Just like Kevin Spacey, who worked in the San Fernando valley a few miles away, I put myself through college in the seventies as a men’s shoe salesman. Mine was run by a manager whose simple motto was, “Sell shoes.”
There were five of us on the floor at any time which was a lot for a 700 sq ft shop. We were all commissioned working against an hourly wage (also referred to as our “draw.”) Because of this, we had an ups system, much like in baseball. It worked like this…
Once you engaged a customer, you went to the bottom of the order. As enough customers came through, you progressed up the order. When it was your “up” that meant you got to wait on the next customer. Whether you sold them or not, that was your chance to make a sale.
Blow that, and you were back at the bottom. Don’t satisfy them and you got returns which cut into your paycheck.
Because of that, you had to build trust with a customer quickly and, knowing how much guys hate to shop, make it easy for them to get their annual shoe purchases out of the way. Which meant always looking for the higher ticket via helping the customer get what they wanted.
Loser clerks in most shoe stores would just ask a guy’s size when he picked up a shoe. Our team always replied to the customer, “Let’s check that, because one foot might be larger than the other.”
We did truly want to find the exact size:
#1 Because it saved us time, half the time the guy was off by a size he told us.
#2 Because if you didn’t and the guy had very narrow or wide feet, or if his instep was too high or low, it would automatically limit the choices the salesman had to work with.
Having understood why we measured everyone, the salesperson was trained to match up the customer’s foot before going to the stockroom.
That way, if the customer had limited options, the trainee could collect all of his choices at once, saving the customer time and maximising the sales opportunities.
To read the five factors that made retail sales training successful, visit retaildoc.com