Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How to Keep Me Coming Back for More

Despite being able to shop online, at my convenience, in my underwear at 3AM, if I choose... I'm still an "in person" product browser.  I'm in the minority of people that enjoy walking through Blockbuster Video because truth be told, I don't really know what I'm looking for and even if I do, I can be swayed into getting something else.  So when it comes to shopping for items for my home, I'm happy to piddle around a store and just look.  Besides nothing replaces a truly helpful hint or piece of advice from a smiling human being.  Lord knows I love a great salesperson too!
Last Friday, I stopped by Nell Hills in Briarcliff Village, Kansas City, MO.  I had been reluctant to swing on by, because I had heard this location carried primarily big furniture.   However, as I walked in, I was thrilled to see it's much like the original Nell Hill's in Atchison, KS... but with more room! All decked out with Spring decor, there were lots of tchotchkes reasonably priced, yes there was large unique furniture, but it's the store's incredible merchandising I find inspirational.  Right away, I was so glad I came in.
I was greeted by none other than the owner, Mary Carol Garrity and her COM, "Chief of Merchandising", Becky Taylor.  We chatted a bit about the new location and I told her this was the first time I had come to this location and she seemed genuinely happy for me.  I was a little surprised that in light of her busy schedule, the growing amount of other customers coming through the door and my lack of the "I've got a discretionary income" appearance I was sporting, she still gave me plenty of undivided attention.  

I actually thought in that moment... this will never get old.  This will never go away.  One on one, when done right, is the main attraction in selling.   She wasn't outright selling anything, but rather she was getting to know me.  Even with  social media... keep it personal, keep it genuine and be engaged in the conversation.  Much like Mary Carol does, in person.
Here are some shots I took with my phone ...  I sent this first one to my friend Susann who is looking for pink flowers for her daughters rooms.  I loved these big pink peonies!  I thought I sent them to her, but turns out I sent them to my husband, Matt, who I had just dropped off at KCI airport.
  My husband quickly shot back a text asking "Where are you?"      *gulp*
I text'd back "Nell Hills.  Not the one in Atch.  It's great!  Look, we could have a room like this one..."
"very masculine.  And check out the shoe-shine chair..."
Matt texted back "No mas!"      LOL!  "But honey, look at these shelves!"
"or a booze on wheels beverage cart!"   (insert cricket chirps from my husband)
The nicest thing about the new space is, you can really check out the paint colors Nell Hills offers!  The large windows and open spaces really showcase their true colors. My daughter would adore this green apple color on the wall.
I hope to head back to Nell Hills in Briarcliff this week some time... with my 8 year old daughter in tow.  She'll choose the green apple, which I will probably have to barter with Matt a bit, to get him to paint her walls.
I was approached by 4 different sales associates/designers the entire hour I was there.  Each in their own professional and very approachable way, subliminally sold me.  They did not sell anything but rather struck up a conversation with me to discover what I like and why I liked it.  Mary Carol has cloned herself.  She's made more of her and they do exactly what she does... build relationships!   
I did not buy anything this trip, but they all know, I'll be back... 
with friends.  
Brilliant.

5 comments:

Shawna Shaw said...

Great pictures Alexis! Makes me want to zip up there tomorrow!
~Shawna

cardinal arts said...

nice post, Alexis - you are a really good writer......and nice photos! have passed this along to several people

Amy said...

LOVE seeing the photo Lex!! thanks for sharing
AmyB.

Chris said...

Love this post, Lex and especially the pictures. I've only been there once and it was during their opening, so thanks for the reminder. I love your views on nurturing that 1:1 authentic relationship. It's not about the sale - it's about knowing the customer first!

Alexis Ceule said...

Amy B... if that's you Barickman... you are JUST LIKE MARY CAROL! I love watching you in action, networking at antique shows. You give everyone you talk to the most wonderful one on one attention AND it's not fast paced. You take your time. All the while, I see the other vendors just chomping at the bit to get to have their turn chatting it up with you. I LOVE IT!