The FIVES - how DSGI stores convert their customers
This morning we await news of the fate of PC World employees across the country. Judging by the hundreds of comments Bitterwallet has received in the past few weeks, emotions are certainly running high amongst staff at DSGI; best of luck if there are changes ahead that affect you.
Reading through the comments, you'll notice that many posters are discussing the merits of FIVES, a selling programme taught to DSGI employees. Reader Bladesman has provided a link to the Consumer Action Group forums, where a poster claiming to be a Currys employee explains exactly what FIVES is:
It's trained to all staff via some Derren Brown-style mind games and takes a full three day training session to learn. It consists of five "rooms" each containing a step the salesman should take to convert you from a browser to a buyer.
Room 1: The greeting - the salesman approaches the potential customer and asks "what brings you to Currys today?". This serves to act as an open ended question (instantly denying you a yes or no answer and opening you up to further questioning). It also it allows them to use the match +1 technique, where they match your attitude then plus it by 1; if your angry they empathise, if your happy, they're happier. They will also attempt to mirror your body language.
Room 2: Engagement - the salesman will then ask you what you're looking for, and ask you "are you a whateverhappens customer?". When you proceed to ask what whateverhappens is, he/she will then tell you that they'll inform you about what it is in a little while, leaving you pondering on it. They call this "planting the seed".
Room 3: The sale box - the salesman will proceed to ask you if you're replacing a product, and what you liked/hated/would change about the old one. He'll then proceed to tell you "what if I could offer you [insert item] at [insert price]?".
Room 4: The tailor - this room enlarges on the previous room, explaining the reasons why you should buy the product, and why you'll almost certainly need those expensive premium leads on your TV. This part is all about getting those margin enhancing attachments. Then they'll ask you if you'd considered a "cash or monthly option" trying to convert you on to easiplan credit wherever possible.
Room 5: The happy customer - the salesman will then proceed to take you to a side area (for larger items), and explain to you what whateverhappens is. They'll attempt to make it sound like an exclusive club, and that it totally outclasses the manufacturer's warranty in every way, they'll also try to overcome such objections as house insurance and credit card coverage, whilst emphasising the accidental damage cover and playing down the cost. They will then hand you your product with two hands if they can, and ask you if your happy with your purchase.
The poster isn't the only one to compare the techniques to Derren Brown, probably because of the positive NLP-style language used throughout the steps. Is it a bad thing? A case of staff trying to lull you into a sale you're not interested in, or simply a more effective way to service the customer? What do you think?