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How Retail business Wins against Online Shopping

By Charlotte Larsen and HUMI


Unaffected by online shopping, construction chaos and lack of parking spaces in the city center, Antik Blå is doing well in Vintapperstrædet in the heart of Odense. According to owner Charlotte Larsen, it's about mind-set and about shifting focus to where something can be done - and making it fun. Below, Charlotte talks about how the meeting with Emotional Intelligence and NLP has strengthened her business with returning customers, happy employees and a healthy bottom line.

Is Emotional Intelligence really a necessary action in the retail business of today? Can't you just take any course in sales technique or customer service? Charlotte Larsen answers: “

- I can best explain Emotional Intelligence and NLP by comparing it to a technology. It's an "inner technology”. An "inner technology" which is a tool and which, with the help of empathy, enables me to navigate with wisdom among the world's most complicated "machines", namely the customers "Charlotte explains.

- “Emotional Intelligence and NLP strengthen my customer relationships and help give me a profit on the bottom line. As a side benefit… if it is not really the main effect," Charlotte says with a smile "then the mastery of the" inner technology "gives joy, fantastic calmness and a good night's sleep".

On the Verge of Closing the Shop 

Charlotte, as a shop owner, has not always had the pleasure of a good night’s sleep. After three violent burglaries in her shop, one month apart in 2008, Charlotte was on the verge of closing the shop for good. She felt trapped in a system where those who were actually supposed to help did not help. The police would not take the case and the insurance would not cover. The episode triggered a stress reaction, and Charlotte had a hard time figuring out how to turn the situation around.

"No one knew what to say or do," says Charlotte. At that time, my friend took me to an introductory course at HUMI, and here was something that caught my interest.

I subsequently entered a coaching course, and already after the first session, my stress was reduced."

After her coaching course with Per Poulsen from HUMI, Charlotte got a Business Practitioner education and then a Master Practitioner education in Emotional Intelligence and NLP at HUMI.

Focus on What You Can Do About It 

– ”Jeg har lært at skifte fokus. Og tænke på en anden måde. Det nytter ikke noget at have fokus på ydre omstændigheder, som jeg ikke kan gøre noget ved.

- At der er ved at blive bygget en letbane i Odense, det er et vilkår, som jeg ikke kan påvirke. Det, jeg kan påvirke, det er min relation til mine kunder og mine ansatte. Så jeg har med Emotionel Intelligens og NLP lært at flytte fokus derhen, hvor jeg kan gøre noget, der hvor jeg kan tage handling”, fortæller Charlotte.

“It is important to me that my employees can get to work and be safe. That they can be themselves. They need to know that in reality they can do nothing wrong. When we each learn to listen to each other and give each other space, wild things happen. When we are mentally present, things happen of their own accord, and it lifts people," says Charlotte.

Being present and listening is, according to Charlotte, crucial in the situation of a sale, where B2C is slowly dying out in favour of a new concept in retail, H2H or human2human.

No Troublesome Customers - Just People 

- “Business does not have emotions, but people do. H2H requires a completely new and different human insight into people's emotions ", says Charlotte and continues:

- “The other day an elderly gentleman came into the shop who wanted to buy a piece of jewelery for his wife. He was a little tough and threatened us with lawyers and everything if we sold him a fake piece of jewellery, says Charlotte… In fact, he was afraid of being deceived. And when I saw that the customer was scared, I could make him feel safe and meet him in that. And then he became calmer. He became comfortable in the situation and left the store happy. I'm sure he's coming again. There are no difficult customers… only nice people.” Says Charlotte with conviction in her voice.

Good Customer Service is No Longer Enough 

- “My answer to the introductory question will therefore be: no, general sales technology and customer service are no longer enough. We need to go even deeper. I think that NLP and Emotional Intelligence contribute to how we can dig a bit deeper, when we have to meet and understand people's wishes and needs when they come to the store." Charlotte explains and continues:

- “Right now, in the online age, it is more important than ever to fully focus on strengthening retail business' relationships with their customers. It is H2H that makes the difference: the better we understand meeting our customers, the greater the difference between what we can offer versus what online shopping can offer. In my mind, everyone in the retail business should be trained in Emotional Intelligence. I experience that through Emotional Intelligence and NLP, I have gained an insight into and an understanding of people, that creates peace and joy for me and my employees, a stronger relationship with my customers and not least a healthy bottom line." Charlotte concludes.

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