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Dealing With Online “Price Matchers” and More of Your Questions for June

Like getting an employee to stop using terms of endearment and how to suss out whether someone you’ve “clicked” with will really make a good employee.

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I appreciate it’s 2022, but what’s the best way to respond to customers who ask, “Will you match this online price?” I still haven’t worked this out.

Business coach Bob Negen suggests a five-pronged approach.

Start with an appreciation that if a customer is in your store, they want to buy from you. But to get all the way home, you will likely need to have these other elements in place:

  • Be price competitive. Not the lowest price but what will be perceived as fair. “If you give the casual bargain hunter a fair price with an amazing experience, you’re going to win the sale almost every time,” Negen says, adding the easiest way to do this is to NOT carry brands easily price-shopped.
  • Great salespeople, who Negen calls “hands-down the best way” to eliminate online price pressure.
  • A loyalty program. If you have a strong loyalty program and someone talks about price, you can quickly explain how your prices are about the same, or even lower, if they join your program.
  • Offer a “Price-Match Guarantee”. “You’ll get very few takers, but you will have eliminated price objections,” Negen says.

Any of these strategies will help you make online price shopping less of a problem, Negen says. Use them all and you may find 2022 is the year you embark on a long relationship with price conscious customers.

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What’s the best way to address someone (a patient, job applicant, sales rep) with a name you don’t know how to pronounce? Admit you’re probably going to butcher it and plunge in, avoid saying it until you hear someone else say it, ask them how to pronounce it?

Good you’re asking. While it might seem like a relatively minor issue, a recent viral post on LinkedIn revealed how people with non-Western names often feel excluded and devalued when people mispronounce their name. The author of that piece, Damneet Kaur, says his preference is that you just ask for the correct pronunciation — before you attempt to say it. Note that it’s a good idea to try to do your homework beforehand. LinkedIn offers a feature that enables users to click on a person’s name and hear them pronouncing it. There are also sites like PronounceNames, which allow users to type in a name and access a database of recordings.

I’m not good at disciplining employees but I have one staff member who’s repeatedly coming late to work. What do I do?

Few people enjoy confrontation but you’re not doing anyone a favor when you allow an employee to flout business rules. A constantly tardy employee hurts both customer service and staff morale. Make a time to talk to the person in private. Isolate the faulty behavior and explain the problems it’s causing. Remember: Criticize the behavior, not the person.

I have an employee who will not stop calling customers of all age “honey,” “sweetie” and “babe.” How should I tackle this?

It sounds like you’re dealing with something that is little more than a nervous habit, says retail consultant Kate Peterson. For many people, using terms of endearment is very much the cultural norm — a behavior learned in early childhood that becomes the default behavior in stressful situations. Help her to overcome the issue with a few simple steps:

  • Start by clearly defining the essential standards of professionalism in your business. Include things like appearance (dress code), speech and presentation, training and the customer experience.
  • Gather your resources. What kind of training does she need to help her grow to where you need her to be?
  • Meet with her and explain clearly that this is not a matter of liking or not liking her speech — it’s a matter of everyone in the store delivering a consistently professional message to the customer.
  • Remember to coach daily. Work with her on your sales floor and look for the “coachable moments.” Praise (including praising progress!) and/or correct immediately.

Keep in mind that this person may simply not want to work within the boundaries you establish. Be prepared to part as friends if that’s the case, Peterson says.

I’m thinking of hiring as my new store manager a guy I met at a local networking event. He has retail but no vision experience. My gut tells me I’m right. What do you think?

We think hiring outside of the box can have payoffs, especially if the person can bring fresh perspectives. But you should still go through the formal interview process — the fact that you hit it off with someone doesn’t always produce positive results. Invite the candidate in for a sit-down session and ask how he’d respond to different scenarios (Maybe even pose to him some situations from our Real Deal column: invisionmag.com/realdeal) Second, introduce him to key employees or business advisers. It’s important to get their perspective and an inkling of how they would work together.

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Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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