I love to visit stores and see what the staff is up to. At the Theory store the other day, the sales person was involved, but not overbearing. She checked in, made sure sizes were correct, brought new sizes, engaged in conversation, and made the overall experience fantastic.
There’s a marked difference between successful stores, and mediocre stores. And that difference can be tied to one distinct element: the successful stores have sales people, the mediocre stores have sales clerks.
Sales people make a store experience what it is. They’re engaging. They’re involved. They’re proactive.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
It’s amazing how much more a sales person can sell, which positively impacts the average transaction and thus, overall sales.
Here’s how to get your sales team to be sales people and not sales clerks:
- Set goals. I was in a store recently where the teams had no idea what their sales goal was for the day or the month. Sales teams should know what the monthly and daily sales goals are for the store. They should always have a personal sales goal as well to strive to.
- Greet with open-ended questions or statements. That same store I was in always had the sales team lead with: “Is there something I can help you find?” That’s not acceptable and is the surest way to be shut down immediately because the customer invariably will say, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Try striking up a conversation with the customer about anything – the weather, the outfit they’re wearing, or just say “Welcome to [store name].” Let the customer get the lay of the land for a minute or two before engaging them.
- Engage and uncover needs. A customer in one of the stores I was in was looking at a product and received a bunch of great information from the store team member. The customer then went on to look at another product. This was the perfect opportunity for the sales associate to offer the customer knowledge, to compare and contrast the two products, but the sales associate didn’t engage and the customer left without either product. Offer to give customers information, or better yet, the backstory about the product they’re looking at; offer a personal recommendation about a favorite product or line of yours; compare the product they’re looking at to another in the store or point out a product that might compliment the product they’re looking at; point out a new line; or a special promotion; or the sale area. In all of these cases, you’re selling without selling.
- Close the deal. Offer to give the customer a basket to hold their items, take the items to a fitting room, or bring the items to the cash wrap. What seems like friendly help is really you moving the customer through the process.
In a down economy, you have to take advantage of the customers you are in getting in the door. Raising the average transaction is the easiest way to take advantage of low hanging fruit and it doesn’t cost you anything.