No matter what you sell, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out why a shopper didn’t buy from you. Or, another way to put it: Why you can't close the sale.
Sure, you can pat yourself on the back and say it was all them, but many times it was the salesperson. When I’m coaching salespeople, I often find they have no sales process, so they waste the shopper’s time by asking questions in the wrong place or by presenting the product too soon.
Some salespeople have limited listening skills and just want to repeat like a parrot the same discount, the same loyalty card, or the same features to every customer. Those salespeople have poor conversions of lookers into buyers as a result.
Othertimes, due to an out-of-stock, the associate just says to try and buy online. The key there is show the shopper something else equal or better. I have a even more detailed post about how to deal with out-of-stocks here.
The first step to closing more sales is understanding what is actually at the root cause of them walking out without your product.
Here are 8 reasons people don’t buy from you:
No need. This frequently happens when a shopper encounters a product they hadn’t intended to buy – yet they stare at it, ask questions about upkeep, and touch it or try it on. They tell themselves they don't need it, but their actions tell you something else.
To get this shopper to buy, you need to build enough rapport so that you can find out why they are fascinated by it and how it could fit into their life. Begin a conversation with a question like, “I see you are fascinated with this. What do you love about it? or “Do you have something like this already? What’s it missing that this one has?” You get the idea. It’s your job to show them they really need it and how it will improve their lives.
No money. There is an old saying that people behave more like their income than their age. According to the Fed, the median net worth for people under 35 is $13,900 in 2022. The key to younger consumers is to show them how much they will use a product to make their lives easier. There’s a reason they buy the latest smartphone or Fitbit because they use it excessively.
They may tell you they have no money, but if they see how much it will do for them, they will take money from somewhere else. Like all generations, when they want it bad enough, it is your job to show them it is worth it.
No imagination. There are three parts to the brain. There is the dinosaur brain where the fight-or-flight feeling comes from. The critical parent mid-part of the brain makes value judgments like what is a good value, will I use it enough, etc., and finally, there is the neo-cortex. That is where we experience wonder. People buy on emotion and justify based on logic.
Wonder is where salespeople need to get their shoppers. Unless you can get them to imagine what that gift will look like on her finger, how fun it will be to wake up each morning to open the drapes with one touch while still in bed, or how confident they will feel when they go out on a date, they’ll be stuck—stuck in the mid-brain that looks for a lower price online or an older model that doesn’t have all the features. They will also try to beat you up on price. Until the shopper imagines their life as this product’s owner, it will stay on your shelf as just another product.
No urgency. Shoppers who feel they can wait have no sense of urgency. Yet nothing haunts shoppers like the item they regret not buying. No, I'm not talking about a box of nails, but it could be a new tool, the perfect jacket, the sewing machine of their dreams, or the sound system that made them feel alive for the first time. I once had a guy looking for high-end boots for his new wife. It was Christmas Eve, and after fifteen minutes, he put down the boots and said, ‘I’ll look around.” I replied, “Dude, we’re closing in 20 minutes. You should be buying something or you’ll give a Whitman Sampler to your wife and spend the day in the dog house.” He bought the boots and she loved them... and him.
No one is "just looking" when they enter a brick-and-mortar store. Reward their interest by showing them how they can use it now and not wait.
Too many choices. I walked past a sneaker store the other day that had hundreds of shoes displayed on the wall. On the front glass was a sign, "Trust the wall." All I could think about was the huge amount of work it would take to try to make a decision.
Inexperienced salespeople, too, think showing more products is best, but it is just the opposite. That’s because the shopper won’t know what to buy, and they will shut down. If the shopper can't quickly understand why one product is better, they become overwhelmed and put blinders on. You have to limit their choices to one or two through your sales presentation to make buying easy.
Fear of making the wrong choice. Sometimes shoppers go from one site to another and one store to another, taking a bit of information from each. Because they have heard conflicting information, they procrastinate. It’s like they have come to believe that there is one perfect product somewhere down the road and that if they just keep looking, it will magically appear. This shopper needs to unpack all they have heard with an associate who is confident not only about product knowledge but how to build rapport so they can set the shopper straight that a product will require add-ons or extra learning to get the most out of it. Offering after-purchase help can seal the deal.
You think merchandise can sell itself. Having many products with a few pointers on a sign rarely gets a shopper to convert. They came into the store looking for more than they can find on a website.
You must train your sales team to compare and contrast, to explain, and most of all to listen for how the product a shopper came in for just might not be the best one for their use.
You don’t believe in your product. Maybe you know how much an item costs, so you feel like a fraud trying to get full price. Maybe you know the item a shopper is looking at was on sale last week. Maybe you don’t believe the marketing materials.
You have to fix your mindset. One way is to collect stories from happy people who purchased it from you or your online product reviews. Another way to fix that is to buy one yourself. Until you have this customer insight or first-hand experience, you’re like a priest telling a newlywed couple what the wedding night will be like.
Often all of these customer reasons come from you not feeling the need to sell your products. And I have news for you…even Apple needs to sell its products.
Your job as a retailer is to give a shopper enough attention, so they feel you are a trusted advisor.
Your job needs to be to craft enough rapport so they can tell you honestly what they are feeling, and you need to be able to get the shopper to imagine owning the item so clearly that they have to take it home.
That takes a sales process. If you’d like help with training retail staff using my award-winning online sales training program SalesRX, click the button below to learn more.