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Are you good at guessing games? You get three guesses at the answer to the following question, and the first two don’t count. Here’s the question:

“What brings you in today?”

If you guessed, “I’ve come to fork over my hard-earned money on some of your fine furniture, here’s my wallet – please, just take whatever you need,” then it doesn’t count.

If you guessed, “I need a king-sized bed, two nightstands, a dresser, mirror and chest in a solid cherry finish with brass accents,” then that guess doesn’t count, either.

If you guessed, “I’m just looking…” then congratulations! You’re our lucky winner!

How many times does Ms. Jones say it to you it in a day? It’s the bane of any salesperson. But it’s self-inflicted, a rhetorical question with only one answer. It’s the retail equivalent of asking your teenager, “How was your day?” You will be disappointed if you expect any answer other than, “Fine.” Or, “How are you?” “Good.” “What did you do today?” “Nothing.” “Where did you go after school?” “I don’t remember.”

Unlike your sullen teenager, Ms. Jones doesn’t have to answer your questions. She can turn and leave any time she wants. You have one chance to get her attention and start a conversation.

Here’s another game: list ten ways you can greet Ms. Jones that make it impossible for her to respond, “I’m just looking.”

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