Six Keys to More Productive Face-to-Face Conversations


I grew up working as a counter clerk in my parents Pharmacy. Their store was in a small farming community in central Nebraska. The town and surrounding areas had a population of 900 people max. I learned early on that you had to be nice to customers because there weren’t that many of them and the adage “there are more where they came from” didn’t apply. You would see these customers again and you didn’t want to lose them.

Mom ran the “front end” of the store so she was in charge of teaching us customer service. She taught us the six keys to delivering face-to-face customer always began with a smile:

Smile - Smile like you mean it and make them feel comfortable. Begin to gain their trust. Customers are parting with hard-earned dollars so you want to reassure them that they’re getting value. A great smile can convey all of that.

Make Eye Contact - Making eye contact is essential to gaining the customer’s trust...not staring, but looking them straight in the eye; not over their head or on either side on their face or worst of all....looking down and avoiding eye contact all together.

Ask “how can I help you” and mean it. This is an open-ended question and required more than a “yes” or “no” answer. It opens up the conversation to reveal a need. The customer has a chance to tell you what they need or what their challenge is...i.e. “I need a birthday gift for my sister.” “I feel like i’m coming down with a cold, what medication do you recommend?”

Listen carefully to what they say. Give your customer time to tell you why they come to your business. This may seem like small talk; however, this is your opportunity to get to know your customer better. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you can learn.

Don’t push them to buy. Customers will buy when they’re ready. They don’t like to be pushed into a sale. They feel pressured and crowded. If they do buy, it won’t be a good buying experience and they’ll remember.

Thank them for their business. Tell them you appreciate their business and ask them to come back when they need your help. PLEASE don’t tell them to “have a nice day” Think of something more original to say!

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