Retail Sales Strategy: How to Turn a Sale Around

walking under an umbrella in the rain

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Selling in a retail store means there are times you know a big sale is in trouble. This post will help you know how to turn a sale around in your store before it is too late.

It seems like a complex thing to teach but address the basics first.

Here's how to turn a sale around:

1. See if there were physical cues things weren't going well. For example, were either their arms or your arms crossed? How about your legs or theirs? Closed body positions show mistrust.

If it is you, you could be unconsciously telegraphing you are afraid of the customer, the product doesn't do what you say it does, or you want to protect yourself because you feel it is so expensive.

If the customer is closed, it shows they do not trust you. Until you get that conquered, the sales process is stuck. Try handing them a sample, asking more questions about where the item might be used, or using Windows of Contact to find common ground.

2. Determine if you are selling to a different personality style than your own. You may be trying to sell someone who likes to be seen as independent. This Analytical personality style only selects products that make sense, are of good value, or are on sale. You may be an Analytical yourself but are selling to someone who doesn't care about the facts, just how popular it is, or it is the best - those require different words to sell

As a sales trainer, when we reflect on what happened during a sale, I often find a clash between personalities that causes customers not to buy, not the lack of need for your products. Or, for that matter, not the lack of a discount.

My friend David recently visited a furniture store and told the salesman he was looking for a couch. Being an Amiable personality, David was listening to the guy (an Analytical) tell him everything about how the wood was chosen, how the Dupont fabric resisted stains, how much money he was saving, the “no tax” additional discount, and the fact he could take it home that day.

The information overwhelmed David, tripped his “idiot switch,” and prompted him to inform the salesman that he’d have to think about it.

The guy said, “What’s wrong with you, are you sick or something?” David laughed as he walked out the door, never to return.

All David needed to know was how the couch would fit in his house. The salesperson was giving him far too much information and snapped.

See also, Lost a Sale? It All Started With How You Greeted Your Customer

In Sum


The trick in retail selling is knowing the signs before you or the customer snaps and then subtly dealing with the personality in front of you.

My book from Wiley: The Retail Doctor's Guide to Growing Your Business covers this extensively.