Best Suggestive Selling Tips and Techniques for Luxury Retail Stores

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Do you want fries with that? is probably the most derided add-on question ever asked.

And at the time, it also proved the most valuable.

McDonald's increased sales dramatically by training their employees to ask everyone the same question.

What is the takeaway in McDonald's experience for luxury retail sales?

Authors Jeffrey Stamp and Doug Hall revealed in their book Meaningful Marketing that  “volume per purchase is 3.4 times more important than frequency of purchase in explaining the total amount that a customer purchases each year.”

In other words, get more from the customers you already have before you try to get them to come back more often or try to get new ones.

Suggestive selling is a great way to increase your per-ticket sales and generate more revenue for your retail store.

Nowadays, you can’t get much traction by repeatedly asking everyone the same question.

Once you’ve connected personally to a customer looking to purchase a luxury item, you’ve taken price out of the equation and made that purchase a purely emotional decision.

The right sales training will make these techniques a natural extension of your sales staff’s approach to customer service.

But make no mistake, suggestive selling isn’t a natural ability.

See also, How Retailers Can Sell On Value Over Price 

Why? Because most people feel their selling job is over when they hear someone say, “I’ll take it.”

But the fact of the matter is the selling part of the job is just the beginning. After all, if someone comes in and says, “I want the new book by Jan Burke,” the employee is little more than an order picker or direction giver.  And even if they came in and said, “I need the new Jan Burke novel and a reading light,” the employee is still just fulfilling what the customer came in and asked for.

But when the employee can, in the first few minutes, show interest in the shopper and get their trust, they can easily sell the add-on reading light and maybe even a lap tray or back support pillow. And in case you didn’t know, your profit really only comes in the second item a customer buys.

Here are 3 ways to perfect suggestive selling in your luxury store:

1. It’s Always About the Customer. Customers, and especially those you are selling luxury products to, want to be the center of attention. They want to be pampered and catered to. These aren’t negative qualities, they simply happen to be the preferred treatment for this demographic. To make them the center of attention, salespeople need to be able to customize their product suggestions to the individual customer... at that individual moment. Tastes and needs can change over time, so salespeople shouldn’t make general assumptions about what add-on is right for every customer.

To make this work, salespeople must constantly work on their communication and rapport-building skills. Customers will give you all of the information you need to make the right suggestion at the right time - as long as they trust you.

Let that sit for a minute.

That means there is a great deal of responsibility riding on how well those salespeople can get a complete stranger to trust them. Maintaining rapport and using the right questions at the right time will guide your salespeople to the perfect suggestion almost every time.

2. Keep Suggestions Relevant. There can be a tendency to use the same add-on features and benefits for every customer. This doesn’t work well in a luxury retail store. Remember, luxury customers want the entire experience (including the product) to be about them; unique, special, bespoke.

Coupled with robust product knowledge, proper sales training will allow your salespeople to demonstrate every nuance of the products they sell and how they complement each other. If all your salespeople know are the general talking points about a product, it’s hard for them to relate those products to new clients with different interests. They’re left with the option of having nothing relevant to say or, worse yet, making something up that can be fact-checked by the customer on their smartphone.

3. Keep the Focus on Value. I’ve said this many times, but it bears repeating, if the conversation stays focused on price, it’s nearly impossible to upsell or suggest useful add-ons. Customers can’t see the value as long as they focus on cost. Luxury shoppers may have more to spend, but that doesn’t mean they’re looking to throw money away. They’ve become luxury shoppers because they know the value of a dollar, and they want to know if what they’re getting for theirs is better than a mass-market product.

Well-trained salespeople know how to steer the conversation toward the overall value of the add-on product separate from its cost, even if it costs as much as the original item. They also know adding jewelry to a dress doesn’t create jewelry and a dress - it creates an ensemble. A luxury watch with engraving doesn’t make an etched watch - it makes a personalized timepiece.

Suggestive Selling means remaining Customer Focused

In all things retail, the focus must be on creating exceptional and personalized customer experiences. These suggestive selling tips are the natural outgrowth of that philosophy. It puts the customer at the center of attention.

The right retail sales training will teach your salespeople all the techniques they need to maximize that approach... and maximize revenue for your store.