“Can I help you?” Hmmm . . . It sounds like a sincere question.
After all, I just asked a question that implies I am interested in
helping my customer. What’s wrong with that?
Aside from the fact that “Can I help you?” is such a cliché, and
the most common canned response is, “No thanks, I’m just looking,”
it just sounds phony. In fact, customers expect to hear it, but dread
the question as soon as they walk onto the sales floor. They don’t
want to commit to anything or anyone at first.
This phrase goes against everything I believe as far as being helpful
when you are greeting your customer. You’re familiar with the term
breaking the ice? Well, trust me when I tell you the ice is cold and
thick at times at the beginning stages between the salesperson and the
customer. The thing is, to really help someone, they have to want help.
People are funny. When we ask a potential buyer if we can help them,
they often feel like we are seeing them as a lottery ticket. Scratch
them a little and see how much commission we won. On
the other hand, if we ignore them and wait for their call for help, we
are seen as unprofessional, careless morons that are annoyed by their
presence. What is a helpful salesperson to do?
This book will help salespeople, as well as others in customer service
fields, make sense of this dilemma. I’ll share my ideas of the most
effective methods in winning over all sorts of people that are
interested in your products and services. Though my target audience is
primarily commission salespeople, it will also benefit any individuals
in the people business. Retail associates, clerks, waiters and
waitresses, attendants, customer support staff, and others in
occupations that have direct contact with people should find this to be
I know there are a gazillion books out there on the subject of selling
and great salesmanship. I have read a few of them myself, and I always
pick up a few tidbits of information that is helpful. Most of these
books about being better salespeople are written by individuals that
have had “out of this world” success stories. Sales heroes, if you
will. To the average person like me, they’re almost like an iconic
figure or some sort of “sales god.” Many of these authors boast
about their incredible incomes and wealth. This is all well and good,
and I certainly do congratulate them.
I’m not writing that kind of book, however. So many people that are
looking for a job find themselves working in some kind of retail
environment. Some start out part-time while they are in school, and
others go right into it full-time. Then there are the ones like me that
make a career out of it. What I try to do here is to communicate with
people in this field and to share my knowledge and experience. This is
for the people that go to work every day, help customers, and only want
to be good at what they do so they’ll receive a fair wage. I also want
them to feel good about themselves as a professional in the business of
helping people decide on goods and services. If they go on to be an
iconic sales god, great, as long as they do it honestly and it works for
them. My objective, however, is to show how you can have scruples, make
a decent living, and be a trusted individual, all at the same time.
I am a small-town guy with a high school education. I’ve been
comfortably successful at taking care of customers for many years. I’m
not saying you can be complacent and still succeed. In fact, the
opposite is true. This whole book is about not being complacent. The
most important thing when you are in the “customer” business is to
put in a good effort, be honest, and be helpful. This will build your
reputation, and you will be amazed at what it will do to bring you
success as a customer care representative.
Whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned veteran, I have
written this to help keep the flame from going out between you and your
customers. Having a job that deals with the publiccan be difficult if it
is not rewarding in some way. Hopefully, after reading about how
rewarding my career has been, you will have fun at your job, make some
money, and build a good reputation in your field.
Excerpted from "Can I Help You?" by Rick Currier. Copyright © 2016 by Rick Currier. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.