Business Featured Reed Gift Fairs Melbourne August 2018 Retail Store

3 questions your customers want to hear

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Salena Knight
Written by Salena Knight

How many times have you walked into a department store and been “greeted” by someone at the door?

You know, those poor people that you pass by without nary a glance, but they still call out “Welcome, how are you today?” as you’re already half way in the store.

Perhaps you’ve even thought, “ugh, what a job” or “why do they waste their money on superficial greetings”.

In terms of customer experience, it doesn’t add anything. In fact, it can often detract from how a customer feels, when entering a store.

Now compare this experience, that that of entering an upscale store, or hotel. The doorperson is genuinely interacting with you, opens the door, greets you with a warm smile. And you just know, if you asked them for directions, or advice on the best café for breakfast, they’d be able to give you precise instructions to your destination and the café would have delicious food.

Here’s the thing. Advice and direction is one of the key differentiators you have as an independent retailer!

When it comes to convincing customers to buy your products, use your product knowledge and your sales skills, to have your customer eager to buy.

You’ve got the product knowledge, so today I’m going to help you polish up those sales skills.

I always recommend narrowing down to these three questions, the answers to which will fast track you to securing a sale.

QUESTION 1: Who are you buying for/what occasion are you buying for?

Now depending on the kind of store you have, you may have to change this out to be specific. For example, “which room are you looking for”, if you’re a homewares store. The overarching goal here is to get them (and yourself), clear on the purpose of their shopping today.

QUESTION 2: Do you have an idea of what you’re looking for?

Sometimes a customer will know exactly what they are looking for. And when that happens, you want to be able to direct them to the most suitable product. Other times, customer’s are just wandering around aimlessly, hoping the perfect ‘thing’ will jump out at them (that’s usually me, searching for gifts!).

Here’s where you flex those sales muscles and start to dig a little deeper.

Give your customer three further suggestions, to help narrow it down.

For example, what colours are they drawn to, or, if it’s a gift, do they want clothing, something practical or luxurious?

The key here is to work in groups of three. Science has shown that’s the best amount of data to be easily remembered, give us choice, but not be overwhelmed (it’s why we split phone numbers up into three).

So now you know who and what your customer is looking for, budget is my next go-to question. It’s especially important if your customer is searching for a gift.

QUESTION 3: Do you have a budget in mind? 

By now, you should have an idea of the products you can show them, that will fit their criteria and will allow them to give you feedback, so as to move them closer to the cash register and finalising their purchase.

Here again, is where the Rule of Threes, comes into play.

Let me show you a few things that sound like they would suit

So, the next step is to show them three products that closely match what they are searching for. Being a savvy salesperson, ensure you mix up the suggestions and take the customers feedback into consideration as you move from product one through to product three.

When you eliminate overwhelm and get your customer clear on what they’re looking for, then you narrow their options to just three, you automatically increase the odds of securing a sale and have a satisfied customer that’s so thankful for your assistance, in the process.


About the author
Salena Knight
Salena Knight