Today when you walk into an Apple store, every experience—from the welcome greetings to customers, to things running on the demo computers, iPods, iPads, and iPhones—is carefully planned. Today’s Apple sales training is about dealing with customers instead of closing sales. The Apple training manual is about steps to service, laid out in an acronym APPLE, where A stands for Approach, and so on.
Employees are trained to avoid telling a customer, “I don’t understand.” If a customer mispronounces a product name, employees are taught not to correct the person. Employees at Apple’s retail stores are expected to understand the issues of their clients and make an extra effort to find solutions for them.
No wonder Apple stores generate more visitors per quarter than Disney’s top four amusement parks together see in a year. The Apple stores’ annual sales per square foot, as of 2011, is over $5,600, far ahead of all other U.S. chains. Second place goes to the exclusive, up-scale jewelry chain of Tiffany & Co, in business for well over a century; for Tiffany, the comparable sales figure is less than $3,000 per square foot. What’s more, the total annual sales of the Apple stores increased in 2011 by a nearly unbelievable 70 percent over the previous year; the comparable figure for Tiffany was 15 percent.
Clearly, the training of the staff in the Apple stores has paid off.
The late, great American anthropologist, Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small ...