Best Suggestive Selling Tips and Techniques for Luxury Retail Stores
By Bob Phibbs
You want fries with that? is probably the most derided add-on question ever asked.
And at that time, the most valuable.
Just by training their employees to ask everyone the same question, McDonalds increased their sales dramatically.
Authors Jeffrey Stamp and Doug Hall revealedin 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 have before you try to get them to come back more often or try to get new ones.
Using suggestive selling is a great way to increase you per-ticket sales and generate more revenue for your retail store.
Nowadays, you can’t get much traction by asking everyone the same question over and over.
Once you’ve connected on a personal level to a customer looking to purchase a luxury item for example, 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.
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, 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 who 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 it, your profit really only comes in the second item a customer buys.
Here Are Three 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 need to constantly work on their communications 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 an oftentimes complete stranger to trust them. Maintaining rapport and using the right questions at the right time will guide your salespeople to the perfect suggestion most 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 show every nuance of the products they sell and how those products complement each other. If all your salespeople know are the general talking points about a product, then 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 then 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. As long as the customer is focused on cost, they can’t see value. 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 experiences for the customers. 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.
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