Retail Sales Tips - 5 Lies Customers Tell And How To Sell Around Them

Are your customers lying to you?

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Lies customers tell. They're rarely talked about. Maybe some shoppers feel salespeople can’t be trusted. But retailers are often faced with selling to customers who tell white lies to avoid purchasing expensive items.

Here are five of the most common lies I’ve come across and how retail salespeople can handle them to still have a chance of making the sale:

1. We can't afford it

As retail salespeople, we hear that people haven't got the money. The danger of believing this line is that we often project that onto all customers and let that be an excuse. We tell ourselves people just aren't buying. Research shows that’s never true. Even during downtimes, customers still buy. Your excuse may make you feel better, but it won't get you the sale.

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People who don't have money don't go shopping. Your goal is to help the shopper see that by not purchasing that specific product, they are making their life more difficult, not easier. You have to give them the features and benefits throughout the sale to show them that this product is the best buy for them right now. Another way to still get the sale is to sell down from the more expensive option you’ve shown them. Show them a similar and cheaper product, but make sure they know that they will be giving up one or two features they said were important to them.

2. Just looking

We hear this in response to our greeting and think, They don’t need my helpThe danger of believing this is that you passively wait for customers to say, "I'll take it."And, as a business owner, believing that they actually don't need your help is like settling for breadcrumbs when you could have the feast. 

Instead, when a customer says, “I’m just looking,” to you, simply answer, “That’s great, we have lots to look at, including our newest product we just got in over here,” and then leave them. Once you see them pick something up, you can wait a bit, return, and try to build rapport. Bombarding them with items without first building rapport could make them angry enough to leave.

You can make the sale if you see “just looking” as a stepping stone instead of a cliff.

3. We'll look around

At the close of a retail sale, we often hear, "This product isn’t what we want." With such a general statement, customers are really saying, "We want to get away from you" and "We don’t want to hurt your feelings."

Instead of trying to show them more products or ask them more questions, turn over the sale to another sales associate. Sometimes, personalities aren't a good fit, and acknowledging that happens before they walk out the door can boost your conversion rates substantially.

4. I have to ask my husband (or wife)

This can happen anywhere, but usually at the close of the sale, and we think, "They aren't the decision-maker." They are saying that they still don't trust you as a salesperson. You probably haven’t built rapport before you began pitching your products. Once you hear that, though, repeat back to them in a kindly manner what they said they were looking for. Then, give them three benefits of your product and shut up.

If they really do have to ask their husband, wife, or partner, you’ve armed them with a bullet list of reasons why purchasing this product is a smart decision. Just as often, though, they will hear your reasons and go ahead and purchase it right then – provided you built enough rapport for them to trust you.

5. It is too expensive

We hear, "You're over-priced." The danger is you start to believe them and then try to find a way to lower your price. Once that happens, you have become more of a commodity. Price doesn’t make something a good value. People do.

The customer is saying it's too expensive for the benefit. I think I'll get out of it. If this is your customer, they need to hear that this product will make something in their life easier, more comfortable, or more special. You work around these items every day, and you know why they cost more. Your customers don’t, so make sure you take the time to educate them so they can treat themselves to what they deserve.

See also, 11 Ways To Get Better At Selling

Wrap up

Have you had those days when you could sell anything to anyone? And days when you couldn’t sell anything to anyone? We all have.

One of the big lies we tell ourselves as retail salespeople is that when sales slump, it’s all the customers’ fault.

More often than not, it’s the attitude and energy we bring to the selling situation. If things aren’t going well for you – by all means, take a break from the sales floor. Shoot some imaginary hoops in the stockroom, walk to clear your head, look at pictures of something you’re particularly proud of – your kids, your house, or a great vacation, or listen to a motivational recording.

Can you make every sale in retail? Of course not.

Retail selling is just a game. But you can increase your odds by not considering your customers’ excuses.

You are paid to find a way to get the sale by providing an ethical and win-win solution for everyone involved.