To succeed in retail, especially luxury retail, employees have to be taught a customer is not just another chance to sell someone your “stuff.”
They have to be happy before they get the sale, not after.
When employees can’t see that individual without prejudging, sizing up their pocketbook, or trying to gauge their desire for the products first – that they are an individual worthy of their time and respect – those employees run the risk of seeing that individual only as dollar $ign$.
The disconnect is they don’t see how that attitude affects their sales and paycheck.
How do I know this? Because I hear them time after time, vomiting out generic features and information onto the customer. That helps create a false confidence that they can make the “right” customer buy.
We see that when they try to get the customer’s budget for a project, pressuring customers with a “today only” tactic or using one of several tired closes on them from the fifties. Customers smell it on them and walk.
Customers Buying Habits
The hard truth is customers don’t buy from people they don’t like. And the higher the ticket, the more easily we, the buying public, can be put off.
It isn’t the products’ fault, the economy or the customers’, its yours.
Don’t take the losers limp after they leave and turn to another salesperson to console yourself, “They got all the information they needed from me and will purchase from someone else.”
You lost the sale because they didn’t feel you connected to them from the start.
That’s nothing new….
In some ways selling is the same as it’s always been, finding out what’s important to the customer and then giving it to them.
In another way, selling during this challenging economic time has changed because we’ve changed. We don’t pick up the phone and call a friend – we check their Facebook status. We don’t invite friends to dinner; we catch up with e-mail or a quick text on our cell phone.
What this has done is left most of us feeling more detached from family and friends. And with the pandemic, even more alone than ever. That means customers can come in a bit grumpier than they used to.
There’s a reason shopping has been called retail therapy; people shop to feel better about themselves.
So when we land in your store, it’s an opportunity for us as customers to connect with another person. We hope that the interchange will make us feel better about ourselves, find items that interest us, and receive validation that comes from somebody appreciating us; whether that’s for purchasing a widget or simply stopping in.
Without that validation, like when employees ignore us, we as customers feel more alone than we did when we walked in. And we don’t pile back in our cars to return again for that experience.
No wonder so many retailers struggle to make money!
Let’s face it, for many retail employees it is hard to be nice to other people. These types of employees require the other person be nice to them before they can return the favor. It’s like they need you to put the gas in their car before they’ll ever turn the key. T
hat disconnect is why their sales go nowhere. It could be because of their upbringing or their current circumstances but they find no joy in working in retail.
Well, that is until after the sale is made – then its often smiles and compliments.
But let’s face it, it’s not hard to be nice to someone after they purchased $1000 worth of clothes from you.
What takes practice is to engage someone when they purchase a $75 watchband or come in “just to browse.” And that’s the beauty of retail; we get to work on that with every person who enters our doors.
The “why” is the most important thing to discover with a natural curiosity before you ever pitch your luxury goods.
To see how well you are connecting, here are some examples of things you might want to notice and ask yourself during and after an encounter with a customer:
- Why did they choose to come in here? Why now?
- What did I say just before she crossed her arms?
- Why didn’t they reach out to touch the product when I showed them a sample?
- Why did they ask that question?
- What is he looking for this product to do?
- Are they fixing up their home because work is so hectic?
- Are they looking to do something for their kid because they feel guilty about time away?
- Is he treating himself because no one else will do that for him?
We all have needs and desires to feel worthy, important, and valued. It begins by connecting to the person in front of us as a person, valued and worthy of our respect and in turn, rewards us with the same.
My retail sales training gives you the chance to do this for others and for yourself.