Claire Ratushny

Phone: 802-999-8981

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Claire Ratushny



We see this all of the time. Brands, ever hungry for more customers, try to expand by being more inclusive; by trying to appeal to more people by extending themselves beyond their brand parameters. This is wrong; if you’re trying to do that please stop. That just isn’t the way to grow your business or...


For years, I was involved in the world of natural and organic products in the areas of category management, purchasing and marketing at the wholesale and retail levels of the business. I witnessed an industry in its adolescence, with tremendous growth and the usual accompanying growing pains.



Not long ago, Marketing Sherpa, a research institute specializing in tracking what works in all aspects of marketing, published the findings of its 2015 MarketingSherpa Consumer Purchase Preference Survey. Actually, two surveys were taken: one for marketers and one for consumers “to compare what...

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Is Your Brand Focused on Selling? Wrong!

You can bet that most companies and brands are totally focused on selling these days and that the hard sell tactics of the past are child’s play compared to what’s going on now.


Sure, it’s more competitive than ever out there and new business isn’t always easy to land in spite of all of our best marketing efforts. Especially if we’re hard sell and focused on closing the deal. Oh, yes, we’re also focused on delivering a great customer experience. I mean, “service” is your motto and you bend over backwards to give more than the expected. But guess what? So are your competitors for the most part—because they’re in the same boat that you’re in.


Yet, you’re still struggling. Now why is that? Because you’re focused on selling something rather than inspiring; that’s why. You can add all of the bells and whistles that you want to in order to ensure a positive customer experience, but you’re still focused on your need to sell. So stop putting your emphasis on selling something and start working on how you want your customers feel. That is, on their need to find emotional satisfaction first. And then your sales will fall into place.


I found myself in a local home furnishings store recently and the experience brought this home vividly. Instead of asking the usual trite questions as customers entered the store, clerks smiled and invited their customers to come in and see what’s new for the upcoming summer (outdoor) season. You know what? Every customer smiled back because the greetings that they were given were warm and sincere. Even with that a few said they were just looking. These customers were told to take their time and enjoy themselves. They were told that if they had questions or needed help, the clerks would be there for them. And then they were allowed to browse without any hovering.


So far, so good. It didn’t take long for most shoppers to make comments after a few minutes, however. And the comments were telling.


--“I love to come into this store; it’s beautiful and I always come away with ideas from the displays and from the staff.”

--“I am the caretaker for my mother and my half hour in here is an oasis for me. Everyone is kind and helpful and they allow me to browse. It lifts my spirits even though I don’t always purchase anything.”

--“This store is so inviting. I see how room settings are designed and get ideas. I would never imagine putting some of these things together, but it always looks so terrific. And everybody in here helps me to put things together in my own way, too.”

--“This store is filled with eye candy. It looks and smells so nice in here. There’s sparkle and shine, lovely home fragrances that don’t overpower and I just love to touch the fabrics on sofas and chairs. Love to touch the accessories. And nothing is off limits when it comes to that. The staff here will pull things from all over the store to help me to put my own look together. Love that.”


And in each instance, the last sentence popped out in the teller’s own words: “That’s why I always come here. And when I need something new for my home, this is where I buy it. Often, I come in only to browse, but I usually end up buying something.”


It’s clear to me that this retailer doesn’t focus on hard sell; it focuses on inspiration. Strong emotional connections are made with the customer. And it is done in an effortless seeming manner; not an artificial, forced one that doesn’t ring true. The employees are comfortable and they make their customers feel that way. They fulfill a deep emotional need for their customers that we all have as people. They make them feel truly welcome and pampered; they invite them to use their senses inside of the store and these experiences are deeply emotional ones. Bonding ones.


So why would the customers who experience this environment shop anywhere else? They wouldn’t.


Take-away: no matter what kind of business you’re in, forget the hard sell. Make humanity your focus: let your staff be human and treat your customers like human beings by catering to their emotional needs. Inspire the customer. They’ll be eager to buy everything that you’re selling.






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