Let’s give them something to talk about.

Let’s give them something to talk about.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.


Nordstrom’s is open in


, and merchants are shaking in their boots. Big mistake.

America’s best “known for service” retailer, Nordstrom’s started as a shoe store in Seattle and grew into a retail giant. They have become known for great service as well as their wide selection of shoes. But hey, lots of department stores sell shoes. What’s the difference if you have 25,000 pairs or 30,000 pairs? LOTS. The difference is the way the shoes are sold-and especially in the way the customer is served.

When you buy a pair of shoes, a sales associate takes your payment right where you’re sitting. The sales associate takes your credit card, so you don’t have to stand on line. Now you can look around-and buy more.

Here’s the Nordstrom’s difference: Who arrives home from shopping and says, “I had to wait on line to pay for my shoes at the department store”? No one-unless the line was long. Who arrives home from shopping and says, “I was finished buying a pair of shoes at Nordstrom’s and a nice, polite young man asked for my credit card, took my purchase up to the counter, and returned with a bag and a receipt. That’s the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE THAT’S EVER HAPPENED.” Everyone.

Nordstrom’s gives you something to talk about after you leave the store.

Nordstrom’s has discovered the biggest secret of memorable service: People talk after a transaction. And they will say one of three things: (1) something good, (2) nothing, or (3) something bad. So, you can control what people say about you by your words, actions, and deeds.

Nordstrom’s watchwords: NO PROBLEM. Alter it? No problem. Need it in an hour? No problem. Need something they don’t have? No problem. Need it shipped to


? No problem. Want to return it? No problem.

Nordstrom’s creates positive after-talk: Their (unstated) goal is to create something good to talk about at the end of every transaction. All customers talk. And the customers’ talk creates THEIR REPUTATION.

How Nordstrom’s earned Gitomer’s loyalty: My daughter Erika was going to be married in two weeks. A BIG wedding was planned. Naturally, I wanted to look good, and my friend Richard Brodie said, “You have no choice. Get a Jhane Barnes tuxedo.” I was in


, so I went to a Neiman Marcus figuring I’d try on a few Jhane Barnes tuxedos, select one, and leave. But-they had none. And none anywhere in



Panic time. In two days I was flying to



, and then five days after

that- the WEDDING. Then Teresa, my mate for life, said, “Call Nordstrom’s, they’ll get one for you.” So I did.

Pamela Staats, an extra pleasant woman answered the phone. I told her about the wedding and that I wanted a size 42-long Jhane Barnes tuxedo with a regular suit-type collar. “No problem. Let me see what I can do,” she said with a confidence that was contagious.

Two days later I’m in Nordstrom’s in



Washington Square

in Tigard). I meet Pam, the extra pleasant woman, and she escorts Teresa and me to a private room. There it was-on a hanger, right in front of me-a Jhane Barnes-size 42-long with a suit-type collar. I tried it on. It fit like a glove. Price? Didn’t matter. Remember, it’s for Erika’s wedding, baby.

Then I noticed other clothing. Turns out Pam Staats called Teresa and asked my sizes for everything-shirts, shoes, sweaters. Right in front of me was a mini-clothing store full of stuff in my size, and everything looked GREAT. I didn’t like the tuxedo shoes, so I didn’t buy them, but I bought EVERYTHING else. I had to. Now, there was no pressure, but we were in a private room being waited on hand and foot. Everything fit like a glove. And to top it off, food and drink were served by friendly people in a relaxed, festive atmosphere. I was in a mood to BUY.

Nordstrom’s had the pants hemmed in a day and FedEx’ed the tux to my home in


where I could pick it up in three days. Everything went as smooth as silk. Something to talk about.

But Nordstrom’s doesn’t stop there. I got a card of thanks and a call a week later asking how the wedding went, and I got another card last month asking when I’d be back in town again. You get the idea. Something to talk about.

So, what is the “Nordstrom difference” anyway? Why are they so well known for their service? Here’s a clue: The things that separate Nordstrom’s from the competition is so subtle that most people miss them-INCLUDING their competitors. But I’m going to share those things with you now. This is what separates Nordstrom’s from the rest:

1. They accommodate. And they do it in a friendly way.

2. They say yes to a customer request. You know they will honestly help you the best way they know how.

3. They understand that the experience is as important as the merchandise. They don’t do things differently; they do things better than their competition.

3.5 They have a history of doing everything the right way-a tradition of excellence that their people rise to meet.

Back to the point: Nordstrom’s has come to


, and other mall department stores are whining and panicking. Based on the above list you can see why. Below you can see what they (and you) should do.

And the winner is: You, if you want it badly enough. The opportunity to equal or beat Nordstrom’s service is real. Every department store retailer in


has had TWO YEARS to get ready. Two years to adjust, change, reinvent, train, and prepare for the arrival of a new rival. Most did nothing. They said, “We’ll wait and see what happens.” Nordstrom’s was praying for that. It gave them an opportunity to put one of their best-known competitive services into practice: Clock cleaning.

Free GitBit — Want the BEAT NORDSTROM’S training blueprint? I have developed a 10.5 step formula that will neutralize the giant and put you on a level customer service playing field. It’s a get-real game plan that will work if you take action. Want it? Go to www.gitomer.com; register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word NORDSTROM in the gitbit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, is President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached by phone: 704/333-1112 or e-mail: salesman@gitomer.com

c2004 – All rights reserved Don’t even think about reproducing this document or it’s contents without

the written approval of Jeffrey Gitomer or Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112 salesman@gitomer.com