Ever go into a store and have someone who worked there ask: “Can I help you?”
Of course you have.
And 9 times out of 10 you replied with a “No thanks, I’m just looking.”
The words “Can I help you” simply BEG that response.
It’s programmed into our psyche.
We heard our parents say it, and they heard their parents say it.
My bet is it all started with a caveman who was checking out the fancy new “round thing” at the first Wheel Dealership said it when the used-wheel salescaveman approached him when he walked into the showroom.
25 better things to ask someone than “Can I help you?”
Note: Anywhere where I’ve written “this” or “which one” my intent is to indicate a product the customer is touching or looking at.
1. What can I help you find?
2. What color were you trying to find?
3. Which one is your favorite?
4. This one is my favorite (indicating a specific item among the things the customer is viewing)
5. Were you thinking about this for yourself or as a gift?
6. The really good ones are in back — want me to check on the one you want?
7. And unlike a handgun, you can buy it and take it home today!
8. I was thinking abut getting one of those for my mom/dad/sister/brother/friend/significant other — what drew you to it?
9. What did you learn on the internet about this model?
10. What’s the best website you found with reviews of this product?
11. Did you bring in any of your Google research on this item? Our customers find the best info!
12. Do you want to see some info I found about the product on Google?
13. I have some reviews from our customers on that item — want to see a couple?
14. Want to take a Selfie with it?
15. Want me to snap of pic of you in the outfit/holding the product/trying it out so you can send it to a friend for their opinion?
16. If you find a better price on your mobile phone let me know, and I’ll see if we can match it to save you a trip to another store.
17. Would you like me to hold on to that one for you while you continue to browse?
18. I can put that in a fitting room for you.
19. Looks like you’ll be ready to try those on soon, let me get a fitting room ready for you (and then go CLEAN the fitting room and Windex the mirror!)
20. If you like that style, you may want to take a look at this one too.
21. People really seem to like that one — a few of the people who looked at that one also looked at this one.
22. We’ve been selling a lot of those. People seem to love them!
23. We’ve sold so many of those that I had to buy one for myself! Here’s what I think about it…
24. If you decide to buy that item, you might want one of these (item #2), or one of these (item #3) to go with it.
25. That’s really nice — were you planning to use it/wear it/store it at home or at work?
Have another sales or service cliche you’d like some ideas for improving?
Drop me a line and tell me what it is.
I’d love to help you with that…
Update: There is a revised and expanded version of this article on the Top Shelf Experts blog at Midwest Retail Services. I’ve added another paragraph or two in the article and another FIVE alternate ideas for replacing “Can I help you?” in the customer service lexicon!