Shut Up And Start Selling - How To Redirect From Sabotage To Retail Sales Success


how to sell in retail store

I was in a sporting goods store when I overheard a department manager talking to a clerk while about a half dozen shoppers walked around.

“What are you doing standing behind the register?” he asked.

The clerk replied, “I’m letting them look.” Meanwhile a customer, trying to find her size in a stack of jerseys, smiled and gave up. The manager saw her resignation, went over, and helped her.

With traffic counts down (for some retailers in the double-digits), the panic to do something has led to multiple initiatives from retailers to try to save their shrinking piece of the pie.

Having your clerks just tell you they are doing their job won’t help.

No, your clerk doesn’t know their shopper is just looking because that’s what they replied when asked, “How are you today?”

No, your clerk doesn’t know what their shopper needs because they were directly asked when they came in the shop.

And no, you don’t know their shopper is only just price shopping because your clerk told you so.

The goal of hiring salespeople in the first place is to have associates who will actively participate with every shopper to get the sale.

You don’t hire salespeople to give excuses and tell you why they can’t.

When employees tell you they can’t, what they mean is they can’t get an easy sale.

Know what? They’re right, the easy sales are online.

It’s easy to treat the shopper in your store as a them and not as an individual deserving of care and consideration.

When you create a meaningful conversation, not a product-driven one, you are able to not only sell a product that day, but you also give them the reason to come back again. That takes retail sales training.

Very few people in the world can instinctively model how to engage a stranger with an open heart, how to be curious about them as a person first and a customer second. Few employees know how to show their shopper products they hadn’t thought of that they might appreciate that would add-on to the sale.

There is such a culture of know-nothings, who feel selling is vampire-y, especially among Millennials. They feel that trying to help someone with a sales process is like a vulture looking for roadkill to pick the meat off of.

That’s just stupid.

Those attitudes are luxuries your business cannot afford.

Because they view selling as fake, many associates feel it is genuine to routinely say, “Hi how are you? Can I help you find something? Do you have a budget?”

But none of those mindless questions will start a relationship!

A couple weeks ago, I went into my favorite men’s shirt company and the woman standing in front of the counter greeted me...well greeted my back with, “Do you know our brand story?”

I replied, “Yes,” at which point she turned and went back behind the register. Sale lost.

By the way, the next week that same brand, for the first time, sent out a coupon for 20% off everything in their stores.

Another time... at another famous designer store...I encountered a greeter stationed at the door. He half-heartedly held the door open for me and simply said, like a toy whose battery was almost empty, “Men’s in the back.” Once inside the clerks were no better, “Let me know if you need anything.” Sale lost.

And people wonder why their sales are down. Geez. Your own crew is sabotaging you.

And don’t think for a minute more discounts are going to save you.

Discounts are just a going-out-of-business sale on a payment plan.

See also, How To Sell To Difficult Customers

In Sum

Nodding the head does not row the boat. - Irish Proverb

Do you know how many retailers I talk to in a month who offer no sales training? Who have no performance reviews? Who have no KPIs to measure each employee’s effectiveness?

Plenty. retail sales training mindset

Why don’t they do it?

They themselves believe selling is pushy.

Beneath them.

Something others less pure than themselves have to do.

I have news for them, they’re sabotaging their business as much as their employees are sabotaging their sales.

Their shoppers are out there - they are. Millions of them.

I see them walk in and out of stores without buying anything because no one made a connection. These shoppers feel lonelier leaving these stores than they did going in.

Their one hope they probably weren’t even aware of was to have someone during those few minutes seem like they genuinely cared about them.

That hope, that welcome feeling doesn’t come from a friends and family day coupon being handed out at the door, a floor-to-ceiling sign screaming SALE, or a new app.

It comes from human beings meeting human beings. And when your employees aren’t trained - and it takes a lot of training, believe me - that’s your fault.

I’ve made it easy for you with my online retail sales training program.

You just have to decide if your business is hurting enough to lose the excuses and warrant change.

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