A Dash of Curry Blog

We've all got some A.D.D. in us. Discover how to celebrate it!

Want to Build a Better Business? Try Compliments.


I was camping with my son and family in Yosemite recently and turned out my son needed a new pair of boots. He is difficult to fit because he is short like me, so we found ourselves at REI where the customer service was awesome, as usual.

One of the biggest ways REI stands out as a company is using the art of compliments.

After trying on a half dozen pairs (you know how boot shopping can be) my son decides on a pair of boots and we went to pay. The clerk at the register says, “Oh I have those boots too and I love them! Great pick!”ComplimentThat compliment made my son:

  • Feel good!
  • Feel smart!
  • Feel confident, he made the right choice.

All strong emotional triggers that supported his decision to give REI his money that day. (Well my money but you get the idea). And this was not the first time REI brought me to an easy, “yes I want to give you my money.”

REI as a corporation rocks because they train their staff to compliment their customers. This makes people feel smart, makes them feel confident and makes REI very smart in the art of selling.

The art of selling is nothing more than the art of getting another person to do what you want them to do. The customer has a problem they need solved.

The sales process is like a dance between you and the customer.

Both of you are actively engaged, but if you do it correctly, you’re the one leading the dance steps. To do that, you have to get to the core, to the meat of the matter, and trip the customer’s emotional triggers as quickly as you can.

To guide my employees at Curry’s Auto Service through the sales dance, I came up with a list of steps I call the Five C’s of Selling, which I taught them in a series of training classes.

One of the Five C’s of Selling is: Compliments.

Not only do we like people who are like us, but we also like people who like us. Notice in the story I told about my son at REI how the clerk instantly created the vibe that he approved and liked my son’s choice. Instant emotional trigger.

When someone compliments us, we feel better about ourselves. We are happier. We feel smart, empowered, and more confident. A happy, confident, empowered person is more likely to say “yes” to a sales opportunity than an unhappy, insecure, discouraged person is.

A recent study by Forbes states compliments and the responding triggers go even deeper, that receiving a compliment has similar positive effect on the human brain to receiving a cash reward.

When you’re looking for something to compliment a customer, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to have anything to do with the pending sale. All you’re trying to do is make the customer feel good and to let them know that you like them.

Keep it simple and make sure it is genuine.

People with A.D.D. are super-observant, sincere, and naturally friendly, so we do have the advantage. But complimenting a customer doesn’t have to be hard at all!

Some ideas on how to compliment:

  • Use affirmation phrases as you talk to them like, “I’m glad you mentioned that!” or “Great point!”
  • When they ask a question respond, “I’m really happy you asked that…”
  • Compliment clothing and accessories, “ Mrs. Green that bracelet is beautiful! It matches your watch perfectly.”

When you trip emotional triggers like this and make your customer feel more confident, smart and secure, your customer not only feels great about herself but she’s also more likely to do business with you because she feels great about herself. Get it? It’s a win- win!

REI does this and so can you! I’m continually impressed with REI and their training, I know you can make your customers continually impressed with you and your business too. This idea of “Compliment” is such an easy one to implement in marketing, in conversation, in business and this small effort will build better relationships each and every time.

So tell me, what customer are you going to compliment today and what are you going to say?

Come on over to my facebook page to let me know how it worked out (and see pics of that recent Yosemite trip)!

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