this weekend was down right abysmal. What happened to quality service/sales at restaurants, clothing stores, and other retail outfits?Twice when we ordered drinks at a restaurant they didn’t arrive until half way through the meal. Also, my requests for “ketchup”, “sweetener”, “butter”, and “the meal I actually ordered” continually fell upon deaf ears.Why don’t restaurants take reservations anymore? Or if they do, it’s only for certain seating within the establishment. “Sorry sir, we don’t take reservations for the patio. You can reserve a table inside and ‘request’ patio seating, but I am not authorized to reserve patio tables”. Why? I want to spend money and sit outside at the same time. It’s a beatiful day and allegedly you are in the business of making money. I will take my money elsewhere.I am a sucker for a good salesman. All I need is the slightest ‘degree of need’ or ‘want’ for what you are schlepping. Take the time to pitch me and you will probably get a sale. Apparently the clothing and furniture stores I visited this weekend hate money. It was unbelievable. Sales reps wondering around aimlessly. I was in the spending mood but I just needed a little nudge to get to the cashier. Said nudge could include:”Hi, nice day sir. This weather is great!” = SOLD”Those are a sharp pair of sunglasses. Do you want me to open the case?” = SOLD”Please let me know if you have any questions about those shoes” = SOLDBut nothing like that occurred at ANY of the retail shops I visited. So I kept my wallet closed.While this post is indeed a “rant”, I did learn something from my retail adventures this weekend. Make potential clients feel appreciated. They could have visited a laundry list of other establishments/websites, but they chose you! Thank them for coming and cater to their needs/wants. Add a personal touch to your pitch. Make them feel like they aren’t just another customer. You will increase sales and also increase the lifetime value of your customers/players.Tony


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