“Can I help you find something?” What is it with this line that’s used today?
“Are you finding everything okay?”
“How is everything tasting?”
The common thread among these phrases is that they’re all lame excuses for trying to drum up some interaction with customers.
But the alternate is equally unappealing…
“Can I start you out with some spinach dip, nachos or cheese doodles?”
There’s a fine line between blending into the background and being overly aggressive when working a retail or restaurant sales floor.
Sometimes management wants employees to be a little more forceful, to push sales. Plant the seed, then move in for the kill is closer to what they mean.
The truth is that we’re not all salespeople. Some people are just wired to be natural sales people and others are not. I fall into the latter category. I always feel selling someone feels too contrived and just downright cheesy.
A company I’m working with needs to drum up additional sales and purchased this self-guided sales training toolkit called “Win without pitching”.
After paging through it, I felt it offered those same hard sell, contrived techniques that are part of sales training kits everywhere – it just wasn’t me.
Fast forward to the next day when I went to some meetings and the company brought along a sales and marketing consultant they are working with. She sat back and watched the action unfold in the first meeting. After leaving the meeting, she gave the sales guys some feedback to make the meetings more productive. And of course (you know what’s coming) the feedback was to do the things the self-guided sales training kit recommended.
In the next few meetings, the sales guys employed the three techniques the consultant recommended and lo and behold, they walked out of two meetings with firm next steps and potential business that will be won by the company by the end of the day today.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
The tenets of selling are the same no matter what are where you’re selling. You just have to follow these simple steps which we employed at a retailer I worked at:
Proactively engage the customer – Don’t just ask them if you can help them find something. Warmly greet them, then tell them about a sale that’s going on or a new product line that’s just come in. The number of people who tell me they’re amazed that no one even says hi anymore when a customer walks in is staggering. Stand out from your competition.
Uncover their needs – Ask open ended questions. Probe. If they’re browsing and looking at a particular item, proceed to tell them one, two or three interesting things about the product or brand.
Recommend solutions – Offer two or three options once you’ve uncovered the customer’s needs. You’ll instantly become the expert in their minds.
Overcome Objections – is it size, quantity, price? Probe, and then go back to recommending solutions. If you know what their issue is, you can find a solution that works for them. It’s all about the customer and their needs. It isn’t about your need to sell the biggest or most expensive item. It’s to the sell the customer what they want and need.