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Get Social In Your Studio

Small talk in retail?

Think of it as BIG talk.

Chatting with your customers is commonplace. (Of course there are those customers who chat a little too much!) It's important to recognize and understand the super power each customer holds: the ability to bring you more business.

Every single customer has a unique friend base - and often, that friend base is YOUR customer base. How do you connect and work with each customer, inviting them to invite their people into your business?

Each week compile a list and post it in your backroom with three topics to chat about with customers (select ideas that the customer can do with a friend or a group of friends). Chatting up customers isn't limited to just those sitting and creating; hit on a topic while customers are browsing, picking up an order and even calling you (and you calling them!).

The topics may include an upcoming class, a new product, a promotion, a new technique. Be strategic when narrowing down what's most important to talk up that week: a large order is on its way and you need to move inventory quickly? Your party bookings are down? You have 12 seats left for ladies night and want it booked up?

Then, pick one of the ideas and discuss it with the customer. Help plan their next outing at your studio with a friend.

Open the dialog with:

"Let me show you a picture of the amazing art-themed birthday cake from Saturday's party. The kids had such a great time!" (Did you know that _____ Bakery down the street makes custom art-themed cakes?)

"Did I tell you about the team building we hosted last week?" (The transition from cautious accountants into confident and creative accountants was so much fun to be a part of!)

"Look at the new technique/class/event we're unveiling later this week!" (I think everyone creating their own _____ would make such a fun girls night out!)

Follow up with something related to that customer: I think a team building like that is perfect for your office! Have you thought about painting mugs together? Create, enjoy some snacks - laughter guaranteed! - and it'll be an event your colleagues will always remember.

The beauty of chatting is just that - to the customer it's chatting. To you, it's a sales call.(And far from an uncomfortable or awkward one!)

Not only does this conversation develop more ideas for your customer, she will often share these ideas with a friend or two.

Girls talk! We share, we discuss, we make plans. We talk about stuff we LOVE. We talk about stuff we don't love.

Plant those seeds (ideas) while she's engaged and enjoying her time and she will SHARE.

Paying for social media exposure often feels like throwing money in big hole, not really understanding what it's spent on, who sees it and how many new customers it actually brings into your store (AND are they spending money?).

Social media advertising simply cannot compete with a referral from a friend, colleague or neighbor. It can't compete with catching up with a friend over coffee. It can't compete with a ladies night. It can't compete with connecting IN PERSON.

Your customers can and WILL help you grow your customer base. You and your staff just need to be social.

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