How To Close Retail Sales: Identify The Customer Conversion Points
By Bob Phibbs
I can’t tell you how many people ask me to speak at a whole seminar on tricks how to close a sale.
That’s because the sale goes way off track much earlier at the beginning – it’s too late at the end –unless you want to try to muscle a sale, ruin your online reputation and more often than not have the item returned or a chargeback.
I’ve written about how a poor greeting sets you up for a low close ratio.
I’ve written about how too much information can distance a customer by making them feel stupid.
I've written about what a retail conversion rate is and how to increase it.
Today, get above how to close a sale to look at the various conversion points in your store. Most will happen during the sale but a few will happen prior.
What is a conversion point?
It’s where a customer’s state changes. They go from being disinterested to interested.
From being passive to being active.
From silent to sharing.
There are several times a customer should figuratively raise their hand and say, I’m in or Tell me more. When you understand the conversion points in your store, you are looking for each of those raised hands which lets you know they are proceeding along the way to buying the item. For that reason sometimes we refer to these as buying signs.
After you fail to close a sale, when you unpack the encounter, you frequently find the shopper didn’t raise their hand to learn more, to pick something up or to ask questions.
People don’t buy unless they’ve given buying signs.
Even then, if you have a clueless salesperson that doesn’t know how to actively listen, they may not realize it and just vomit the same canned pitch from the 90’s with irrelevant information thwarting the sale.
On the other hand…
When your retail sales training has these conversion goals in mind, it helps the salesperson keep from winging it and leaving money on the table.
It also makes it a heck of a lot easier to mentor them.
Remember,every sale you don’t make is making a competitor’s sale.
What does that mean?
Shoppers who have a bad experience at one store are much more vocal about what they want and don’t want. They also rarely return to the original store in hopes of finding a different experience.
Every person on your salesfloor needs to understand what these conversion points are and what you need to accomplish at each.
Here are some of the basics:
Before they visit your store
When someone calls, your goal is to convert them from asking questions on the phone to getting them to visit the store.
If you sell in-home, your goal should still be to get them in the store first so you can whittle down all your options to just a few. That way the time in the home is spent measuring and confirming. There’s simply no way of personalizing the experience when you are guessing what to bring and what will fit in your trunk.
When they are in your retail store
When a shopper is in your store, the goal is to convert them from a silent browser to an engaged shopper. A proper greeting encourages this.
After the salesperson has built rapport, the goal for someone new to the store is to get them to take a store tour.
Before you start to present the merchandise, you want the customer to convert from just asking about a product to telling you what they are trying to accomplish. Having one open-ended question can help with this.
When the salesperson is showing the features and benefits of an item, the conversion goal is have them hold it, feel it or climb into it.
Your goal is to present as much relevant information that the shopper converts from considering an item to seeing in their home. Listen for questions about how to take care of something, replacement parts or dimensions.
And of course the conversion point from shopper to customer.
Your business may have more conversion points. The goal is to look for those moments and train on ways to get that shopper to raise their hand signifying they are liking what they are hearing, seeing or feeling which all leads to the greatest conversion point, I’ll take it.
If you have no sales training, your customer experience is probably: wait for a customer to ask question, show them product, and hope they buy. No wonder such stores have miserable conversion rates.
When you understand these conversion points, taking the shopper from disinterested and passive to active, they can give you more buying signs as they convert deeper into seeing themselves owning your product.
That way when you get to the actual point of I’ll take it, you know they will because you’ve noted every conversion point they made during the sale.
From that your confidence that you have what the shopper needs or wants builds with each step until you arrive at the inevitable conclusion.
How will you know you nailed it?
Your attention to the conversion points leads to increased retail conversion rates in your retail store.
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