Secrets To Better Selling in Retail Stores: Knowing To Notice Yourself

reflection in puddle

Access My FREE 5-Part Retail Sales Training Email Course!

Updated April 19, 2024

The selling problem for most retail salespeople isn’t the merchandise.

It’s noticing.

It’s listening.

It’s understanding language and personality type.

In old-school sales training, you never had to observe something about the customer, witness some behavior, or testify about your life experiences.

You were taught to do the same thing to all customers and manage their relevant information to get them to open their wallets.

It wasn’t essential to consider…

  • Why did the customer ask for such a particular item...

  • Why did they phrase their request just that way…

  • Why were they in your shop today when they could have been elsewhere...

We were taught to divorce our experience as a customer to sell someone something.

No wonder so many people say they hate selling.

To become good at selling, you need to trust your experiences as a customer to serve one. This requires no new skill; you’ve been doing it since birth.

To improve your sales techniques, notice the minutest details of your behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and voice when you shop. No one has to permit you to see these instincts, only you.

And once you notice your actions, you discover how to influence others. Did you avoid someone after they made you respond to their “How are you today?” question? Then don’t do it when you talk to customers in your store.

Do you hate being ignored while waiting at the counter in a retail store? Then, diligently watch the counter instead of straightening the widgets on the rack.

When you master these observation skills, you can do whatever you want because people pay for perceptive people. Perceptive people have come to embrace their voices and share openly with strangers.

Without finding this authentic voice, you remain one of the mute, the wounded, the cynical, hoping for Prince (or Princess) Charming to rescue you from your current job, circumstance, and life.

You never learn to notice - not even what truly interests you - much less share it with another human one-on-one. Yet that’s what companies are truly looking for in a great employee.

What you get from all this noticing is trust, ease, and confidence that lets your mind fully concentrate on what makes every human interaction different.

When you sell like a pro, you know how each sentence fits to make the sale and what exact choices you made at different points during the sale. Those hidden choices provide a thoroughly satisfying shopping experience for the customer.

But that can only happen by being a fully engaged human - noticing another person in front of you.

This can be surprisingly hard to do...

When things go wrong, it takes noticing that as well.

I can’t tell you how often, when working one-on-one with retail salespeople, I ask them where they are in the sale—and they haven’t got a clue. They have been so used to spewing the same useless drivel, having sold in the same boring, repetitive way for so long, that they are oblivious.

Like a snowplow after a storm, they want to push the customer out of their way to get to the end and then repeat the process.

I know many who just “wing it.” They think the five parts to a sale diminish their unique abilities. When they try it, their self-consciousness thwarts the process, and they say it is “too hard.”

That’s ridiculous...

Talking to someone is natural.

Every customer is different.

You must be different with every customer.

You must notice how they are an individual.

As much as you can, articulate what you have in common.

And just because you struggle with some retail customers doesn’t mean they are all one way or another.

It’s just the nature of the beast.

But it's hard when customers don’t buy from you, especially if you work on a bonus or commission program.

But instead of saying it’s all the customer’s fault, let’s admit that someone didn’t buy many times because…

There was a lack of confidence in the product or salesperson’s abilities.

You, as a salesperson, failed to focus on that one person.

You jumped into the features of the product before you established trust.

And that was because you feared or ignored that other person.

And kept forgetting to notice.

Or you told yourself they weren’t going to buy it anyway because you wouldn’t buy it either.

Ultimately, it comes down to not trusting yourself enough to be able to show up as a real person and meet another person.

Selling doesn’t just happen unless you’re discounting. Then you’re not selling; you’re playing Santa Claus.

In Sum

Sales must be created, discovered, encouraged, and constructed.

What happens when you do that?

Customer reactions reveal a variety of emotions, instances, stories, and nuances—even humor. Humor is great because it comes from honesty.

You have to sell every time, any time, under any conditions – whether that’s when it’s just you and a customer looking for an expensive gift, or you’re waiting on five people at once, or it’s the first sale of the day.

All you need to do is show up as a human being each time.