Archive for the 'Selling Tips' Category

6 Musts to Make a Sale:

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017


There are six things that must happen for you to make a sale. Leave any one of these out and your customer will leave empty handed.

They Are:

1.) The customer MUST come into the store. 

This is not to say that you cannot sell via your website or over the phone to a past customer, but generally speaking customers need to be able to touch it, sit on it, lay on it and more.

2.) The customer MUST find something that he or she likes.

The salesperson hasn’t been born yet that can sell things to people that they don’t like, need or want. Too many try to however.

3.) The customer MUST have the money.

You may have a customer that comes into the store, find the perfect piece of furniture, but has no way to pay for it. And if you try hard enough to sell that piece to that customer you will successfully sell the customer on leaving the store to never return.

4.) The customer MUST be willing to spend the money.

Having the money may not be enough. There may be something else the customer would prefer to spend that money on.

5.) The customer must trust the company.

If this is a customer that you have already done satisfactory business with in the past, this trust may already exist. If not, it needs to be established BEFORE you start “SELLING.”

6.) The customer MUST like the salesperson.

This is a big one since most people don’t like salespeople to begin with. This is why so many come into your store with their “guard up” and announce, “I’m just looking.”

Do You Bear Down or Bail Out?

Monday, September 26th, 2016


Nobody likes rejection, and nobody gets more of it than salespeople. Buying is an emotional decision, and a willing customer can cool off in a heartbeat. You are showing the product and your customer’s head is bobbing up and down like a doll in the back window of the car.  You know it’s going to be a sale. You and your customer are both smiling approvingly. You are thinking, “Oh boy, oh boy.” Then suddenly your customer’s smile goes away and you hear those dreaded words, “I need to think about it; I will be back. That “Oh boy” feeling fades away as your customer begins to walk away. What do you do now? Most people will either bear down and push for the sale, or bail out and hope that the customer will come back. Some do; Most don’t and you know it.


Which Way Will You Go?
The “Bear Down” salesperson says something like, “You know you love it, that’s a great price, you should get it now.” Some even suddenly drop the price thinking that will close the sale.

The “Bail Out” salesperson says something like, “Okay, here’s my card, please ask for me when you come back.” The customer smiles, agrees and heads for the door. You frown and feel depressed. One of these two scenarios plays out in luxury retail stores across the country every day. There must be a better way, and there is.


Put on Your Detective Hat
The wise salesperson stops selling at this point and becomes a concerned “detective” looking for the real reason the customer is not buying it. This salesperson says something like, “Okay, but maybe it’s just not the right piece, and if that’s the case, you shouldn’t get it. Let’s take another minute before you leave, and tell me, what is it about this piece that just MIGHT NOT be right?” Now simply shut up and continue looking at the piece. It’s the customer’s turn to talk and you will be surprised how many confessions you will get. You will hear things like, “Well to tell you the truth, it’s more than I was planning to spend.” Or, “It just doesn’t look right to me.” or “It’s actually too big” or “Too small.” These are “truths” that can be dealt with.


No Means, “No, Not Yet.”
There’s usually a real reason, and when you uncover the truth, chances are you can do something to resolve it and make the sale, if not that item, then another one. The truth will set you free; lies paralyze. If the customer say’s, “No, I just always like to think before buying” and that’s true the truth is that the customer really does need to think about it, help him or her do it while still in the store. Say, “Do you think it MIGHT BE the right piece?” If the answer is, “Yes” or “Maybe,” say, “Let’s be sure” and then go back over the features and benefits of the piece looking for what might be the hold up. If you cannot find a good reason to not buy it, then SELL IT! Say, “It looks like we have found the right item, is there anything we didn’t think about?” If there isn’t, then say, “Let’s do it now and you won’t have to come back.” This is where salespeople are separated from clerks and order takers. The key is doing it for the customer, not for you. The customer will have the product longer than you and the store will have the money. When that’s where your heart is, you and the customer both win.

“It’s Okay…but”

Sunday, April 10th, 2016


“Not Yet”
One of the most important things salespeople must do is overcome their fear of rejection. Nobody likes to be rejected and the surest way to avoid it is doing nothing. When you hear “No” think of it as, “No not yet,” back off and stay in the game.


Slow Dancing
Selling is a lot like slow dancing with a stranger. One of the two people might like the relationship to go farther than the other.
You discover how close you can get by observing and respecting the subtle body language of the other person.
It’s much easier to sell what the customer wants to buy than what you want to sell.

Dumb it Down

Thursday, March 31st, 2016


“Oh, I See”
While in a Starbucks recently I picked up a bag of Kona Coffee Beans and asked the barista if he would grind them for me. He said, “Sure, what type of filter does your coffee maker use?” I said, “I don’t know, does that make a difference?” He responded, “Yes, it determines how fine I grind the beans.” Feeling a bit stupid, I told him that I would need to find out, handed him the bag of beans and turned to leave.

At this point one of his co-workers stepped in, and making a V Shape with her hands asked, “Is the filter v-shaped like this, or flat?” When I told her it is v-shaped, she took the bag of beans from her male co-worketr and said, “Got it. That’s all we needed to know.” A $30 sale was made that had just been lost a few seconds ago.


Don’t ASS/U/ME
Everyone knows what happens when you assume. Sales are missed every day in computer stores, car dealerships and many other places because of a salesperson assuming that the customer understands what he or she has been taught. Avoid using company jargon. Back to Starbucks; I once asked for a “Medium” size cup of coffee and the person behind the counter said, “We call that a grande.” I have yet to go in there again.

Adding On Pro-Actively

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016


Your timing is crucial when it comes to pro-actively adding on. The best time to suggest something additional is when your customer is ready to pay you with cash, check or credit card. At this moment you have obviously made the trust sale and your customer is now open to buying something else that he or she needs or desires. When you see the money ask yourself three fast questions “Who is my customer? What is this customer buying and why? and then “What else do I have that would be good for this customer?


What Else?
In RETAIL SELLING MADE EASY I tell the now famous story about the time went int an ABC Store specifically to buy a bottle of drinking water. I set the bottle on the counter and rather than ringing it up or saying something like, “Will that be all? the salesperson said, “Would you like some fresh fruit to go with your water today?” In spite of hundreds of visits to an ABC Store, I didn’t know that they sold fresh fruit. It sounded good and I was a little hungry, so I looked around. saw the fresh fruit and said, “Don’t ring it up yet, I am going to get a banana.” As I headed for the fruit display she said, “Get the biggest one, they are all the same price.” When I brought the banana to the counter she looked at it, went over to the display and returned with a different one saying, “This one is bigger.” I bought both bananas and the water, and left a happy customer. She more than doubled the sale by thinking on my behalf. There’s much more to this story, but the principle is simple and will work with any product.


Think; Then Suggest
Fruit goes better with water, nuts with soda, surf wax with a surf board, coffee table with a sofa, sculpture with a painting, on and on. Once you have decided what you are going to suggest, say, “Oh by the way…” and then present your suggested add-on item. A customer who has the money out is seven times more likely to buy something else than the next customer is to buy anything.


Thursday, October 1st, 2015


Life or Death
Airline pilots have the life of their passengers in their hands. It’s imperative that they be in control. They would never turn over the controls to one of the passengers.


Sale or No Sale
To succeed in selling it’s also important to be in control. Relinquishing control to your customers is a formula for disaster. You know what your customers need to hear in order to make a buying decision. If left up to them to ask the right questions, they may not.


Ask Smart Questions
Here’s the Rule: NEVER ask a question that MIGHT get you an answer you DON’T want to hear.” Asking for permission to give the customer help is not smart. Every customer needs help and asking this question could get you, “No thanks, I’m just looking” as an answer; something you DON’T want to hear.


Your Success
And when it comes to success in general the question rule still applies. Ask yourself smart questions. People sometimes ask themselves, “Why aren’t people buying?” That’s a bad question because questions demand answers and that question many times is answered with a variety of excuses that are beyond your control like, “The Weather, Economy or Traffic.”


Then Do It!
When you ask yourself that question you will get an answer (and you will) that you WANT to hear. Remember that the person “in control” is the person asking the questions and that you can control yourself and bring about the success you want. It’s EASY!


Sunday, September 6th, 2015


Be A Good Prospector
Prospects are everywhere, but they won’t fall into your lap. Be adventurous, keep your “prospecticles” on.


Right Under Their Noses
The day I met W. Clement Stone he told me a great story. As the founder of Combined Insurance Companies of America, “Clem” was always prospecting. He saw everyone as a potential customer.  As he got into the elevator of his high rise Chicago office one day a gentleman said, “Clem, I’m ready for that policy we have been talking about. Can you stop by and write it up today?” “That policy” was a million dollar life insurance policy that Clem had been talking with him about for several months. Clem told him that he would drop in later that day to handle it.
On the elevator trip up to his office Clem asked himself, “How can I turn this onto an even better opportunity than it is?” That’s the way he was always thinking. When arriving at his office he called a meeting with all of his salespeople and made the following announcement; “In the elevator this morning a man in this building told me that he’s ready to buy a Million Dollar Life Insurance Policy. I told him that I would come see him later today, but I’m extremely busy and wonder if any of you would be willing to go write it up?” Of course all hands went up. Clem then said, “Great go find him.”


“He’s in There Somewhere!”
They spread out and scoured the building that day, wrote millions of dollars in insurance policies and never found the “Million Dollar Man.” What a powerful story this is. Those same salespeople rode the elevator in that building every day, but this day was different. They knew there was a “For Sure Sale” somewhere in that building.

It’s Showtime

Friday, July 31st, 2015


Your Movie Part

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players;”
-William Shakespeare

If you were to get a part in a play or movie, you would be provided with three basic things:
-A Costume - What to wear.
-A Script - What to say.
-A description of the emotion - How to say it.


Acting Success
The success or failure of the actor or actress comes down to learning the lines, and then presenting them as though they are being said for the very first time; believable. The audience knows that they are acting, yet in the case of Academy Award winners the “performance” becomes real.


Selling Success
The same is true when you are a salesperson. Your customer knows that you are a salesperson and that you want the sale. To succeed you must present your product in the best possible way, with the best possible words, as though you have never said them before. To do this you must have your lines memorized so that you can focus on how you are saying them, not thinking about what to say next.

Questions and Answers

Saturday, July 11th, 2015


Team Surf-n-Sea - Haleiwa, Hawaii
I have been doing Success Rallies in this store for about 20 years now. We meet on a Monday evening after the store closes. In spite of the fact that they have either been working or perhaps surfing all day, they consistently show up excited to listen and learn ways to be better. They take more notes than I normally see being taken at other rallies, and Joe Green, the owner usually has the longest list of notes.


Ask Me:
For our July 2015 Rally everyone was asked to bring one question for me to answer. They did, and it was great. I was amazed at the number of questions submitted and the fact that very few were repeats. While some of the questions were pertinent (and even confidential) to their store only, several others could be asked in any retail store and therefore are share worthy.

How can one handle conflict between employees without the need to involve management?

Conflicts among salespeople are common, perhaps too common, especially when commissions are involved. Keep in mind that the commission on any one sale is NEVER as important as your relationship with your co-worker. If you find yourself in conflict, talk it out keeping in mind that everything you do is for the customer. Think WHAT, not WHO when issues arise.

Would it be beneficial to pay more attention to sales-per-hour than total sales?

This is a question that got overlooked, but the salesperson sought me out at the end of the rally to ask it. I was impressed by that. I explained that the Morning Report does show sales-per-hour, and many of our customers choose to incentivize there, as compared to total sales. The biggest determining factor is how many part-time salespeople there are. When there is a large percentage of part-timers, sales-per-hour is a good way to go as it levels the playing field.

How can I motivate other employees to get more involved, like keeping busy when not with customers?

Although managing your co-workers is not your main job, a friendly reminder that there is something else that he or she could be doing at the moment would be okay. Constantly remind each other that this is a team effort and it takes everyone’s involvement to reach and exceed store goals. This is also why you have bonuses based on sales over-goal.

Do you have any tips on how to identify a thief?

Thieves in a retail store are pretty good at blending in and looking normal. More important than identifying a thief is preventing him or her from stealing. The best deterrent to theft is an alert, aware salesperson. When you see a customer without merchandise in-hand, approach and ask the key questions, “Do you live close by? Have you been in our store before? How much do you know about us?” In other words, start selling. The thief will be dissapointed and leave; the prospective customer will buy.

When a cashier asks someone that I worked with, “Did anyone help you today?” and the customer say’s, “No” or gives my co-worker’s name, is that something I can dispute later? Or, should I just accept what the customer says?

The best solution to this problem is prevention. Be sure that your name-tag is easily visible, and make it easy for the cashier to know that you worked with this customer. Introduce the customer to the cashier saying, “Mary here will ring that up for you, and I will still be in the store if you think of something else you need.” Keep in mind that merely greeting a customer at some point does not entitle you to ownership. And should the customer give the cashier someone else’s name, there’s a good chance that other person made a stronger impact than you did. Learn from that and move on. Disputes after the fact tear down teamwork; avoid them.

When you are faced with a disagreeable customer that comes across as angry, yet is a buyer, how do you go about giving the information he or she needs to make an intelligent buying decision without seeming rude or pushy? Or, does it really matter since they are a 100% buyer?

The answer to this in one word is, “Sensitivity.” Keep in mind that the customer is always right, and is not being paid to behave in any particular way; you are.

What should be done to most efficiently sell when two salespeople are competing for a customer’s attention?

Two salespeople should NOT be “competing” for a customer’s attention. Never butt-in on a salesperson that is with a customer. The only time two salespeople should be talking to the same customer is when one of them has invited the other in to assist.

How do you motivate everyone to re-stock on their down time not leaving their assigned area?

A “gentle” nudge by anyone should be sufficient. It is important for everyone to be professional and keep their priorities in order. The customer is the #1 priority. Other tasks should be done when not with customers.

Should you follow through and push for the sale when the customer won’t take your advice on the product?

Remember that he customer is always right, and the minute you try to sell something that your customer does not like, there is something else that he or she does not like; YOU!

What do you do when attempting to sell when there is an obvious language barrier without looking foolish, yet still giving the customers the attention they need?

People on vacation are usually able to communicate adequately in the language used where they are visiting. They do fine in restaurants, hotels, airplanes and in taxis, but when in retail stores their “language barrier” can become the ideal tool needed to avoid a salesperson doing his or her job. Don’t let that happen. Just speak slowly, point and use body language.

How do you get a co-worker to calm down, not be so intense on the sales floor, and to stop butting in on your sales? Salespeople will ask others for help if they need it! Please stop!

As mentioned in an earlier question, no-one should ever “But in” on another salesperson’s sale. That being said, we do appreciate intensity and excitement on the sales floor, but it must be controlled. If out of control, it becomes a management issue. And, yes you should invite another salesperson into the sale when you are not doing well with that customer, or has more knowledge than you about the product you are showing.

How can we discourage other employees from stealing other people’s sales?  (In a positive way)

“Stealing” is a very harsh word, and I doubt if very much of that actually goes on. Stealing” would be someone going into the point-of-sale system and changing the sale from your name to his or hers. We do however have salespeople that will step in and take over when a customer has been abandoned; that is not stealing. Simply greeting a customer does not give you ownership. If you are truly working with a customer it should be obvious, and it is very unlikely that anyone would be able to take it away from you. 

What should employees say to customers that say that they can get a surf lesson (or something else) cheaper down the street?

Anytime price is presented as an objection, ask, “Is the price your only concern?” Chances are it is not. Find out what is. If it is, simply say, “Our prices are based on experienced and quality instructors and while the price may be a bit higher, our customers are pleased in the long run.”

How do you deal with rude customers?

First of all, never get rude back. Then, keep the main rule in mind that the customer is always right, and is not being paid to be polite to you. After that, keep smiling and “Kill them with kindness.” Don’t take it personal.

What are some good ways to add-on and to keep our customers coming back for more.

A person at the register is 7x more likely to buy something else than the next person coming in the store is to buy anything. Keep this in mind and then ask yourself those three key questions when you see the money.

1.Who is my customer?
2. What is he or she already buying and why?
3. What else do I have that MIGHT serve this customer?

Then pro-actively suggest that item saying, “Oh by the way…”
And to keep them coming back, be sure to capture their e-mail addresses and stay in touch as the year goes by.
Remember Joe Girard’s Law of 250. “Whenever something significant happens in a persons life, as many as 250 other people are likely to hear about it.” Purchasing something from your store is a significant event.

Can you use small talk to open up dialogue about a certain item?

Small talk is not suggested, since it may not not be perceived as sincere, and most likely isn’t. The customer did not come into the store to tell you how he or she is doing today or to talk about the weather. At this point it is best to simply give the customer one statement of fact about the item being looked at, then shut up and get a response.

What do you like to do?

In addition to exercising, my favorite activity is thinking and looking for ways to help my clients enjoy more success.

I enjoy answering questions and would welcome yours. Because I keep myself busy, the best way to communicate with me is via e-mail. I’m easy to reach and return every e-mail I get. Find me at


I Don’t Want to Hear it!

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015


Nobody likes to be rejected. Unfortunately life is full of potential rejection. People are rejected when seeking jobs, opportunities, romance, friendships, attention, and success in general. In retail selling the most dreaded words are, “I’m just looking,” “I want to think about it,” and “I’ll be back.” They are all variations of the worst of all, “No!”
Ironically, those that get the most rejection are the same ones that get the most acceptance… that is IF the rejection is handled right. Most people, when rejected will either “Bear Down” and try to have their way, or give up and “Bail Out.”


“Not Yet.”
When salespeople learn the art of turning, “No” into, “No, not yet,” their sales go up.
The first step in doing that is not taking it personal. Selling is giving the customer sufficient information to make an intelligent buying decision, whether that be, “Yes” or “No.” You must be okay with “No” to the wrong item in order to get “Yes” to the right one.


Sure you would like your customer to buy it now, but that may not be what the customer is ready to do. There could be some hidden reason for not buying it that you haven’t uncovered yet, and if so, pushing for the sale could push the customer right out the door. “The minute that you try to sell me something that I don’t like, there’s something else that I don’t like.” It is much easier to sell what the customer likes than what you want to sell. Sometimes that takes some time and you must be willing to spend that time. Get to the right item and then, Sell, Sell, Sell!
It’s Easy!