Whether you agree with them or not, I have found a lot of value in personality tests such as Myers-Briggs. They have helped me understand my own choices in life and also helped me understand why we don’t all see eye-to-eye on everything. It also helps that I had an expert on these types of tests explain to me exactly what they show and their shortcomings.
One thing he taught me was a new definition and understanding of the terms. For instance, I always believed Extrovert meant outgoing and Introvert meant shy. They don’t.
Extrovert and Introvert are just two different ways we energize ourselves and recharge our battery. They have nothing to do with shyness. Extroverts (like me) get our energy from interacting with others. We seek out crowds, groups, hanging with friends, because it picks us up. Introverts, on the other hand, get their energy from being alone. They can be every bit as engaging and fun-loving and outgoing as anyone else, but that exhausts their energy. They need alone-time to recharge their batteries.
Introverts aren’t shy, they are just cautious with whom they will expend their energy.
Before I learned this I would have been surprised to find out that, like the population as a whole, half of my staff identified as Introverts. This helped me understand why certain people liked solitary jobs more than others.
I also learned why signs are such an important element of your merchandising displays.
SIGNS INCREASE SALES
Rick Segel told a group of baby store owners once that signs increase sales by 43%. He never told us where that statistic came from or why, but he encouraged us to put up more signs on our displays.
Now, with my new understanding of Introverts, I started to see why. Introverts would rather read a sign or read the side of the box to get basic info than spend their energy interacting with a salesperson. It isn’t that they won’t interact, but they want to know as much as possible before asking their questions. They want to formulate the right question so that they don’t have to ask too many questions.
There is another group of shoppers who also prefer signs over salespeople. I belong to that group. Men.
Men communicate differently than women. Men speak vertically. Did what I say make you think higher of me or lower of me? That’s the reason why we won’t stop to ask for directions. We don’t want to admit we don’t know. That is also why we don’t actively seek out a salesperson unless we know exactly the item we want.
If we’re looking for the Makita XT269M 18V Cordless Drill, that’s one thing. But if we’re just going in to look at cordless drills, not knowing exactly which one we want, we’re not looking for a salesperson because we don’t want to be asked a question we don’t know or show off our total lack of knowledge on the subject.
Men want signs to educate us before we have to interact with someone so that we don’t look foolish or stupid.
I’m an Extroverted Man who is not afraid to admit when I don’t know something. Yet, I get this mentality fully. I can see how signs can make a difference.
With most of the men and most of the Introverts preferring signs before salespeople, now Rick’s 43% starts to make sense. Armed with that knowledge the most important elements of a good sign are:
- Answers to the most frequently asked questions about this item
- Benefits of owning this item
Want to create a sign that sells? Ask you staff what are the two most common questions asked about the product and what are the two most beneficial reasons for owning the product. Put those answers on your sign and you’ll see your sales rise with the sign.
PS Before you rip me about how biased, inaccurate, wrong, or even dangerous these personality tests are, understand that I am not using them to label people but to give you some insight into differing human behavior. Introvert and Extrovert are tendencies and preferences. In reality the majority of us are often a little of both with a tendency to lean one way or the other. Likewise, not all men are afraid to ask directions. These generalizations about our tendencies and preferences, however, give you an understanding how to adjust your business in a way that best suits your customers.
PPS My free eBook Merchandising Made Easy (pdf download) is on the Free Resources Page under the heading “Improve Your Money” because it is part of Inventory Management, but it fits equally well with Customer Service and your customer’s shopping experience. Think of Merchandising as a tool you have that sets you apart from your competitors. It is one of your competitive advantages over the Internet.