The Retail Doctor's Blog


Attract, Close & Delight Your Customers

Customer Service Is About Listening To Customers, Not Throwing Money At Them

Bob Phibbs

It’s a long slog from Albany to Vegas, even with upgraded flights.

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Topics: Customer Service

Best Cross Selling Sales Tips for Retailers

Bob Phibbs

Cross selling is the art of suggesting additional, complementary items to someone who has already decided on a purchase.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, suggestive selling retail, cross selling

Retail Success Within Reach: Why CEOs Must Embrace Sales Training

Bob Phibbs

If you’re the CEO of a retail chain, the sales environment looks pretty scary right now.

Hardly a week goes by without news of another once-successful chain closing its doors.

Last week it was Jack Spade, the 22-year old offshoot of Kate Spade.

The chains that remain open are still reporting sluggish sales, despite an improving economy. While many solutions have been suggested, a lot of them are impractical or simply fail to address the underlying problems.

And those problems are best summed up with the title of the 90's movie...

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, CEO

3 UpSelling Tips for Retailers

Bob Phibbs

Upselling is about challenging customer preconceptions and getting them to see the value behind every product you sell.

Most customers aren’t cheap, they’ve simply adopted a mindset that most products are of comparable quality. A shirt is a shirt. A pair of jeans is a pair of jeans. An umbrella is an umbrella.

That is until those shirt buttons break when being fastened, or the jeans shrink after one wash, or the umbrella falls apart in a heavy downpour.

After customers have had these types of experiences, they turn to more expensive brand name items, not because of the name, but because of the underlying value of the product.

The trouble is many younger salespeople have not had those experiences and feel upselling is just a way to force a customer to buy something more expensive than what they need.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, up selling, upselling, selling tips

Are You Desperately Marketing Your Business With Daily Deals Like Groupon? Stop It

Bob Phibbs

I received an email the other day regarding marketing that said, “I've been doing business with Groupon and they've basically become my partner. I am trying to find ways to convert referrals to customers, but can't seem to find the right bait. Its been exhausting. I was hoping you could give some advice and help save my business from the daily deals. When we started the business several years ago it seemed like a really good idea, but since then it is though we can’t escape their grasp.”

As I read it I thought, aren’t we done with daily deals yet?

Groupon just reported it’s fourth-quarter revenue as $925.4 million. 

Could it be that people were still ignoring my advice?

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Topics: Marketing, groupon, daily deals

Customer Service: Greeting Your Retail Customers

Bob Phibbs

I walked into a Walgreen’s today in Minneapolis.

A pleasant young woman from behind the counter looked over at me and said, “Welcome to Walgreens.”

I nodded and thanked her and went on my hunt for Sudafed.

Afterward, I walked into Nordstrom and couldn’t get greeted - not a word out of anyone - and I was there for 15 minutes.

What makes the difference between customers wanting to buy and wanting to leave?

Wanting to browse and wanting to take something home?

Your greeting makes the difference...from the moment they walk into your brick and mortar store.

It should feel like you are welcoming a friend to your home.

What are those first precious moments like for your customers?

What are they noticing as they get their bearings and get focused on their shopping?

If your store is like most, one thing those customers won’t notice is a helpful salesperson.

They won’t notice a person who stops whatever they are doing to focus and welcome the customer who just arrived.  

Not to pitch something or ask some lame question like, How are you today?

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Topics: Retail Sales Training

Closing The Sale Techniques for Luxury Retail

Bob Phibbs

Scarcity is one of the closing techniques rotten salespeople have used for years to try to make customers buy.

It goes something like this, “We can give you 20% off, but only if you buy it today.”  If the customer isn’t quick, that offer of a discount will be gone, leaving them a fool to pay full price.

I have news for you...with the advent of the internet, there’s not much that’s scarce - except customers’ time.

We, as customers, know that some great deal, some coupon, some specific item will indeed be there tomorrow. If not from this retailer, then from some other.  In many ways it’s like what you learn if you miss a bus, there’ll be another coming along shortly.

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Topics: Luxury Retail, Retail Sales Training, closing techniques

Retail Selling Tips - The 5 Lies Customers Tell You And How To Sell Around Them

Bob Phibbs

Looking for how to get better at retail selling?

While customers often feel retail salespeople can’t be trusted, retailers are often faced with selling to customers who tell white lies to avoid purchasing an expensive item.

Here are five of the most common lies I’ve come across and how retail salespeople can handle them so you still have a chance of making the sale:

We can't afford it.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, selling tips

Should I Just Close My Retail Store and Be Done With It?

Bob Phibbs

January and February are the cruelest months for retailers. It’s when the balance sheets reveal holiday demand was soft.

In the old days, you could get by with an off couple of years, but the timeline is much shorter now.

So many smaller retailers seem to be looking at the Macys, JC Penney, Target-Canada, Deb Shops, and Wet Seal closings as anomolies.

They are not.

I read a blog entited Quilt Shop Confidential the other day. The gist of it was summed up in this sentence, “Many quilt shops run on the direct benevolence of spouses with full time (good) jobs, or due to a healthy pension.”

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Topics: Retail Sales

How To Get Higher Retail Sales: Suggestive Selling

Bob Phibbs

When you’re trying to build your retail sales - and who isn’t - there are really only three ways to do it:

  1. Get more visitors through the door and make a sale to them.

  2. Get those who have shopped with you to come in more often.

  3. Get those customers who come through your doors to buy more when they do come in.

Selling is easy when the customer already knows what they want or need. If they just want a pair of shoes or a new 4K television, it’s easy to just ring up their purchase and let them walk out the door.

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Topics: Retail Sales Training, suggestive selling, suggestive selling retail

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