Dealing face-to-face with customers can feel like “mental combat” at times. Not everyone is cut out for it. While customers are not always nice, salespeople must be.
“We found that we could hire nice people and teach them how to sell. We had problems hiring salespeople and teaching them how to be nice.”
-The Nordstrom Way
“Leave Me Alone”
Customers do not always welcome a salesperson’s approach, even when it is a friendly one. Customers have all encountered pushy salespeople, and think you just might be one of them. Customers can be pretty “closed up.”
Getting close to a customer is a lot like flirting with a love interest. One person may want more out of the deal (at the moment) than the other, but both have an interest, or they wouldn’t be there. You want the sale and the customer needs your help. Timing can be everything.
Your goal is to build a bond with the customer and break down those barriers early on.
The tricky thing is doing it without appearing phony. The best way to come across as “real” is to be “real.” The customer is in your store. Talking about the weather or anything outside of the store can be seen as insincere. Sincerity sells!
“Come On In”
Your customers take a big step when they make the decision to enter your store. Their purpose is not to tell you how they are doing today, so don’t start off by asking that question. Doing so (unless you know one another) is phony. They don’t think you care how they are doing today, and you probably don’t. Be Real!
“Relax and Look Around”
You probably have a lot of things for your customers to look at, and if you ask, “May I help you?” the answer will most likely be, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Bad Question!
Always ask a safe, but meaningful question to get started. When you ask a question that assumes a purchase before the customer has seen what you have to offer, like; “Is there something in particular you are looking for?” you set yourself up for an answer you don’t want to hear.
Launch the Discovery
Most customers are on a discovery mission. You can get in synch with your customer’s mission, launch their discovery and seize control all at the same time by asking the right question. Ask, “Is this your first time in our store,” or in the case of a repeat customer, “How long has it been since you have been in our store?” These are both non threatening, safe to answer questions that set you up to talk about the store and fulfill your customer’s mission.