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A different perspective on the sales counter

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A different perspective on the sales counter

Last month we identified the sales counter as a very important piece of real estate in your store — important because so many critical activities happen at the sales counter, and every customer who visits a store visits the sales counter.

The thing about clichés is they are true; the problem with clichés is that through common usage, they lose their value.

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

Studies show it is nearly impossible to reverse or undo a first impression, especially a negative impression. Once a first impression is made, all other future encounters/impressions are evaluated in light of the first impression. This makes the first impression extremely important in the tire and service business because we rely so heavily on repeat business.

An appropriate, organized, professional physical presentation at the counter is mandatory for a lasting positive impression. With this in mind, we are in the process of upgrading and reconfiguring a standard sales counter in a store in Los Angeles.

Real world example

The objective of the upgrade is threefold; the counter area must be functional, comfortable and communicate a clear message. The area must create an aura that is both pleasant and purposeful. The counter has to work on both sides; it has to be functional for the sales team and comfortable for the customer.

The counter top space is only part of what we are considering; the look and feel of the entire environment is under consideration. The impression it makes and the message it states are important to a positive lasting impression. Customers will form an opinion based on how they feel in the space. Plus, uncomfortable customers are a hard sell; the very space, itself, can aid the sales associate in the sales process.

In upcoming articles, we are going to improve the sales counter of a dealer here in Los Angeles with several options, some simple and creative ideas that will improve the first impression. Imagine the impact of making a better impression on every customer who approaches your sales counter. Imagine the time savings if your sales counter was more functional and intelligently designed.

First impressions matter, a lot! Keep tuned to this column to see how our volunteer dealer’s new counter space takes shape.   ■

Wayne Williams is president of ExSell Marketing Inc., a “counter intelligence” firm based in La Habra, Calif. He can be reached at

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Look at the following examples of retailers that have done it right.

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