5 Steps to Closing a Retail Sale Quickly

By Bob Phibbs

closing the sale tipsBack in the 80’s when I was creating my own retail sales training techniques, I heard a sales trainer say that as soon as the customer is in front of you, you should be trying to close the sale.  

Funny, in a time when customers had more time, retail salespeople were encouraged to quickly get them closed and back out of the store.

It was believed that volume was the most important factor back then, and the way to success was by getting as many customers checked out as possible.

This pushy sales technique has been showcased in any movie about a car salesman, electronics salesman, or bad realtor. Such overemphasis on closing techniques has been proven ineffective and those salesmen often missed valuable add-on sales.

That being said, you still don’t want your salespeople to dilly dally and spend hours on a single customer...

Striking a balance between a positive experience for the customer and a quick sale for the store can be difficult. The trick is to create an environment in which the customer feels comfortable making a purchase and is excited about the product and experience.

Once this technique has been mastered, customers will move themselves through the buying process more rapidly. It doesn’t require additional pressure from your salespeople, but it does require an ability to follow the steps in order to create a positive buying environment. The steps outlined below will help your sales staff create that environment and close more retail sales in a timely manner.

Creating a Positive Buying Environment

Instead of trying to push your customers through the buying process, these steps will encourage them to pull their own way through. A salesperson who has mastered these steps will have customers rapidly moving from casual browser to loyal customer.

5 Steps to closing a retail sale quickly:

  1. Engage. You can’t sell to a customer if you’re not talking to them. Standing behind the counter or hiding in an aisle is not an option. Your salespeople need to be engaging with customers as they come through the door. The sooner that engagement begins, the sooner your salespeople can start creating a positive buying environment. A good measure is to allow about 15 seconds for customers to get their wits about themselves, leave the traffic and nonsense behind, and focus on the reason they are at your store.

  2. Establish Trust. In any relationship, trust is built through back and forth communication. Only with the back and forth will salespeople be invited to listen to the customer’s needs and offer solutions. Ask questions, listen for their answers and share something from your own experience. I call it Windows of Contact. This step elevates the salesperson to the role of trusted advisor and helps the customer feel comfortable making a purchase from them.

  3. Address Concerns. A salesperson who can listen will learn everything they need to know about selling to a customer. A few pointed questions, coupled with a sincere interest in what the customer answers will reveal any concerns that may be holding up a sale. Using their product knowledge and what they learn about the customer, salespeople can show how the product can address those concerns.

  4. Demonstrate Value. The main obstacle to a quick sale is price without value. Customers frequently balk at the cost of an item if it is not carefully presented. Once this happens, your salesperson is in a very difficult position. To avoid this, your salespeople need to be able to focus the conversation on what the product provides from the start, not what it costs. Showing the customer how a product adds value to their lives keeps the conversation away from the sticky topic of price.

  5. Closing Organically. At this point, an atmosphere of trust has been created, and the customer is having a positive buying experience. The salesperson may feel tempted to try and push for a close but this is a mistake. Instead of offering to ring up their purchase, suggest complimentary items that can bring even more value to their purchase...and to their lives. There’s the potential for additional sales, and if the customer isn’t inclined to make more purchases, they’ll offer to close the sale themselves.

See also, Why Closing The Sale Techniques Are Dead For Retailers 

Speed vs. Efficiency Of Closing A Sale

Closing a sale too quickly can cost you an opportunity to sell add-ons, and more importantly, could create a negative experience for the customer.

5 Ways To Close A Sale Quickly

In Sum

When you follow these retail selling steps in order, the customer will move through the buying process at a good pace and may offer the opportunity for you to sell additional items.

Taking a little more time to make a lot more sales lets the professional salesperson use all of their selling talents.


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