Albury Wodonga News Weekly - 12 May 2012
Retailers Told To Lift Their Game
ALBURY retailers have been judged – and some have been found lacking.
Mike Boyle, known as one of the country’s leading “sales scientists”, said Albury retailers overall showed a lack of pizazz and the situation was little better in Wodonga.
Mr Boyle, who will conduct a workshop this morning as part of the Business, Manufacturing and Innovation Festival, said he had noticed a negative trend in recent times, possibly because of the economic situation.
“I have visited the area for the past 30 years, but I have been watching Albury, in particular, business-wise for the past six to eight months,” he said.
“Clearly we live in challenging times, but I have noticed a lack of enthusiasm about getting customers in and dealing with them, especially in Dean Street.
“It’s not across the board – one business engaged me beautifully – but I went into four major retailers the other day and it was like I was an obstruction to their day.”
Mr Boyle said there was a difference between hounding customers and helping them in a positive way, something he emphasised in his customer-service workshops.
“If you just ask someone ‘Can I help you?’ most of the time you will get a no, because we are hard-wired not to be disputed from what we are doing,” he said.
“But if you say something like, ‘Hello, I’m Jacky. Have you been here before?’ and if they say no, then offer to tell them about the store layout and follow up by asking if there is anything in particular they are looking for, most of the time you will engage them with good results.
“One simple change in phrasing and questioning can change total outcomes in the way customers behave.”
Mr Boyle said Dean Street and Albury’s CBD was made up of too many businesses pulling in different directions and they needed to adopt a “shopping centre” approach.
“There is a reason people go to big shopping centres. It’s because there’s entertainment, they are full of energy and cheerful places to go,” he said.
“Albury has exactly the same components, but they are working against one another rather than helping.
“What is needed is strategic direction.”
Mr Boyle said he would be elaborating on his comments this morning at his workshop on business innovation at the Commercial Club from 9am-12.
Contact Louise Keenan at the Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce for more information.
The Business, Manufacturing and Innovation Festival started on Monday and ends today.
By CAROLINE STRAINIG