Selling and how to sell is the most important skill every retailer should focus on.
What are retail selling techniques?
They are the orderly process of developing a connection between a shopper and a product through a human relationship on your sales floor.
Everyone sells - whether they call it that or not.
There's not a thread of clothing you are wearing, a drop of coffee you are drinking, or a piece of furniture you are sitting on that wasn't sold to someone.
But there's a disturbing trend in retail since the pandemic where associates are quick to lose a sale and say "you can order it online."
You will never get a better chance to make the sale than when someone is right in front of you looking at or holding your merchandise.
Even if you order for them on a tablet, the chance of a product return grows higher by the hour.
When you understand the selling behaviors and processes found in a complete retail sales training program, you can handle objections and add on to every sale.
That's what those who are winning customers during this time are doing.
Here are some quick ideas on how to improve retail sales...
11 retail selling tips to make more retail sales
1. Greet everyone with a smize
When you have to wear a mask, it can deaden your facial expression because so much of your face is covered. It is more important than ever to overcompensate for that by smiling with your eyes - smize.
It takes practice to lift the corners of your mouth until wrinkles appear by your eyes but it is the best way to make a good impression when a shopper first encounters you.
And as masks are generally going away, the principle still applies...maybe more so.
2. Expect to be able to sell to everyone
Before you clock in or step on the sales floor, stop yourself and do an expectation check. What are you concentrating on? Will customers be hostile, mean, penny-pinching lookie-loos or will it be a fun day helping people buy from you?
One of the old sales pros used to say, "Garbage in, garbage out" so take care what you listen to or watch before coming to work as it might trap you into a negative world-view.
3. Dress to impress shoppers
Yes, you can wear sneakers but no, you probably shouldn't.
A sign at Piperlime's pop-up store in SOHO said it all:
"It's time to give up lazy dressing altogether because it's time to look fabulous again. Let's show each other and ourselves a little more respect. Let's put Saturday night effort into Sunday afternoon. Let's remember you get what you dress for so let's get dressed."
Excellent points as we all struggle with Zoom calls and social distancing!
It is a fact that we love to talk about people. From the craziest internet stories to celebrity falls from grace, gossip is more popular than ever.
The danger is that it comes from a place where we feel better about ourselves at someone else's expense. That's the opposite of selling. You should feel better about someone as a result of them coming into your shop.
5. Find something to like about any stranger
Effective retail associate sales techniques require liking people before they like you. I know, this is hard but you can't judge a book by its cover or a customer by their clothes. When we do that to try to decide who is worth our efforts, we're oftentimes wrong and settle for crumbs when we can have the whole banquet.
6. Serve first to be able to sell
Knights of the round table used to kneel as an act of servitude to their master or other royalty.
Don't confuse this with being enslaved.
The act of serving another goes back to biblical times and is mentioned throughout literature as one of the greatest gifts to humanity. In retail right now, we often have sales staff acting as king or queen, as if they are doing the customer the favor. This is wrong.
7. Know your sales closing ratio
Keep count one day of every customer you encounter and every customer you ring up. Divide the two to find your ratio of sales to visits. This gives you the number of sales you close compared to the number of presentations you make of merchandise.
At first, this might be one out of every 10. With practice, you'll find by being aware of all the customers you had to sell, you've made more sales.
8. Sell something you hate
Find the ugliest one of your company's products you can. This shouldn't be hard. Determine to find five things about it you love using the feature "it has" to link to the benefit for the customer "so you."
What you'll find is that once you give up your assumptions and personal bias, you can find several things and use suggestive selling to make a compelling case of why a customer should buy an item.
9. Learn how to sell more expensive items without discounting
Sure it's 30% off and has free financing for 20 years. But something like that will sell itself - you're not stretching yourself. Increasing your product knowledge and retail sales training techniques will also increase sales.
10. Be willing to risk the customer walking away without buying
Sometimes, things just aren't going well. The customer is at odds with you and it just feels like you aren't on the same page. Ask, "Excuse me, but have I done something to offend you?"
If you say it without malice or sarcasm most will apologize and give you a reason that has nothing to do with you. Without getting that out of the way through, you're just frustrating yourself and the customer.
If that continues, they are bound to leave without buying anyway so why not risk getting it out of the way? By addressing it head-on, you oftentimes make the bigger sale.
11. Selling is a game you only partially control
Making a sale is very fluid, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you blow it and many times you make it happen.
The goal is definitely to sell everyone but lighten up, millions of orphans won't miss a meal because a customer walked out on you.
Be able to look at a sale afterward and say, "I could have done this better." Take stock and then move on because you have another opportunity to shine walking in the door.
Before Covid-19, it was easy to think associates could just wing it when trying to sell products worth a couple of bucks. With the waning of the pandemic, you can't just hope they will sell your more expensive or luxurious merchandise, you absolutely have to have a selling system.
And a smize can only go so far...
Using a proven selling system means you can engage any stranger, build rapport before giving the product features and benefits of the merchandise and get the customer to buy from you that day - at full price.
If you'd like help with that, please click the link below to learn about my online virtual retail sales training program SalesRX.
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor®, has helped hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses in every major category, including hospitality, manufacturing, service, and restaurant. He is a nationally recognized expert on business strategy, customer service, persuasion, and marketing. With over thirty years of experience beginning in the trenches and extending to senior management positions, he has been a corporate officer, franchisor, and entrepreneur.
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