In the Broadway musical Hamilton, the character Aaron Burr offers this advice to the fast talking Alexander Hamilton, “Talk less, smile more.”
We’ve all had that friend or relative who when they join a conversation, you can’t get a word in edgewise.
But at least you’re ready for what you might encounter when you arrive at Thanksgiving dinner or before you invite them to go to a movie.
That’s not the case with a shopper.
The salesperson is a complete stranger.
The fear of meeting an associate who will undervalue, misunderstand, or railroad your shoppers is high when they walk through your doors.
And that can easily happen because many companies have cut back on retail sales training - past the fat, past the muscle and deep into the bone.
For that reason, most have turned to their vendors to train their staff.
And how do those vendors often train your staff?
With countless features of their products.
When that’s the bulk of your sales training, the logical thoughts for your employees are to use all those facts to speed up the sale.
But that’s not how it works.
Unless your sales team is trained in how to create rapport and bond with a shopper before pitching product, the sale can feel like two gladiators trying to wear down each other; the associate trying to wear down the shopper to get them to buy, the shopper trying to wear down the employee to get a better price.
Neither works in this day and age.
To speed up a sale, you have to present just the right amount of information at just the right time.
Here are 5 ways to talk less and sell more:
1. Pause after they’ve spoken. This sounds obvious. It isn’t. Product knowledge specialists or newbies, particularly those who have no retail sales training, get their self-worth by showing what they know. Training to pause before speaking makes sure the shopper has finished their thought and given the associate time to craft a response.
2. Restate before offering solutions. In that pause, you want to be sure to have understood the real reasons the shopper is looking for a new, replacement, or upgraded product. By using the pause beforehand, you focus on the real frustration – it is too heavy, it wore out, it never worked, etc. Understanding the reasons or emotions that led your shopper to your store will frame the sale.
3. Ask clarifying questions. This is where so many poor salespeople jump the gun and start rattling off options from financing to delivery, from various models to a litany of features. To keep you from talking so much, try to clarify what exactly is most important.
4. Give only one solution at a time. If I were standing in front of you holding a goldfish in my hand and I said you can only talk about one feature of the product – from the hundreds it could have, or I’ll squish the fish, which one would you tell them? Know your most important feature and give it first. And while I’m at it, be able to connect that one feature to a benefit as if you were talking to a buddy over a Frappuccino at Starbucks. Leave the lingo and minutiae out of it.
5. Ask yourself, why am I still talking? Being concise is a learned trait. One of the hardest things to balance is the need to listen and the need to speak. If you ever question whether you are talking too much, train yourself to notice how much you are speaking. Just get to the point, the only point – and make just one point at a time.
The full lyric from Hamilton is Talk less, smile more. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for. You wanna get ahead? Fools who run their mouths off windup dead.
If you’re seeing people in your store who are not converting, look at the adoption vendor training of your associates, to see if they left out how to build rapport and the structure of a sales process. A big clue that this might have happened is hearing your shoppers tell your associates, “We have to think about it,” as they walk out of your store. That’s deadly to retail sales.
What many salespeople don’t realize is they actually slow down a sale by pushing as much information on a shopper as possible.
That’s because too much information presented too early in the sale confuses the shopper and often makes them request the associate restate the information or repeat themselves because the shopper wasn’t ready to hear it.
Shopping had become work they didn’t expect they’d need to do.
The key to talking less to make more sales is to give only the necessary information the shopper requires at that moment they need it to make a purchase.
Anything more and you risk losing the opportunity for them to buy from you altogether.
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