How To Sell to Retail Customers: Tips for Talking

Part 1 of a 5-part Series to Help Retailers Increase their Sales

As a retail business owner or manager, you know that an increase in sales can boost your bottom line, while even a slight decrease in sales can hurt your business. Keep your business interested in customers by teaching your front-line clerks how to build a good rapport with customers.

It’s important to find out what customers need and how you can help them. In fact, very few businesses seem to care nowadays. So if you show customers you care, you have already beat out most of your competitors! Just by training your staff to do a few simple things, you can multiply your sales and watch your profits soar.

  1. Show an interest in your customer. Greet each customer when he or she walks in; if you’re busy, smile and nod. Ask customers about themselves, their interests, and their family. They enjoy spending money with someone who cares. For example, “Your granddaughter will love this thoughtful gift. How old is she?” Look customers in the eye. They feel your genuine concern when you really care. They remember and come back! And remember, don’t chat about your personal problems. Customers don‘t want to know.
  2. Create a conversation. Glean information for upselling your products/services. Stay in control of your topic. Steer customers away from dwelling on price. Be brief — don’t chat incessantly. Guide the conversation toward your products and services. Don’t be nosy or pushy. Ask about neutral topics.
  3. Agree with your customer. Find something you like about your customer or his/her views. Empathize with your customer's feelings. Put yourself in his shoes: “I know exactly how you feel. That happened to me once.” Overlook his mistakes. Place the blame elsewhere or use a passive voice. For example, “There’s no zip code on your shipping form. This package needs the correct zip code to ensure proper delivery.” NEVER argue with a customer. It makes you look unprofessional, even when you’re right.
  4. Never talk negatively. Instead, look for positive things to say. Or gently change the topic. Don’t gossip or complain. Customers will be offended or remember you negatively. Negative talk attracts negative customers. They won’t be afraid to criticize you behind your back either. Choose to be happy. If you‘re having a bad day, don‘t let your customers know.

If you train your staff to follow the steps above, you can easily capture the attention of your loyal customers. You can also take business management courses online to get more great ideas.  Stand out from the “crowd” of retail businesses, and make your store a place customers look forward to coming into. Help generate repeat business just by paying attention to folks who are already in front of you!

For more tips, watch for Riley Klein’s forthcoming eBook, Super Sales Strategies, a reference eBook for retail clerks.

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