Learn To Sell
I have worked in a variety of industries. I worked in a butcher shop, selling insurance, I was a valet. I have been a direct sales representative. I have been in and out of many different retail positions and franchises, I own two companies and have dipped into content marketing...I have been exposed to many different industries.
Though, every industry and job I have been in, the business model is always almost the same...one thing always remains true. The lack of training on making a great sell.
Learning to sell doesn't have to be complicated. But yet, not a lot of retailers or small business's invest in teaching their employees ( or themselves) to sell.
Usually, if you are going into retail, the training stems from 1980's training videos on how "Becky" the customer, is having a hard time finding a product. Then shows "Stacy" the employee, simply find the product, ring her up and send her on her way! Be sure to offer a smile and welcome the guest back!
We need to update our selling practices. We need to make selling an important tactic in running our business.
If you are building a store or have employees or a website. Learning to sell your product is what is going to be the difference between 20k- 50k a year to 6 to 8 figures annually. Everyone that comes in contact with a guest should know how to sell your service. Effectively.
Let's talk about bad selling tactics....
Some places I have worked I been "trained" to physically stand at the door and greet every customer coming in. My job was to explain the sales going on the minute they walk in.
This to me is the "bombard strategy."
Wither your business is online or brick and mortar, bombarding your guest is NEVER the best way to go.
For an e-commerce example:
Have you ever gone to a website and within a few seconds you have pop-up after pop-up about sales, and newsletters and discounts and sign ups?
You spend the first 10 minutes on this website trying to figure out how to X out of all the pop-ups before you can even get into the thing and find what you are looking for.
For some people, this can detour them from even going further on your website. It can cause instant frustration and turn your happy guest into an upset guest, simply because you bombarded them.
To refer back to the brick and mortar store example. I HATED having to bombard every guest that came into the store. I could see their eyes glossing over as I went over the many different sales we had going on and where they could find the things on sale...
My greeting went something like this, " Hi welcome in! Just to let you know our sales today... pants and shirts are buy on get one half off, which are to the left of the store, summer dresses and evening wear are 30 % off which are over here, winter clothes are take an extra 40 % off of the 30 % off and if you sign up for the ******* credit card you can save an extra 20% off!" I felt like a human pop up.
Your guest smiles at you and says "thanks"... as they retained NONE of that information...
But guests are getting smarter now. They come in on their phones so we wont disturb them and try not to make eye contact. They beeline for the back of the store to hid from the overly happy and over loading information door greeter.
They might even feel less likely to start a conversation with you if they are looking for something particular.
Let your guest SETTLE...
Then, I have been in the field where they want the guest to "settle" into the store. We greet them and let them walk around a bit before walking up to them.
This is smarter selling.
For online store purposes you can now use apps on your websites such as Sumo that does something called "smart setting pop-ups."
They wait until a specific time your guest has been on the website to offer a pop-up. You can also have it set to offer a pop-ups on a certain product they are looking at or on a certain page on your website.
We aren't over bearing them with newsletters and discounts and sales as they suddenly enter your website ( or store) . We are letting them look at things and "settle" before we make a suggestion for them.
For brick and mortar using this tactic can be very helpful, but will still require work on your end to make the most of your sale.
Converting lookers into profitable buyers can be done easily when done the right way. Here are some tips on making the most of the sale:
Before your guest enters your online store or brick and mortar, you need to be ready to shop. Merchandising your store so it's easy to shop and visually appealing will increase your sale tremendously. I will have another article on merchandising soon. This is such an important topic and needs a blog all its own.
2. Greet your Guest-
Don't bombard. Let your guest settle. Say "welcome in" when they walk in or if its an online store have a welcome banner greeting the guest.
Then, after a few minutes of them looking around, walk up to the guest and start a open ended conversation. With greetings such as " What are you shopping for today? You will get a lot of "just looking around" responses which is fine. They are either just killing time or they don't trust you yet to help them shop. They think you are still just trying to sell them something or they might want to be left alone while they shop.
End this "starter " conversation by telling them your name and where you will be if they need you. Then move to step two.
A lot of training talks about asking open ended questions or greetings. For example, " so the weather sure is getting nasty out there, don't you think?"
I think this tactic is okay, but I don't want to talk about the weather with everyone, it gets robotic and overused. I feel sorry for our grocery store clerks because they might as well be meteorologist for how much people talk about the weather at check out.
Yes, I agree these small talk conversations starters can help break the ice, but I feel this is best as a step two conversation conversion.
STEP TWO sale and convert: After your guest has settled a bit, been greeted and has had a chance to look around THEN I will jump into a more personal conversation such as:
"I love that item your are holding." Usually the guest will start with a rebuttal of why they like it or why they don't. If not, ask them how they feel about it. This is FANTASTIC. You have now opened up dialog and got them talking.
This is the BEST time to get to know what they are looking for. Ask them their name ( always). Repeat what they like about something back to them or what they don't like. This confirms to them that you care about what they need and are looking for. Guide them along the store with you showing them further items that will increase value to them ( and to your store).
Create small talk at this point. Compliment them. Talk about the weather ( if you must) get them talking about things of interest. If they are buying this item for a particular reason. This should be easy conversation. Not robotic. Talk to them as a human being. Authentic. The more information you can find out about them and why they are looking to purchase the more value you can add to the sale.
Really get the conversation going and more and more this customer will start to trust you. Don't rush the sell. Don't push the sell. Even if your sweating bullets trying to get them to buy, relax. Not everyone is comfortable selling. But the more authentic you make the experience the easier and more comfortable you will be encouraging the sale to get larger.
By the end of this transaction, you will have added value to what the guest was looking for either by selling more products to them or by explaining the importance of the product they choose. You also built rapport. You know their name, they know your name. The guest now trusts you because they felt cared about. They feel you made a connection to truly understand what their need was. They are willing to spend more time ( and money) with you because you have excited them with customer service and product value. You will increase your sale tremendously.
This strategy WORKS....every time.
For online stores, you don't get to be front and center for your guest. But it doesn't mean you cant offer great customer service.
Again, greet them with a welcome banner. Set smart pop-ups, not bombarding pop-ups. Make your online store visual appealing with great in detail descriptions of what your products are. Excite your guest with add on's or new products.
If your guest doesn't purchase right away, set check out reminders. Automate ( we all know how I feel about automation! ) friendly and personalized emails reminding them of the product they were looking at and how great it is!
Show your shipping and return policy on your product pages. Don't make your guest search for answers. Have a chat box or messenger box ready with automated responses.
If you are selling a service online and not a tangible product, showcase testimonials and client reviews. Make your "contact us" page is easy to find. Make sure your "about me" page is personable and inviting. Help the guest trust you.
If your business allows you to obtain guest information such as important dates like birthdays and anniversary's, use these to help build rapport or offer special discounts to help your guest feel important.
If you are excited, happy and friendly your guest will feel this. If you are knowledgeable and confident in your answers they will trust you. If you put fear aside and imagine they have a open spending limit you will open the sell to much more potential.
Making sure each and every employee ( or you ) understand how to sell your product is the best thing you can do for you business. Make it a top priority. Continue to educate yourself in that field. Be excited about the sell and get your customers engaged.