Do you believe in socks? Or maybe the better question to ask is, Do you believe that wearing a quality technical sock matters? Odds are that you do. After all, you’ve been doing this run specialty thing for a while now and surely understand the merits of an essential synonymous with our landscape.
But what about your team? Sure, they may be able to rattle off features and benefits of a well-made sock, but do they actually believe in socks? If they don’t, or, if their sockish feelings are ho-hum and neutral, they probably are not going to inspire customers to feel strongly about a product that makes a giant difference in shoe fit and overall comfort.
So how do you get your team to be as passionate about socks as you are? Simple, you need to regularly share your fiery sock passion. You need to teach folks why socks matter more than simply rattling off a sock’s awesome technical attributes. Tech is cool, but context for deeper understanding is what makes people truly believe in a thing.
Beware the Sock Bin
But I’m jumping ahead, let’s back up for a sec and review how so many run shops still introduce socks — the sock bin!
The infamous sock bin is overflowing with paired-up socks. It sits somewhere near the fit area so fitters can dip into its depths to offer a sample sock as customers try on shoes. Maybe they take a moment to chat about what a quality sock can do, but also maybe not. Maybe the customer’s threadbare cotton faves overrule the pair nabbed from the basket, maybe not.
Regardless, that sock bin is always a bit of a mystery because, I mean, is that sock actually even clean? Or, is it one you still carry and, assuming you do, do you have new inventory in the customer’s specific size?
Let’s face it, the sock bin is old school. You do it that way because you’ve always done it that way. In reality, the sock bin feeds into passive salespersonship. It never inspires staff or customers to truly believe in socks. And frankly, that sock bin, no matter how diligent you are about keeping it clean, is still kinda gross. If you are still rocking it, it’s time to modernize.
Making Socks A Good Fit
Belief in socks results from teaching staff the good-better-best scenario. When we match a customer to a properly-fitted shoe, that’s GOOD. When we add a smart sock to the shoe setup, it’s BETTER. Add an insole to the whole shebang and, boom, this is the BEST. These three items together are the ideal.
We ought to commit to ensuring every customer experiences this ideal. And though our focus is on creating an experience, not selling, I assure you that this sort of adherence will generate numbers like you’ve never seen before.
But first your staff needs to hear how thrilled you are for any opportunity to teach a customer about something better than just shoes. They need to hear you believe in it before they can believe in it.
Additionally, your fit process ought to be logically building this good-better-best trifecta from the bare foot out. After ascertaining the customer’s foot shape and major landmarks, you give that bare foot a fresh sock. The socked foot then experiences an insole. And finally, that whole bundle goes into a couple of different shoes as the customer feels this ideal trio. “Take it or leave it,” I’ll often say to folks en route. All I care about is that they have a chance to feel the BEST setup before anything else.
Good Socks Mean A Good Run
Do this: Teach fitters why the sock is an experiential component of the ideal fit and not simply an upsell. Expose that hot fire in your belly for why and how a sock matters. When you do, employees are far more likely to incorporate socks into their outfitting repertoire. And ironically, when they do so in this logical order of good-better-best, they’ll generate amazing sales numbers while not ever actively trying to sell a sock at all.
Good teachers know that their excitement is a requirement for their learners’ excitement. Active your team by sharing your beliefs so they might sit on that fit stool and do the same for their customers.