Sales are the lifeblood for every retailer and these days they are getting harder to come by! However I believe we are still, and have been for some time, letting sales simply walk out the door. We all know it’s a lot less expensive to sell more to your existing customers than try and get new customers through the doors.
Why is it then that so many customers walk out with your money in their pockets? They either don’t buy at all or if they do it’s only one item. Your marketing has worked hard to get them in the store in the first place, the role of the in-store team is to then maximise the opportunity. Here’s my five tips on how to do this:
1) Get the basics right! Yes that old chestnut again. Retail 101 is all about stopping tasks and approaching customers with a smile and a greeting. Yet still, to my horror and amazement, these basics are so often missed. Come on retailers, if you can’t get this step right you can forget the rest. I know team members have to do a lot more these days, but if they don’t prioritise customers over tasks you may as well shut your doors.
2) Don’t expect your merchandising to do all the heavy lifting. With all due respect to the VM teams out there, who do an amazing job creating beautiful displays, the products don’t sell themselves anywhere near as much as a team member talking through options and ideas with a customer. Having your stores looking amazing is really important as is category management (right products in the right place), but team members can’t rely on this doing the work for them.
3) Asking questions and listening are the keys to getting a sale as well as additional items. I believe successful selling is all about these two skills which come early on in the sale process. An amazing mentor of mine always says the sale is not lost at the end, it’s lost at the start! How true. Your team need to be excellent at asking the right questions as well as listening. The right questions will allow the team member to present the best solution that solves the customer’s problem. The right questions will uncover additional needs that provide an easier path for the team member to introduce one or more additional products.
4) Keeping choices and features and benefits to a minimum. Giving the customer too many choices to consider and too many features and benefits always leads to confusing the customer. The result being, most customers will say these awful words “let me think about it” and leave the store. The right questions uncover exactly what the customer is looking for (or close to it), cutting down the options the team member needs to present. It also makes it clearer on the key features and benefits that the customer wants and needs to hear. The result – more sales!
5) Passion sells. Team members who believe in what they are doing and why, come across as authentic and trustworthy. These team members are worth their weight in gold and sell to customers for the right reasons and are more successful, resulting in more satisfied customers.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Applying them consistently will allow you to stand out from your competition and that certainly includes online where they can’t get any of the above.
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.