When I was hired to work at the Banana Republic in Soho, NYC in the early 90s, I had already worked in retail sales for years at a woman’s designer boutique. But I was offered very good money and my v. good friend was the manager so I was game. However company rules stated I was required to attend a Sales Training one Saturday which I arrived to find consisted of me and a motley crew of very young 20-somethings.
One exercise was the instructor showed us a video of a man going into a BR to buy some slacks. He spoke to the salesperson/actor and the reel was stopped while the leader turned to us.
“So,” she asked “what do you think the story is about the customer? You should learn how to read what they need.”
She looked around and was met with stony silence.
“Well he’s obviously an architect.” I remarked. “He’s probably on lunch and has a big meeting he’s going to fly to tomorrow. Chicago. His family spends summers at their house in Sag Harbor. For their last anniversary he took his wife to dinner at Chanterelle. His socks are a bright color.”
When I finished, I looked around at the other trainees staring at me jaws agape. I was a little surprised. I mean, look at him. Duh.