We all know that increasing sales in retail, in the current environment, is a big challenge. There’s a lot of obstacles to firstly get customers into your store due to online and other competitors, let alone getting them to purchase when they come in. However, plenty of customers are still visiting traditional stores. Sure traffic counts could be flatlining or even a bit down, that’s why it’s even more important to ensure you increase your conversion rates and the number of items sold to each customer.
I also believe we have to take the focus off just selling on price, as Amazon and other online retailers are going to own that space and it’s always going to be a race to the bottom. Unfortunately, based on a recent experience with two major appliance retailers, this still seems to be a common approach. When looking at a fridge, both salesmen (from different stores), without any prompting from me, said they could do a better price than what was ticketed. This smells like desperation and tells the customer to negotiate even harder.
Let’s get smarter and use our selling skills and sell the right product to the customer at the right price, without having to cut the guts out of the margin. Sure, not every customer is going to pay full price but when we focus on solving their problem, price takes more of a backseat.
Here are my 5 tips on how you can increase sales, right now!
- Ensure your team knows your service and sales expectations (The Service Promise). How can they deliver a great service experience if they have to guess what that is? Clearly identify the steps of service that will wow the customer and get your team to buy into these by discussing why these steps are important.
- Train your team to focus on solving the customer’s issues. This involves the team member asking questions to find out why the customer is in the store and what they want the product to do for them. The skill here is to ask questions to uncover the customer’s needs and not making assumptions. Paraphrasing is a great way to show the customer you have listened and correctly summed up their issues. This is powerful in connecting and building trust.
- Focus on how the product will solve the customer’s problem. Forget getting too tied up on the features of the product, most customers don’t want to know the facts they want to know what the product will do for them. The easiest way to be good at this comes from focussing on point 2 – Listening. If the team member has listened well, the customer will tell them what their needs are for a product (their issues). Great salespeople then only present the product’s benefits that will solve their issues. This keeps the product presentation simple and customer focussed.
- Discuss other products that will enhance their overall experience. Once again if the team member has asked questions and listened, the customer will give them other clues of what they will use the product for. This opens up a whole opportunity to introduce complementary products that will enhance the customer’s overall experience. As well as providing an opportunity to increase items per customer, this step ensures the customer enjoys a total solution.
- Ensure your staff consistently deliver on the service promise. The toughest step of all, as this requires store managers to follow up on the job and observe if their team is putting in place the steps of service. Most team members know how to do the 4 steps I have identified, yet only a few consistently put them in place. Ongoing follow up is the key to delivering on a consistently great service experience.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.