Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Exceptional Retail Experience

As retailers of the world lament that online sales are damaging their in store sales performance, it strikes me that they are actually determined to create the self fulfilling prophecy.

Clearly the days of training staff in the art of retail sales is long gone. Creating the exceptional retail sales experience does not exist. I have news for you Retail Execs, it does not matter how "glam" you make  the surroundings if there are insufficient staff with the knowledge to create that experience, it just won't work.

I am not going to talk about the personal preparation required in this blog, just the basic principals of the Sale.

1. Identifying the need the potential client is trying to satisfy. You can only do this by asking simple open questions. Most importantly Listen to the answers. Lets assume we have at least identified the product our client is looking to buy. The ability to understand the need that they are trying to satisfy is important - no point selling a 90" TV if indeed the space available is only suitable for a 42" TV. So the simple question "so where are you going to be using your TV" can provide so many answers and cut to the chase quickly. As you get closer to the need so more direct closed questions can become very useful

2. Features and Benefits. So having identified the product required knowledge of the Features of your product are essential. It is not just knowing what is on the Manufacturer's Documentation it is knowing how to apply those features in the real world. That requires some work on the part of the Salesperson. In other words how will those Features actually Benefit the client in satisfying their need. Feature and Benefit Statements that are real and apply to the client with whom we are dealing create the desire to buy. Achieve that and the old bogeyman that seems to haunt sales people will simply vanish. The desire that the product presented is the answer to the clients problems is what will move the enquiry to a sale, without doubt.

3. Closing the Sale. Sales people to often get so stuck in the process they actually are incapable of identify buying signals along the way. Trying to learn a "Sales Pitch" by rote is the downfall of the sales person - I shall give you the final piece of this puzzle right at the end of the article.
So if you appear to be getting a lot of positive affirmations do not be frightened to ask for the sale, but you must be listening to your client and observing the body language signals being displayed. By the way if you do not understand Body Language go and read Allan Pease - he wrote what I consider the defining Bible on the Topic. There can be only two options here really the close is accepted, great do the paperwork and say thank you. Or woe betide the client says NO. It is not the end of the world.

4. Handling Objection. If the client says No, it simply means you have not yet satisfied the Clients Original Need. The only way of determining what is creating the Objection is to carry out what I call the 20 Question Process because clearly you have missed something. Restate the Feature and Benefit statements and seek affirmation that your client acknowledges the Benefit on Offer. During this process if a genuine Objection is raised then address the problem or in the worst case scenario minimise the Objection with by reaffirming the Features and Benefits already agreed upon.

Do not forget to continue to seek the close - get all this together you will close more than you do not. Above all remember you cannot win them all but keep trying to.

Now for the Jimbo Tip if you are not selling from the heart don't bother - a client will quickly identify a lack of sincerity from you if you fail to believe your own story - so understand your product so well that you can answer most basic questions. However, do not make up an answer if you do not know it. A response I will need to find out the answer only proves you are Human.

Now Mr Retailer Mega Store bring back proper training like this and you will be one small step to the Exceptional Retail Experience - stay tuned for the next lesson because this alone is not the answer.