Greeting Your Customer: Tagging Leads to Higher Retail Sales

Bob Phibbs
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how to sell more in your store

Shoppers are time-pressing and running in and out of your store not necessarily knowing what they want.

The average shopper, out of all the stores they walk past in a mall, only goes into three. So when customers come in, you need to greet them differently from other stores.

That's because anytime someone walks into your store– you have at least a one in three chance they’ll be buying something for themselves or a friend.

Most stores allow salespeople to ask if they need any help, so shoppers are immediately on the defensive. Or the employee yells a greeting at the customer from over the counter. Or ignores them completely.

That's not how people open their wallets to you...

How to tag customers and improve your conversion rate

When I perform retail sales training, I make the following demonstration. Once a salesperson spots a shopper looking at all your great stuff, you should grab a prop, walk up to them with a cheerful greeting, and walk on after mentioning something specific.

The prop gives you the reason to walk onto the shopper while it appears like you are stocking something. That’s tagging.

The shopper doesn't even have time to get their guard up.

Here's an example:

If you are a gift store, when you see someone milling about in front of a display, get over there with a prop and greet them with something like “Welcome to (name of your store), take a look around and I'll be right back.” Then, go on with your prop to something else.

Too often salespeople hover or attach themselves to someone right when they walk in. It's like grabbing the fly swatter as the fly comes in the window.

Shoppers feel smothered and will avoid asking you anything. Especially Amiable personality styles. They say “no” they are “just looking".

You should let them land and get a sense of what your shop is all about. You control that by the statements you make to them from the outset.

Approach with a statement, not a question

When you’re ready to approach them a second time, don’t ask if they’re “finding everything.” Instead, walk past them and make a statement about a specific piece of merchandise.

Examples would be, “That sweater has a hidden pocket so you can put your iPod in it,” or “We have some more gift packs over here with Belgian chocolate in them,” or “If you have a gift list, we can ship anywhere in the U.S.”

You're just adding a bit more information, without the customer having to ask or become spooked. The key is to make statements, not ask questions. That way, no response is required. The customer can’t say “No.”

See also: Ten Retail Sales Tips

Find a reason to walk by without focusing on the customer

The key to a successful tag is to convincingly have a destination other than the customer. That’s where your prop comes in. The customer will feel more relaxed, feel you are not solely focused on them, and eventually be receptive to your suggestions.

That way you won’t be seen as pushy, just helpful. Then they’ll feel they can trust you – even though you tagged them.

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