Shopping, the great British Saturday afternoon pass time. How many times have you wandered aimlessly with your loved one, when all you want to do is watch the afternoon’s sports? I thankfully tend not to risk life and limb shopping in the high street these days. On the occasions that I do though, I am always disappointed at the lack of sales skills that the retail staff posses. I find it unlikely that some of the biggest brands on the high street don’t offer sales training, so I assume that the workers choose not to use it. The result? A huge amount of sales opportunities lost.
We’ve all been there, we walk into a shop and almost instantly the sales assistant enquirers if he may “help you?” or if we “need any help?”. I am going to sound a little cynical here, but surely the response 9 times out of 10 will be a “no thank you” or a “I’m just looking”. The “just looking” response is a strange one…surely nobody looks at items for sale unless they are interested in buying them in the first place! This response is a British one, one which underlines our hatred or unwillingness to be open about our purpose.
The truth is also that we don’t like being confronted, being put under any form of pressure and we especially don’t like being “sold to”. The quickest way to avoid this is to respond with a “no” and quickly!
Some people may see sales staff as commission based vultures, sure some maybe, and it’s likely that some sales staff see customers as time wasters or an extra few pound. People working in sales’ success is dependent on the opening question. A closed question such as “can I help?” invited a “yes/no” answer, which is pretty difficult to move on from. If you work in sales, focus on using open questions, which invite conversation. For example, try “what kind of television are you looking for?”. This approach tells the customer that you know they are looking to buy and you are then inviting them to have a discussion about their preferences with you.
Yes it is simplistic, but this slight change in your approach is likely to have a huge impact in the number of sales that you generate on the shop floor.