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    How should I greet a shopper?

    Q: "I own a baby store. I love the idea of asking a good open-ended question when customers walk in. I just can't figure out what to ask. For the longest time, I've asked, ''Let me know what you're searching for today and I'll be glad to help you.'"

    A: Yes, that's terrible because look, here's the thing, people have three stages they go through to buy something. The first is awareness, "I think I want to buy something. I don't know what it is. I am going to walk into this store and hope somebody speaks to me." That's 60% of people, they just know they want something, they don't know what it is.

    The second is the consideration phase. "I looked online, do I want this version? Do I want that version? Do I want the one in this color or that color?" Consideration is about 30%.

    Just 10% of a shopper intent is decision. "I went online, I saw this, I want this. This is the model I want. This is what I'm going into the store to buy."

    So when you ask, "Let me know what you're searching for today and I'll be glad to help you," what part of those three sections are you talking to? You're talking to 10%, so that's why I don't ask that.

    Here's the thing about selling in a retail store, it's transactional, it's short. It is not the same as buying online where we type "This is what I'm looking for," and it comes back.

    Most people do not know what the hell they want when they walk in. So why do you try to tie them down? You have got to go through a sales process that greets them in such a way that they let down their guard enough that you can build rapport with them so that you become a trusted advisor so that then you can give them the tour of the store and you can go through and get them to tell you about the situation they're in, not necessarily the product they're looking for. You give them the features of it but more importantly, the benefits that answers what all you've learned, and then you add on something to make the sale. That's how it works.

    Most independent retailers pride themselves on winging it, which you can't do. And they've cut out that first third of the sale, which is laying the foundation, the electrical, the plumbing before the skyscraper of the sale can ever rise. And then they wonder why people say, "Just looking."

    Because you are trying to make people do something or you're just passively saying the same thing to everybody and that just doesn't work.I'm taking a writing course how to be a better writer. And one of the things you learn is that your stories are boring. Anybody can write a story but a great writer creates an image where it captures the reader and then they've got to stay and turn the page.

    It's the same thing I teach in sales training. So when you're struggling with what to ask, just think what you don't like when you go into a store. "Hi, can help you find something?" You hate that, so why do you say some variation of it?

    The way you greet a customer simply say, "Good morning, good afternoon, good evening."

    Just shut up and say that. Why? Because people can't say no to "Good morning."  Isn't that a nicer way to start your conversation with "Thank you" than "Leave me the hell alone?" Because the reason why people say, "Leave me the hell alone" is because of what we bring to the sale, not the shopper.

    See also, Greeting Your Customer: Tagging Leads to Higher Retail Sales

    You know, for $195 a month you could just get online and you can have me virtually train you exactly how to do it right instead of trying to wing it. Because an awful lot of retailers right now are trying to wing it.

    You could have the most beautiful store, the most beautiful images, the most high-end. But at the end of the day, where do people fall flat is in the soft skills of engaging other human being. So if that's interesting to you, I encourage you to check that out,"

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