Lacoste: Difficult Clients? Manage your state under any condition

The challenge for retail sales staff – Dealing with returns

Ingrid Gournay, HR Director for Lacoste, invited us to Lacoste networking day and asked us to deliver an afternoon of workshops on commercial presence for 100 store managers.

These managers are already experienced at dealing with difficult situations, in particular the ever-awkward problem of returns. They all agreed, however, that they needed to increase their ability to control and manage their emotional reactions. They acknowledged that as soon as they are emotionally triggered, it gets harder, if not too late to pull back. An irritated sales person can force a smile, but it won’t necessarily ring true. What is to be done ?

My state of being has an impact on my environment

The workshops made the store managers more aware of what really happens in any stressful situation, beginning with their own physical reaction when a customer adopts an emotionally charged attitude. They left with the tools to avoid escalating their own reactions. One of the participants said,“This goes way beyond the usual communication techniques.”

Effectively, in a short time, they learned how to create an inclusive and welcoming space even under pressure. It’s very hard to include others when you don’t feel centered and stable yourself. The managers particularly appreciated the value of the 4 second “instant centering” .

“These are simple techniques but they help you to recover your balance in record time,”noted a participant.

Now with client relationship tools based on Presence, Lacoste salespeople can now access at will all the sales and relationship skills they have acquired. 

Staying centered and open in front of anyone

We were also fortunate to be able to take advantage of the Hotel Molitor who hosted the event, by having the Reception/Front Desk Manager  share with us his own examples of difficult situations .

He told us about a tricky occasion when he had to ask a very well-known French VIP CEO to respect the rules of the hotel and get out of the swimming pool which he had not paid for! He confided his secret to us: by using his body intelligence (gleaned from 15 years of Jujitsu) he is able to assess a situation with clarity and stay friendly but firm. Before saying anything at all, his presence and interior calm help him control the situation with his client. What the body says comes first!