To attain exceptional levels of success in the retail business, you have to be willing to go the extra mile. In addition to designing a store that people want to spend time in and filling it with merchandise that they want to buy, you need to be on top of your game in terms of using effective sales strategies. The importance of training your salespeople effectively cannot be overemphasized. You can’t hope to train them properly, though, if you’re unaware of how to maximize your store’s sales potential. Tips for doing just that are outlined below.
Large, impersonal chains don’t have to be super knowledgeable about what they sell – their low prices give them a huge edge over the competition. To compete with the big guys, you have to have in-depth knowledge about every item that you sell. Learn the pros and cons of each item that you carry. Keep up to date on new developments, and try to stock the most current models. When training new staff, try to get them up to speed on how various products work. Do your best to keep your employee turnover rate low, because replacing a knowledgeable salesperson is costly and time consuming.
Be Enthusiastic about Your Products
This point dovetails nicely with the previous one. A customer is a lot more likely to buy what you’re selling when he gets the sense that you’re genuinely enthusiastic about it. It helps tremendously to be a fan of the products that you sell. It’s smart to hire people who are truly into the things that you have on your shelves. When conducting interviews, then, try to get a feel for whether or not they care at all about the nature of what you sell.
Be Friendly, Not Oppressive
If you’ve ever been harassed by a store salesperson, you know how off-putting and aggravating it can be. Give a customer that kind of experience and you can forget about earning any repeat business from him. You should make your presence known and be friendly, but you shouldn’t hover over your customers or breathe down their necks. Suffocating a customer is a surefire way to chase them away. Breathing space is essential here, so resist the urge to follow their every move. In the long run, this strategy will work out well.
Ask the Customer Questions
Asking questions is a lot more effective than pushing a product on a customer – at least, it is if you want to make lots of sales. Even if you are dying to unload a lot of a particular item, you shouldn’t alienate your customers by endlessly extolling its virtues. When you ask questions about what they want or need, you show customers that you care. This is especially effective when it is done in a low-key and laid-back way. Keep the pressure to an absolute minimum and make it clear that you genuinely want to help them find the right thing.
Avoid Asking “Can I Help You?”
How many times have you walked into a store, been asked if you need any help and said, “No thanks, I’m just looking?” It’s probably happened more times than you can remember. Asking a customer that is like handing them a card that excuses them from interacting with you. A better way to go is to let them walk in and get the “lay of the land.” Once they’ve roamed for a minute or so, ask them a question based on where they are browsing. You’re less likely to be blown off that way.
Sell Add-Ons, But be Savvy About It
Cross-selling related items to a customer is a tried-and-true way to boost sales. It tends to annoy people, though, when you do it at the register. By that time, the customer has made his decision and is ready to move on with his life. Being pestered to buy even more can sour the whole experience for him. Instead, suggest additional items while he is still out on the floor. If possible, put a personal spin on things by relating stories about the related items that you’ve put to good use.
Putting stellar sales techniques and strategies to use can make an amazing difference in your overall success in the retail game. It’s even better when you can bolster those strategies with salespeople who are knowledgeable, friendly and genuinely enthusiastic. The ultimate goal here is to make people want to come back again and again. When they leave with positive thoughts about the sales staff, they are a lot more like to come back. Repeat sales are crucial to developing a robust business, so do your best to keep the above points in mind. Happy customers develop through unaggressive, friendly sales techniques that gently steer people to buy what you have to sell.