How To Close A Sale? Address Shoppers Five Roadblocks
By Bob Phibbs
The days of trying to make shoppers buy something are gone. Even if you still try to use old school closing techniques, the world has changed.
Shoppers are done with buying at the convenience of the retailer.
Shoppers are done with having to buy whatever the employee is spiffed on this week.
Shoppers are tired of having their best intentions to shop at a brick and mortar store rewarded with bad customer service.
In short, they’re done with the stress of trying to navigate around unhelpful salespeople.
That's why, according to Statista, about 20-30% of shoppers prefer to shop online. That means when people go out to shop, it’s not something they have to do, it is something they want to do.
There must be greater urgency to closing a sale because there are fewer shoppers walking through your doors.
And if your store isn't worth that special trip, it's likely they won’t come back.
Yes, the stakes have risen for both the retailer trying to keep the lights on and for their employees trying to make goals or commissions. You might be reading this right now to learn how to be a better salesperson because how well you can close the sale affects your income.
What is closing a sale? Closing the sale is the end of a selling process where the shopper exchanges money for a product and takes ownership.
We only talk about how to close a sale when a shopper interfaces with an employee. In a hair salon, it could be convincing a client to get a color with a haircut; in a men’s apparel store, it could be as the shopper is looking in the mirror and says, I’ll take it;. In a hardware store, it could be when the shopper, after talking with an associate decides it would be simpler to buy a new faucet than try to fix the old one.
In many ways, closing the sale is helping the shopper do what they already came into your store to do which was to buy.
You not only have to be able to become a trusted advisor, you have to match their wants with your products, and also override any bad feelings they’ve ever had about risking their hard-earned money on something that didn’t deliver.
Here are five reasons why customers don't buy that you must address to close more sales in your retail store
1. No need. Shoppers pull away from buying when they don’t trust the person they are dealing with. They will convince themselves what they have is good enough and might tell the salesperson I don’t need it.
You must be curious as to why this shopper is in your store today and now or you won’t be able to build trust. You must also have the ability to change gears to speak the same language so the shopper hears you and understands.
That means you must know your own personality strengths and weaknesses and be able to identify the personality style of the complete stranger standing in front of you.
Only if you can bond with a shopper as an individual first, will you be able to whittle down your product choices from the many you have to offer, to the one just for this shopper. Often when a shopper feels they don’t need something, it comes from an associate trying to sell them the wrong product.
To avoid this, establish a need for the product you are selling early on. Understand that what they were using broke or wore out (think window blinds), discover what they need that they don't currently have (think a new baby crib or handbag to go with a dress,) or uncover what they are facing that they need help with (think losing weight, getting married, or building a deck).
2. No emotion. You have to nurture their interest in a product, not with a Pollyanna Oh that's really nice but by carefully presenting supporting information about why it looks so unique, feels so light, wears so well, etc.
Painting pictures once you have an idea of what a shopper values can help them become emotionally attached to it. Can you see the look on her face when she opens this? or Imagine not having to deal with that ever again can help the shopper become emotionally invested in buying the product.
Remember, your job as a salesperson is to help give your shopper the ability to treat themselves, accomplish what they left their house to do, and be rewarded for spending the time in your store to weigh their choices.
3. No urgency. Shoppers who say they are on the fence or they can wait are giving you mixed messages. They had committed to changing their life with a purchase or they wouldn’t have walked in your door today. If they could have waited, they would have purchased online.
A lack of urgency can also be the result of giving them too many choices. Too many choices leads to confusion, and a confused mind can't make a decision for something worth more than a Frappuccino. I have to ask someone is a way of putting off making that decision.
But it can also be as a result from an untrained salesperson simply not asking clearly and directly for the sale. If a shopper says, I’ll wait, ask them what they will do if they don’t get it today. This helps the shopper see that the problem will continue unless they move forward now.
Again, you must believe their urgency is real.
4. No trust. People buy people first. Trust is the number one reason shoppers buy from you. You must do everything to build trust from the moment you first greet the shopper.
You want the shopper to feel you understand them and ideally, you share some common interest. Without building trust early, the shopper won’t believe your later claims or see the value in your products. They’ll feel you are selling them.
One easy way to help build trust is to use the Feel, Felt, Found method: I understand how you feel about this product, buying something expensive, etc.; I felt the same way too until I purchased it and found it saved me time, wore well, etc.
If you have real customer stories to offer, here’s where you share them using the same Feel, Felt, Found method to show how others who trusted you achieved similar results. And don’t bullshit them here.
5. Price sensitivity. Most salespeople love to believe every missed sale boiled down to price, but that is a loser’s limp. It's never about price, it's about them weighing your price in relation to the words you've used to describe how their life will be easier, better, or sexier.
People will move heaven and earth to buy something if they clearly understand the benefits, not just the features of your products.
One way to deal with price sensitivity is to wait for the shopper to select one product before trying to justify the price on several.
The only way to ensure you can close the sale is to discover a shopper’s reasons for buying. Why today did she skip using the shopping app on her phone, leave her house and get in her car, drive in the rain, snow, or heat, through traffic and passed your competitors, to find a parking place and walk into your store?
If you can't answer that at the end of engaging with a shopper, you probably didn't do very well in serving them. People buy for all kinds of reasons and on all kinds of timelines and it’s usually a combination of reasons they can’t articulate.
The old way to make a sale was to shower a shopper with every feature you could think of in hopes that one of them would magically resonate with the shopper and they'd leave your store with the product.
But it’s 2018. Shoppers are walking into your store knowing more about your products than you do.
Can you make them buy something? You can certainly browbeat them, make them feel stupid, and trick them to buy, but that’s a recipe for returns and bad customer reviews.
Unless you can engage a shopper and build enough confidence to become their trusted advisor, connect to them on an emotional level, remove the risk of the product not doing what they want, understand what their need really is – that is not a product but a feeling - have the ability to compare and contrast various models to deal with price sensitivity, and yes simply ask for the sale, you'll probably struggle with closing more sales.
You can’t close every sale, but you can use these retail selling techniques to help every shopper treat themselves and do what they wanted to do when they left their house... and that was to buy a product from you.
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