Boston, MA--We all make choices about what to wear every day. For some, the decisions come quite naturally: “Hey, Susy, have you ever worn the same outfit twice?” For others, it is a daily chore, designed, it seems, to torment our very souls. “Wow, he sure is getting his money’s worth from that shirt.”
Whether you are in the former or the latter category, it is generally accepted that when we do arrive at work, and prepare ourselves for that day’s appearance on the great retail stage, we ought to look like we are working. No yoga pants or slippers for me, thank you!
One of the things that I have never, ever understood, is why salespeople in fine jewelry stores would ever fail to dress themselves in an appropriate piece of jewelry befitting the environment in which they work. For all the advertising and marketing that jewelers typically engage in, there is, perhaps, no better advertisement for your wares than to have your staff wearing them.
Oh, I can already hear the chorus of dissent because of the likely wear-and-tear on the jewelry, or the security concerns should the salespeople wear the product out of the store and lose it. I bet that happens a lot! Figure it out: the upside potential, when weighed against the small costs of refurbishing a piece, and the even smaller likelihood of actually losing a piece, is far greater and immensely profitable.
Wearing jewelry that represents your store’s image is positive for reasons that transcend the mere ‘show value’ demonstrated to customers. It is hugely beneficial because your employees will gain a whole new appreciation for fine jewelry when they wear it themselves. That appreciation will not be tempered because they do not own the jewelry. They will, more likely, become emotionally connected to the jewelry and they will have a much easier time conveying the value to the customers when they themselves understand it, as opposed to simply stating its features and perceived benefits.
So, now that I’ve gotten the yoga pants and jewelry rant out of my system, what is the one thing that you can wear to double your sales. Quite simply, a smile.
There have been numerous studies in recent years that focus on mirror-neurons, how we unconsciously mirror the behaviors and actions of people when we are engaged with them. If they are happy, we are more likely to be happy, if they are sad, we too tend to wear a sad face, if they are angry, well that just makes us angry too. Have you ever found yourself listening to someone talking with a stutter? What do you find yourself doing? Of course we know that it is neither politically correct nor helpful to stutter along with them, or to finish their sentences for them - and yet the urge to do so is very strong. It speaks to our need to be empathic and to align in a social context. Have you ever tried to prevent yourself from yawning when you are with someone who continues to do so?
Wearing a smile on your face accomplishes two very important ends. In the first instance, it transmits, through the power of mirror-neurons, a very warm and welcoming attitude to the person you are engaged with. It is just plain difficult to be miserable when you are talking to someone who is happy (the antitheses of ‘misery loves company’). You will find yourself slowly but surely succumbing to the attitude of the other person. Incidentally, in the case where two completely opposite emotions collide, the dominant personality (happy or sad) will typically win out. So be VERY happy.
The second very powerful aspect of wearing a smile on your face is that it has been clinically proven (there are many studies on the topic, but there is one German study in particular that is very compelling and is cited in many of the recent psychology books) to lift your own spirits. It was long held that our faces wore the expression of our feelings. More recent works in neuro-science, however, believe that the opposite also works - and that out faces, in fact, can lead and ultimately determine how we feel. A smile can be the catalyst to change how we feel ourselves and it can help to brighten the day for your customer.
David Lewis wrote in his wonderful book, Impulse, Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It, “When we see someone smile our mirror neurons for smiling also fire creating in our mind the emotions associated with the smile. There is no need for us to think about the other person’s intentions behind the smile – the experience is immediate and effortless.”
With so much at stake, can we afford not to smile?
Peter Smith, author of Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions To Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent, has spent 30 years building sales teams at retail, and working with countless numbers of independent retailers as a brand-executive, to offer his counsel and advice on personnel matters. A graduate of Boston College, he has served on the Advisory Board of Caliper’s Global Conference and is a contributing panelist on the KR Executive Group’s Talent Blog. Smith has worked for Tiffany & Co., and was executive vice president of brand development for Hearts On Fire, where he authored the Menu For Success, a roadmap for retail success. He is currently executive vice president of Schachter & Co., a division of Leo Schachter. Smith’s book is available in print or Kindle digital edition on Amazon.com.
Top image: Wikipedia