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Get in the mood for retail biz

Get in the mood for retail biz

LAS VEGAS - When a customer walks into your retail store, don't ask them what insurance they have, providers said during a panel discussion on retail at Medtrade Spring in March.

It kills the mood.

“They aren't in the store because they have Medicare,” said Korry Johnston, president of Copper Star Home Medical Supplies in Arizona. “They have a situation (they want you to help them with).”

Instead, start a dialogue by asking open-ended questions, says Rob Baumhover, director of VGM Retail.

“(You need to get at the) why, how, what,” he said. “'Tell me about your injury or diagnosis. How much are you looking to spend?' It gives a jumping off point. Ask them, 'What are your thoughts so far?'”

Be a product expert

It's important to not only train employees on the various products you sell, but to make sure they stay up-to-date on their knowledge.

“I'm constantly asking employees questions to be sure they are on top of it,” said Greg McGough, director of retail operations for Medical Xpress in Texas. “We track their sales. The more they know, the more money they'll make.”

It's equally important to make sure product knowledge is consistent across all employees, says Sue Chen, founder and CEO of Nova Medical Products. 

“There should be no single expert in lift chairs,” she said.

Also take advantage of your vendors to not only understand products, but also maintain the best mix.

“The vendor knows what's selling,” said Baumhover. “They have the data—find the right vendor partners.”

Flip that sale

Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, a product gets returned. Look at it as a second chance, says McGough.

“Use it as an opportunity to ask, 'What didn't you like about it?' Flip that return to a sale,” he said.


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