Competition in the retail industry is fiercer than ever. Consumers have many offers, and their growing competence, thanks mainly to Internet information, makes them more and more demanding.
In this situation, how to transform a store into a success?
There are many strategies, but none of them really maximizes its potential if you don’t train your salespeople to play their role professionally. They should have the motivation, knowledge, and capability to interact with customers and to create a positive experience for them, worthy to be remembered. In fact, with Customer Experience, we mean how the customer feels after interacting with the store. The research confirms that customer experience has a decisive influence on the intention of returning to and buying in a store. It shows also that 60 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
Experience is subjective, and it is built on the basis of sensations, emotions, and rational considerations that every customer develops as a result of the interactions they have or of what they realize is happening in the store. Working on customer experience will set your store apart from your competitors. Since our mystery shops conducted in Europe and in the U.S. show that most of the stores are at year zero of the new era of Customer Experience, and many customers complain about the lack of preparation in sales teams, it’s a huge competitive advantage to be the first to train your salespeople to build positive relationships with customers.
To do it, it’s important to:
- Train them to become active listeners; people who don’t know how to listen can’t make progress in building a positive customer experience. They slowly limit themselves to just catching what the customer has requested.
- Prepare them to use positive psychological language. The everyday language is full of psychological mistakes, and some catchphrases can make salespeople appear insecure, aggressive, fussy, pushy, or even impolite and can hamper their efforts to create a positive experience for the customer.
- Give them knowledge to improve the power of their communication, for example improving their capability to ask questions. Questions are indispensable to better understanding customers and their needs and motivations and to reducing the dangers of misunderstanding. Only if your salespeople are projected toward the needs of customers will they be able to sell them what actually adds value to the customer’s life. Selling something that adds value to your customer’s life is part of the experience to be remembered.
- Teach them how to welcome and start sales negotiation. The success of a sales negotiation is like the tail of a snake: It begins at the head.
- Train them to handle objections that represent the frequent and delicate situations salespeople have to overcome to close the sale. They are delicate because when managing them, it’s easy to enter into a dispute, especially when an objection is hard to handle.
- Teach them how to deal with emotions. Research shows that customer experiences are based 50 percent on emotions. Emotions are activation states. They influence how we make decisions and play a fundamental role in the success of every initiative, but in particular the success of the store. It is important to know and communicate with them to build a shopping experience that leads the customer to continue choosing your store. Working on emotions is useful for learning to recognize when they are activated both in you and in your customers.
To create a successful customer experience, it is important that whoever works in the store:
- Is aware of their own emotions
- Knows how to direct them positively
- Knows how to solicit positive emotions in customers, whatever their initial emotion is and also if and when they are complaining!
Adapted from “How to Sell in a Store. Clothing and Footwear” by VittorioGalgano. For more information, visit: https://www.amazon.com/How-Sell-Store-Clothing-Footwear-ebook/dp/B07F45NQBM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1536660228&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+sell+in+a+store
Adriana Galgano is a sales training expert, senior partner of Ottantaventi, and blogger for howtosellinastore.it