How Associates Selling With Their Own Wallets Are Killing Your Retail Sales

hands opening empty wallet

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Let’s be honest. A lot of people are afraid of retail salespeople. For that matter, they are afraid of anyone who says they sell something.

Most people like the illusion that somebody is not selling them but just helping them.

As a retail expert and sales trainer, I can tell you:

Everyone is selling every single waking moment

  • You’re selling your husband that he should be the one to take out the trash.
  • Your students are selling you when they convince you they deserve a better grade.
  • Anyone who has gotten a loan, a job, or a date has had to sell someone on themselves.

They didn’t educate the other person. They sold. Their belief in the product sold you.

Likewise, if you felt you wouldn’t get the job, you sold them on how you didn’t deserve it. And you weren’t hired.

Selling is nothing more than a transference of feeling

If you were too afraid to talk to the girl or guy, you sold them on your lack of friendliness. 

Now if you’re trying to grow your retail sales, you have to believe in what you sell or you’ll never sell it.

The conversion problems plaguing department stores, almost every franchise, and independent retailer often start with employee attitudes toward selling.

Amazon's net sales keep rising, but you can’t shut them down. All you can work on is your own four walls.

Your employees and their training (or lack thereof) have allowed cancer to grow on sales floors worldwide.

Employees selling to the customer with their own wallet

That means the employee bases all their recommendations on the amount in their own wallet. Their attitude implies, “I wouldn’t pay that, and of course, you shouldn’t either.”

It leads to bottom-up selling where the employee, trying to educate the customer, starts with the entry-level product and says, “This is all you really need.”

And that’s what is leading to fewer sales and less profit.

It’s great to teach your associates how to become friends with customers because it builds trust. But with that trust, customers can be very susceptible to what the salesperson says to influence them.

A customer might really be taken by the Audi feature that shines the logo brightly on the ground when you open the door, so you can see where you’re stepping.

A salesman may not think it is worth the cost of the option, and they make their job twice as hard when they tell a customer, "You don’t need that option.” 

Customers often move heaven and earth to buy something that has some benefit an employee doesn’t value or think is important.  

Customers come in with their wallets full, ready to spend on just the right item

  • On a particular fabric that only comes on this luxury model.
  • On a hotel room with a view of Central Park with a balcony.
  • On a top-of-the-line refrigerator with an iPad interface and Internet access built-in.

Every store carries items that demand top prices and those that are less expensive.

If some of your employees have decided any features of your premium products are not worth it, they won’t try to sell them.

But to a premium customer, those little features can make all the difference. They have the money and are willing to spend it on:

  • The shirt that is single-needle stitched to be more comfortable to the skin even after repeated laundering…
  • The jacket with the floating chest piece that conforms to your body and fits better with time…
  • The shoes with the aniline dye which gives a deeper color and stays easy to polish…

These tangibles are what make the sale to the customers who want them.

You can’t allow associates to tell those customers that these features are useless.

You can’t let those associates try to friend your customer.  They’ll limit their customers’ buying and kill your business if they do.

Do you have employees who are using their own wallets for your customers? Everyone does.

What can you do about employees selling with their own wallets

Pick five products that are slow sellers. Ask your employees why they think those items don’t sell.

I’ll bet dollars to donuts they feel they are not worth the money. If you have to, hold up an item and ask them point-blank, “Do you think it’s worth the money?”

Don’t be surprised by their answers or think giving them more product knowledge will help. You must go further to their definition of what makes something worth its price.

You can't expect them to be able to afford all of your premium items but don't let that stop you from training!

They can always make a better sale by adding something like, "I wish I could afford that" or "I'm saving up to get one myself." Anything is better than dismissing a product's unique features as unnecessary.

You could also use this exercise as the basis for a store meeting or during an employee review for ones struggling with UPT and average sale.

Don't discourage customers from buying

There’s only one way a brick-and-mortar retailer is going to be successful, and that’s having a laser focus on what their employees bring to customers. 

I'm talking about any customer - the stranger who was willing to leave their house, find parking, and walk into your business to treat themselves on this particular day.

Every shopper loves to discover something new that makes a product unique, easier to use, and fun.

Don’t let an employee on your floor tell you they know what customers want.  And that all they want is the cheapest item in every category.

Every customer is unique. Every product should be unique. Every premium product is worth its price.

Without retail sales training, you have leagues of untrained employees hating selling, hating retail, hating goal setting, selling with their wallets, and choking off your cash flow.

With retail sales training like my SalesRX system, an employee is challenged to learn that selling is not vampirey or phony.

They learn there is a process that allows them to learn about each customer that allows that customer to comfortably spend as much money as they want from their own wallet.

And if you're looking to sell more of your merchandise than discount it,  let's talk about how I can help your employees - the ones looking for answers on this blog every day - grow your sales.

Contact Bob