Posted in People, Personal Development, Selling & Persuasion, Shopper Marketing, Strategy

Mental Models & The Way We Make Sense of Things

The problem is the way we ‘see things’.

The solution is the way we ‘see things’.

Except we don’t understand how we see things.

Posted in Selling & Persuasion

Old vs New way of selling – the complete list

What is the difference between the OLD and the NEW approach to selling. Or maybe the distinction is between the COMMON and the RARE approach to selling? Of course this ‘new’ approach is the one we advocate and train. (Learn more here.)

  • The OLD way (arguably the wrong, but still most common way) is to train and encourage your staff to SELL.
  • The NEW way (and, IMHO, the correct way) is to train your staff to help the customer to buy.

Moonyeen came up with a list of 23 distinctions between the old and the new – each of which will take careful consideration in order to be applied operationally. The list below is NOT just wordplay and semantics. It takes a complete mind shift to adopt this approach – and I will prove it to you…

I published a summary earlier, but rather than send you back to that, here is the complete list – let us know what you think?

(and thanks Dave P for reminding us…)




Sales person the focus

Customer the focal point


Ego, achievement, social, joy, fun





Present the choice

Make the choice

Price & Discounts


Talk to

Talk with

Product knowledge

Customer Foresight










Emotional benefit



Commitment to business

Commitment to customers









Data base

Social communication





Reasons provided





Tell and listen

Get your customer to trust you

Trust your customer

Say to your customer “can I help you”

Ask your customer to help you

Solve problem

Pre-empt solution

Maintenance of relationship

Growth of relationship

Outcome focussed

Process focussed (system thinking)

Manage expectations

Meet expectations


Authentic conversation

Posted in Customer Service, Selling & Persuasion

Selling ain’t what it used to be

We are doing some background research on the notion of three-dimensional retailing – as opposed to eTailing – which is two dimensional.

As part of that process we are thinking about the difference between the OLD and the NEW approach to selling. Or maybe the distinction is between the COMMON and the RARE approach to selling? Of course this ‘new’ approach is the one we advocate and train. (Learn more here.)

  • The OLD way (arguably the wrong, but still most common way) is to train and encourage your staff to SELL.
  • The NEW way (and, IMHO, the correct way) is to train your staff to help the customer to buy.

Moonyeen came up with a list of 23 distinctions between the old and the new – each of which will take careful consideration in order to be applied operationally. The list below is NOT just wordplay and semantics. It takes a complete mind shift to adopt this approach – and I will prove it to you…





Authentic conversation















Talk to

Talk with


How do you think you will go at creating this switch? Or are you there already?

It is easy to skim over the list.

And it is easy to convince yourself that you already do it the ‘right’ way.

But, just for fun, watch/listen to this video of an angry customer complaining to a cinema for kicking her out of the theatre for texting during the movie.

What would you have done in your business?


IF want to know more about 3-D retailing, subscribe to our newsletter = the box on the right of the page. In the next few weeks we will issue a special bumper-edition with videos, links, resources and plenty of ideas. For free. And of course it will contain the full list of differences between the OLD and the NEW ways of selling.



Posted in Selling & Persuasion

Persuade like a baby

I am “lifting” this article in its entirety. It was written by Kevin Dutton – but I can’t tell you any more than that. Happy to rectify if advised. (Thanks & sorry Kevin.)

Q. Why do you say that babies are the best persuaders in the world?

A: Think about it. On our very first day on the planet, the influence task that faced us was immense. We had to persuade those around us, without language, without consciousness, without anything like the oratorical prowess that we possess as adults, to take care of us—to subjugate their own interests at the expense of ours. And we did it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here talking about it!

How? Well, certainly not through any provision of our own. If we’d had anything to do with it, we’d almost certainly have blown it! Instead, natural selection took care of things for us by equipping us with three features, fitted as standard, fiendishly calibrated to cut straight through our ozone layer of deliberation, to go pounding up the slippery steps of consciousness, and to hammer unrelentingly on the secret emotional chambers of our heart, which are:

1. A virtually unignorable soundtrack that figures at the top of nearly everyone’s list of aversive acoustic stimuli;

2. appallingly cute good looks, that prove pretty much irresistible to anyone caught in the spotlight;

3. and a hard-wired propensity to make eye-contact, to attend to the eye-regions of faces.

And boy, do these features work. In one study, a bunch of wallets were left on the streets of Edinburgh, each containing one of four photographs. A happy family. A cute puppy. An elderly couple. And a smiling baby. Which ones, the researchers wondered, would find their way back to their “owners” most often?

There was no doubting the answer.

Of the 40 wallets of each type that were dropped, 28% of those containing the portrait of the elderly couple made it back successfully; 48%, the family snapshot; 53%, the photo of the cute puppy.

And a whopping 88%, the picture of the smiling baby!

Posted in Selling & Persuasion

Sample, sample on the wall

It is not often that I indulge in ‘marketing’ on the blog. But I finally figured out how to display SCORM modules in html pages. (If this means nothing to you, don’t worry, I don’t know much more.)

The sample that I did upload had to meet certain criteria in terms of file-size and the number files in the scorm package, so I ended up with one of the less ‘interactive’ modules. But I am happy to put it out there because it is a ‘fundamental’ part of the training that we do when it comes to retail selling.

This means you will get something out of it – rather than some random module that looks good but does not make sense out of context.

It works like a charm and I have the testimonials to prove it.

CLICK HERE to read more and access the link to the training example.

Posted in Retail Operations, Selling & Persuasion

How to sell s#*t

An amazing story was brought to my attention (via Dave Trott) recently. I will paraphrase it for you:

In 1960, the Italian artist Piero Manzoni made an art work called “Merda d’Artiste” (The Artist’s Shit).

The artwork comprised several sealed cans containing 30 grams of the artist’s faeces. The idea was that the price of the artwork would always be directly linked to the price of gold and would rise as the price of gold rose.

Manzoni was poking fun at the art establishment by making a statement: “Look, the experts can’t tell shit from art.”

At the time Manzoni created that artwork, the price of gold was $1.12 a gram, translating to $33.60 for each can of his faeces. Only a lunatic or a moron would pay thirty dollars for a can of shit and Manzoni thought they were mad because they’d never be able to sell it.

But, the cost of Manzoni’s excrement rose faster than the price of gold.

In 2007 the price of gold was $28.94 per gram valuing, so thirty grams of gold was worth $870.

In that same year, a thirty gram can of Manzoni’s faeces sold in America for $80,000  – about hundred times the value of gold.

Now obviously the person who bought that can wasn’t actually paying eighty grand for a small tin of faeces.

So what were they buying?

What was worth a hundred times the cost of gold?

Were they buying proof of their status or showing they could throw away eighty grand on a joke? Were they buying proof of how cultured they were or did they show they possessed a daring, controversial artwork?

Whatever they were buying it wasn’t the physical object.

It was something the physical object represented to buyer; even something that was exactly the opposite of what the artist intended.

He made the artwork to prove how stupid they were. Then they paid a fortune for it to prove how cultured and intelligent they were.

They didn’t even try to understand anyone else’s reality. They just changed it to fit their reality instead.

Dave says it is something experts do. I reckon it is just what people do.


In some of my training sessions I want to demonstrate this reality and I show people these images.


What does the first image say? Can you make out the sentence?


Most people get that, and they complete the sentence




What the picture ACTUALLY says is this:


The point is this:


People really DO make their own meaning. In this example we take HALF the facts presented to us and we simply complete the picture in a way that is familiar to us.



Lotto understands this, so they sell the dream.


But when you sell dresses, hardware, stationery or washing machines- do you really understand what you are selling?


And more importantly, do you understand that customers are not buying what you may think you are selling?


It goes towards the idea of a core product. If you want to understand it in more detail, here is a post about it.


Just saying it like it is…





Posted in Customer Service, Mystery Shopping, Selling & Persuasion, Strategy

Sex, Success and Isopropyl Alcohol

If you had to pick a retail category that would deliver the highest level of service (consistently), what would you pick?

We have recently completed a massive project where we completed about 1600 mystery shops for a client. Retailers competed for an award in several categories in several regions and Moonyeen firmly believes that the category that consistently delivers the best service would be Hair & Beauty.

Having thought about that, we made the following key observations about the Beauty industry:

One: They work personally and physically with the customer on a very intimate level. They physically touch the customer and take great care in your physical and psychological comfort.

Two: Almost all of the staff chose ‘beauty’ as a profession (trade) so they are comfortable in this environment and really believe in the value they provide. They are also often their own best advertisement.

Three: They have to understand exactly what the customer wants before they start plying their trade

Four: Because they physically alter the customer’s appearance and it cannot really be easily undone, the consequences of a mistake are serious and very visible.

Five: And (in case you were wondering) Isopropyl Alcohol is a pretty toxic (pun intended) ingredient of many beauty products. This industry thrives on selling toxic substances to customers. The reality is they sell poison, but the perception is quite different – and beauticians really get that.

Six: Not only that, they also thrive on selling a promise – rather than something ‘real’. They truly ‘get’ it that people do not go to the restaurant for the steak, but for the sizzle. You don’t go to the beauty salon to become beautiful, because lets face it (pun intended) you need a scalpel for that.  (To understand this notion of core product, read this post on the topic.)

The truth is, they sell something that is unlikely to eventuate (ugly à pretty) and they promise to achieve that by applying poisonous substances to your skin and hair. In short, it is a tough sell. (I would rather sell shoes…)

  • The question is whether your employees in your business have the same beliefs, attitudes?
  • Do you apply the same principles and processes to your customer treatments?

Read that list again – and consider whether you could appropriate a few ideas to change something in your business?

Because the honest and inconvenient truth is that in our recent experience great service was very much the exception. And on a diverse sample like this, over several months, the validity of this conclusion cannot be questioned.

It seems great service remains the last differentiator for retailers to conquer.


Posted in Marketing, Research, Selling & Persuasion, Shopper Marketing

Neuromarketing for Retailers – Part 4

Pradeep’s book (The Buying Brain, 2010) is a must read. This post is the final extract on some of his findings – and it focuses on the applications of neuroscience in the retail aisle.


  • The median supermarket (US) is 46,755 feet.
  • The average number of items in a supermarket is 46,852.

Think about that – and what it means
I will limit commentary, and just repeat some observations. (A typical male brain approach 😉 )

  • Avoid sharp corners on gondola ends (end caps) as there is a danger signal that the brain recognises sub-consciously. (Who thought OH&S could actually increase sales?)
  • Evaluate EVERY touch point in your store for: findability, ease, simplicity, discovery, pleasure
  • Your retail environment should closely resemble the environment in which the product will be consumed. (Remember the Hi Fi lounge?)
  • Consumers that experience entertainment get emotional relief and minimises the pain of purchase. (Shoppertainment whatever happened to you?)
  • Make things as simple as possible; and colour is key element in achieving this. (Ever got lost in a car park that only had letters?)
  • Avoid information overload; the mind shuts down. We are neurologically primed to seek out differences and too much repetition of closely related/ similar merchandise sends the brain on a holiday.
  • Focus on faces. (Can you change your shelf-talkers to include someone’s friendly mug?)


As you read through this, you will likely think that you have seen examples of all of these somewhere. Some retailers have lucked into those solutions and others arrived by experimentation.

Others will have to ask someone who knows.

Posted in Marketing, Research, Selling & Persuasion, Shopper Marketing

Neuromarketing for Retailers – Part 3

Last week we had a short overview of the Boomer and Neuromarketing. This week we look at female brain and what it means to marketers.

We mentioned earlier that the human brain has not changed much in the last 100, 000 years. Coupled to the fact that the worst outcome for the ancient human female was ostracism from the group (it jeopardises survival) – and this still applies today; the context is just different.


  • Men tend to use either the rational or the emotional filter – whereas women tend to use both. (Women truly can multi-taks better than men.)
  • Although women have slightly smaller brains, it contains the same amount of matter – and it contains 11% more neurons in the language centres of the brain.
  • Women also remember stressful and negative experiences more than men (no jokes in the comments section 😉  – and this holds grave danger for their propensity to generate negative word-of-mouth.
  • In short, women are more verbal, empathetic, nuanced and loyal. What does this mean for your brand.


Here is a small case study presented by Pradeep in his book (The Buying Brain, 2010) for the re-design of a website that sold baby care products and other applications.

–    Position visuals on the left and semantics on the right
–    Feature moms using the product
–    Create forum where they can gather and share tips
–    Show mom-and-baby interactions

Next week – the final installment.