Customers Come To Buy. Don’t Let Them Walk Without Being Sold

By Bob Phibbs

retail customer service selling tipsImagine cooking a recipe and then leaving the food in the pan without serving it.

That would have wasted your time…

Lazy or untrained employees do a similar thing to your customers - by not selling them and instead just wasting their time.

Recently RetailWire reposted a blog of mine, How To Help Associates Conquer Their Selling Fears. It was presented as a discussion so experts could share their opinions.

Chris Petersen, President of Integrated Marketing Solutions, questioned, “Do today’s customers want to be SOLD something?”

Another said, “Show me the faucets, tell me the pros and cons. Don’t show me the sinks, the water softeners, and don’t talk to me about anything else. Just give me the information I need.”

I say shoppers do want to be sold something and they want to know more than just a list of features. They want a total solution, not just the piece they came in thinking they needed.

Once again, let me remind you, brick and mortar retailing is far more than a warehouse.

The reason you want to sell a shopper is to help them make up their mind...and then, of course, to close the sale.

“The goal of retail selling,” as commenter Dave Wendland, VP of Hamacher Resource Group, added, “is to provide customers with a more complete solution – isn’t that what they came to the store for in the first place?”

Exactly.

When a customer doesn’t buy from you on the day they walk into your store, you have wasted their time.

If you think just talking to them was enough…

Well, you’re wrong.

That’s because…

No one has the luxury of a leisurely jaunt to a store.

No one jumps in a car, goes through traffic, through snow, sleet, or heat, then tries to find a parking place just to head into your brick and mortar store to hear a bunch of pros and cons about an item...

Especially since they probably already looked it up online.

And no one wants to be so overwhelmed with information that they shut down and leave empty-handed saying I’ll have think about it.

That’s because a shopper walking into your store came to get a solution to something.

A gift for their mom in a nursing home…

A repair to a leaky cedar roof…

A new sound system for their IMac…

Even if they came in asking for…

A dozen roses…

A gallon of tar patch…

A Bose set of speakers…

But they don’t always walk out with what they came to get. And they definitely won’t walk out with more.

There are always ways to sell a shopper to make their visit more meaningful, easier, and complete.

Shoppers visiting your brick and mortar location do in fact want to be sold something…or more accurately, they want to buy something. Their doubts have to be banished and that comes from a well-trained salesperson.

(Just to be clear, I'm not talking about maniuplating someone to buy tin siding or something they don't have any interest in.)

Without the drive to fulfill the customer’s desire to purchase something that will make their life easier, more comfortable, or more meaningful, - buy the item they came in for -  you will have robots on your salesfloor waiting to deliver whatever is asked for.

However…

If, when I was at a home store to pick up a box of wood screws and an employee engaged me just a bit, and asked me if I’ve ever had screwheads snap off during a project and I replied yes

If he then told me that this other box of screws - the more expensive box - was stronger and the heads won’t snap, I would love it. I would appreciate being SOLD. I would have had bought those screws and had an easier time putting my deck together. I would have bought more items to complete the job. And I would have gone back again… maybe to buy furniture, a barbeque or flowers once the deck was completed.

But most stores nowadays do nothing of the kind…

They’ve used price as their one lever of trying to gain engagement with a shopper.  

They’ve become used to settling for crumbs instead of realizing they could have had the whole feast with retail sales training that impacts every sale, not just the discount shopper.

If only they could see that selling a customer a purchase needs to be as natural as the shopper coming into the store.

In Sum

Not selling is like saying there are no winners or losers in a game; the fact each person participated is enough.  

But in life and in retail, there are winners and losers.

You must make the sale or you waste the customer’s time and interest.

And they never return.

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