5 Steps to Closing a Retail Sale Quickly

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closing the sale tips

Closing a sale. Why is it so hard to do? Because you are putting yourself on the line. Did you read the situation correctly? If you ask and they aren’t ready, you might look foolish.

And yet, without closing the sale, many untrained salespeople let sales they should have closed walk out the front doors of the retailer.

What is the major reason salespeople are so hesitant to close a sale? Rejection. It is much like asking someone to marry you; you think you know they’ll answer yes but until you ask, you won’t really know.

Understanding the retail selling process is the key to running a successful retail business.

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

Funny, back then when customers had more time to browse a brick and mortar store and more time to take with the decision-making process, retail salespeople were encouraged to quickly get the customer closed and back out of the store. They were told to hire hungry salepeople who wouldn't stop until the shopper gave in.

When it came to Selling, 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. However, that's not a viable selling process.

It can lead to pushy sales techniques that have 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 salespeople often missed valuable add-on sales.

That being said, you still don’t want your salespeople to leisurely spend hours on a single shopper without making a sale.

Striking a balance between a positive experience for the customer and a quick sale for the business can be difficult. You must have a sales process. The trick is to create an environment in which the consumer feels comfortable making a purchase and is excited about the product. Great customer service can take work but making sure your retail sales associate is using the proper selling techniques is half the battle.

Once this technique has been mastered, customers will move themselves through the buying process more rapidly. It doesn’t require additional pressure from your sales associates, 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 retail salespersons create that environment and close more retail sales in a timely manner.

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

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 and should be able to close a sale.

5 Steps To Closing A Retail Sale Quickly:

  1. Engage. You can’t sell to a shopper if you’re not talking to them. Standing behind the counter or hiding in an aisle is not an option. Your employees 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 in your shop.

  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 their shopper's needs and offer solutions. Ask questions, listen for their answers, and share something from your own life. This step elevates the retail sales associate to the role of trusted advisor and helps the customer feel comfortable buying the merchandise 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 shopper, salespeople can show how the product can address those concerns.

  4. Demonstrate Value. The main obstacle to a quick sale is the presentation of price without connecting to 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, they need to be able to focus the conversation on what the product provides from the start, not what it costs. When the sales associate can use product knowledge and show the customer how a product adds value to their lives, it keeps the conversation away from the sticky topic of price.

  5. Closing Organically. After you’ve heard questions about how the customer would take care of the product, what else would go with it, or delivery questions, it’s time to sum it all up. The salesperson may feel tempted to try and push for a close, but this is a mistake.

    At this point, an atmosphere of trust has been created, and the shopper is having a positive buying adventure. Instead of offering to ring up their merchandise, suggest complimentary items that can bring even more value to their purchase...and to their lives. This is truly what customer service is all about - adding value, so don't be afraid of suggestive selling.

    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. Then assume the sale by asking if it will be credit or cash, or try to find a delivery day.


What should you do in your closing sequence? If they have objections and say they aren’t ready to buy, it’s time to slow down and regroup. Repeat back to them three things they told you were important. 

You can see how to handle objections in this short video below:

That will help them paint a picture in their mind to visualize the benefits of your product. For an art dealer, you might sum up the sale by saying, “Imagine how this will look in your den every night when you get home and can get lost in that sunset.” Once you’ve done that, ask, “Did I miss anything?” And shut up.

Many times they’ll agree and tell you they’ll take it. But sales is something you do with people, not to people so there is no formula to doing it right. Be genuine. Be curious. Help them get what they spent time with you discovering. Understanding the retail selling process is how you drive customer satisfaction.

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

In Sum

When you follow these selling techniques in order, the customer will move through the sales funnel at a good pace and may offer the opportunity for you to sell them additional items.

Taking a little more time to make a lot more sales lets your sales team use all of their selling talents, not just trying to find one magic sentence to close a sale.

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