Keep Reaching

Before you begin reading, raise your hands in the air as high as you can. Now try and hold them up even higher. Did you reach higher than you did the first time? Why didn’t you reach as high as you could at first? These are questions Ron Martin asks his clients each time he gives a seminar for his Success Dynamics Program.

Before you scoff it off as self-help, drink-the-Kool-Aid mumbo jumbo, consider the effect the program had on one of the mainstays of North Shore retailing. Surf-N-Sea in Hale’iwa, Hawai’i has been around since 1965, but according to Owner Joe Green, store sales quadrupled since the store began using the Success Dynamics Program eight years ago.


Ron Martin, President and guru of Success Dynamics Inc., visits Surf-N-Sea for monthly seminars, where he and Green look for ways to further refine their sales and customer-service techniques.

The foundation of the Success Dynamics program is a nine-step selling strategy that is based on pro-active, no-pressure selling. “There’s a paradigm in retail that customers know what they want and what they’re looking for when they come to a shop, says Martin. “But this isn’t true. Most people don’t know, and they need the help of a salesperson but don’t want the pressure to act.

The first of these nine steps to success is to greet the customer in an effective manner and establish two-way communication. Asking questions such as “May I help you? often gives you answers you don’t want to hear. Instead, start off with a simple “Hello or “Welcome.

After a greeting has been established, the second step is position. According to Martin, you should place yourself between the customer and the front door in a way that keeps them at ease. Be careful not to invade personal space, and know how to adjust if you’re too close or too far away.

Next, says Green, ask a question that puts you in control. Ask the customer if they’ve been in the store before, and if so, what brought them back? This brings you into the next step, which is telling the customer information about your store, such as how long you’ve been in business and where merchandise is located.

The fifth step is to show. If a customer is looking at an item, give them information about it. Help them to choose between one item and another. Often customers will make an excuse such as, “I want to think about it. This moves into the next step, which is overcoming rejection and being able to discover the true reason for not buying, which means really listening to the customer. Asking questions such as, “Is the color okay? can help find out where the problem lies.

If it turns out everything is perfect and there’s no problem, then it’sappropriate to move to the next step and “nudge the customer. Only nudge when you know customers want to buy but are resisting. Be sure to do so in a non-pressuring manner.

Once the customer has decided to buy something, they’re very likely to buy something else. This is the time to add-on to the order. Think about what your customer is buying and what will go with that item: “Of course, you’ll want some traction, wax, and a leash with your new Merrick, let me show you which ones our local customers like best.

After adding on, the final step is to befriend your customer. This encourages return visits and future sales. Saying something like, “Come back and tell me how that board rides helps to establish a relationship with the customer that will keep them coming back to your store.

Of course, getting your employees up to speed and fully behind a program such as Success Dynamics can be challenging. “To get someone to do this type of selling, you have to give them incentive, says Green. “Ron {Martin} gave us a lot of help there, and I realized that the more incentive I gave–such as bonuses–the higher my employees were willing to jump.

“Your salespeople must be the connectors, continues Green. “You can have the best location with the best goods, but if you can’t get the salesperson to make this connection, then it doesn’t matter what you have.

Martin recently implemented a program called the Morning Report. Each evening, Morning Report subscribers fill out a document that contains each salesperson’s name, how much they sold, and number of hours worked. The next morning stores receive a report based on those numbers. Surf-N-Sea is one of 400 stores nationwide receiving the Morning Report, and Green is adamant about its place in his business: “It’s great–and it works. It allows you to keep track of employee sales and numbers every day, and gives you numbers to go on besides end-of-year reports.

According to Martin, tuition for the Success Dynamics seminar is 500 dollars. Morning Reports are ten dollars daily. There’s also a Dynamics DVD series designed primarily for Morning Report customers. For more information on Ron Martin and Success Dynamics, visit