If you work in retail sales, you have to care more about the customer than you care about yourself.
Yes, you might be getting a commission, a bonus, or a paycheck out of a sale – otherwise you wouldn’t be working.
But if you care about the customer first and most…
If you start with what they, as a visitor to your Planet Furniture, or Planet Jewelry, or Planet Whatever, are experiencing and if you are aware of their unasked questions when they visit your store, you’ll make more sales.
To that end I’ve come up with this handy infographic to help you with your retail sales training and to show you what I’m talking about…
When the customer first arrives at your store and walks through your doors, the first question they will ask themselves is Do I like what I see?
All of your marketing and word-of-mouth ends as they step through your front doors. That means you want the store to be clean – of course. Shipping boxes in the aisles, clutter on the counter, and an abundance of sale signs makes customers wary of going much further. They want to see employees helping and customers shopping; that gives them the impression that this is a good place to shop.
Next they judge your greeting, Does first contact make me comfortable? Left alone or given a zombiesque, Let me know if you need any help keeps customers wary. Even worse is the overeager, Can I help you? while the customer is in the decompression zone, the first eight feet of your store, which moves them from wary to on guard. That’s not what you want. You want them to lower their guard, be comfortable browsing, and be comfortable talking with your employees.
That means your employees have to know what to say, how soon to say it, and realize the whole sale can get off to a bad start if they don’t choose the correct words or if their timing is off.
The third question customers have is, Can I easily find what I’m looking for? Crowded aisles with minimum navigational signs like those endless aisles of big boxes where everything looks the same are deadly! Most of us are independent shoppers – especially guys, so signs and helpful displays that point the way to get to where they want to go are expected. Curating your store into easily identifiable departments with room to see them makes additional sales more likely.
While the customer looks around, they ask, When I need it, is someone available to help me? Whoever greeted them in the beginning may be nowhere to be found once they’ve gotten to their destination. A friendly employee who’s been trained in body language understands this and comes over without being asked. For some, there is a fine line between being available and stalking, so make sure your employees know the difference.
As the employee begins talking, the customer is judging, Do I connect with this person? A gruff, curt, or monosyllabic answer puts customers on the defensive, leaving them less likely to continue or, if they have no choice, to not trust the employee’s suggestions. Things like store tours and opening Windows of Contact at this point allow the customer to relax and feel they will be taken care of. At that moment, they are the most important concern of that employee. This grows exponentially the higher the price tag of the item they are considering.
See also, How To Open A Window Of Contact
If the customer has been engaged and the salesperson has built rapport, the customer is still wondering…
Do I trust this person when it comes a specific product? In the old days, product knowledge was king, and even bad employees could still make a sale because they had the information the customers didn’t. Most customers nowadays have already gone online before they ever step foot in a brick and mortar store. That’s called webrooming.
With a highly technical product, it is possible your customer knows more than your salesperson. This makes sense. All the customer had to learn about was one item they were considering buying; your employees may have thousands to learn. The key is to be open even without having all the product knowledge answers. You want to know your merchandise well enough to be able to compare and contrast similar items in your store or against competitors’ items.
Once the customer says, I’ll take it, they may wonder, Will they suggest something else I needed that I didn’t even know I needed? Suggestive selling shows them another product that enhances the first product they purchased or makes it easier, faster, or more convenient.
A smart salesperson knows their goal is to show more items to the customer. They know that is the key to raising their average sale and profit from all the time they have used building rapport.
All of that can be lost if checkout is seen as a hassle. While the retailer may think it is great to ask people for a loyalty card, entering them in manually or asking for coupons can create lines and friction. You want a clear, easy path to getting out the door so that the flow from the moment they walked in the door to their time getting out the door is flawless.
Employees have the most control over a customer buying an item, and the true retail professional finds a way for the customer to buy more than one. Those who can’t are often little more than warehouse employees fulfilling a customer’s request.
Train these seven questions so employees can empathize and deliver a Wow experience to your customers.