5 Retail Sales Mistakes That Cost You Business

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Having written the book on retail sales, I am often asked what are the biggest mistakes retailers and their employees make.

Before I get to those, I want to make sure you understand that while everyone thinks increasing sales and attracting new business comes from marketing, that's only part of the solution.


Because your marketing really just gets them to the door, how you actually convert those new shoppers to buyers in your brick and mortar location is all that matters.

And that's where so many retailers fall down. Hard...

"They fall down on the experience a customer has in their retail store."

Marketing brings customers to the door. These five retail selling mistakes send them out empty-handed. 

Five retail selling mistakes you have to eliminate

1. Clustering behind the counter

The employee hopes that their manager will perceive them as ready, willing, and able to help the next customer that passes through the door, while the employee really just wants to kill some time gabbing with his work friends.

Those employees who instigate clustering not only provide terrible customer service that results in low conversion rates of their own but also spoil the conversion rates of their team and indeed, the whole store.

Discover: 50 Things Your Employees Can Do When It's Not Busy

2. Leaving customers alone to browse

The employee tells their manager that customers do not want to be bothered until they are ready.

How would they know if the customer has not even been greeted?

On the contrary, most customers appreciate some direction and, once greeted, are more likely to engage with a salesperson later in their shopping.

If you don't have a selling process for your store, customers probably want to be left alone because the employee is just a body with no personality. Or your employees use the excuse, "I want to be left alone when I shop".

Leaving customers alone can be the losers limp leading you to think your store needs yet another sale or coupon. Nothing could be further from the truth.

3. Assuming the customer can't afford it

Veteran salespeople as well as new ones make this mistake but veterans have the good sense to not let it become a habit. Judging a book by its cover can cost you.

Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg walked into your store in his signature flip-flops, hoodie, and jeans, who on your staff might think he could be seemingly down on his luck? Yet in reality, he has the wherewithal to buy your entire store.

Retail sales training is the place to address this pesky trend in retail.

4. Running to the counter before the customer

This tactic is another symptom of a sales associate who would rather be doing something, that is, anything, rather than engaging a customer. Walking with a customer to the counter is the perfect time to upsell and should not be rushed.

5. Not inviting the customer to return

First impressions do count but the last impression is the one that customers remember. Retail salespeople must thank the customer for their business and invite them to return.

A superior manager will set a good example to reinforce this behavior by spending time thanking customers - especially during the busiest part of the day.

As you can see, these five retail sales mistakes are not particularly difficult to avoid if one pays attention, hires well, and employs a good retail sales training program.

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Access My FREE 5-Part Retail Sales Training Course