The next few weeks will be “make or break” for retailers. With more shopping occurring online (particularly through mobile devices), brick and mortar retailers are looking for ways to get people to leap from their couches and into their stores. For example, traditional retailers like Saks are creating multichannel experiences for Frozen 2 holiday window displays and Nordstrom’s flagship store in New York City now integrates (count them) seven bars and restaurants inside the retail environment.
In addition to environmental enticements, enhanced food/beverage options, and augmented service offerings, I’m a fan of teaching retail team members how to sell by delivering extraordinary human experiences.
Since customers often feel like they’re either being ignored or oversold by retail team members, quality sales experiences can differentiate you from your competition. Of course, the compressed 2019 holiday shopping season makes retail selling especially hectic, but I hope the tips that follow will help my retail colleagues (and the rest of you outside of retail) – as you seek to make year-round human connections during the sales process.
As I mention in my new book The Airbnb Way – 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging (which makes a great holiday gift in its own right – you can find out more about the book and purchase it here) the essence of any experience begins with the welcome. It continues through a call to sequel – irrespective of whether an actual purchase is made.
Here are some things to consider as you build a lasting customer relationship based on positive sales experiences:
- Welcome, or at a minimum acknowledge, each customer when they come into your store. In some cases, this may require you to simply visually (and/or with a gesture) let the customer know you see them as you finish-up with another customer.
- Introduce yourself by name. If the customer doesn’t reciprocate with their name, ask them for it, and kindly use their name throughout your time with them.
- “Think who, not what.” You should be learning about your customer’s needs and, in the context of holiday purchases, look for ways to help the customer select the right gift for their “who.” All too often, salespeople focus on the “what” of their products before they understand the needs, wants, and preferences of the people who they are serving.
- Keep serving the customer in front of you until they stop buying. All too often, we make a sale and stop, instead of continuing to look for ways to be of service and potentially finding additional product solutions for other individuals on their list.
- Work as a team. Every person on your team is a potential resource for the customer in front of you. Bringing colleagues into a sales relationship can add helpful perspectives or insights that provide value as you build a purposeful sales relationship.
- Take care of yourself. Relationships require the health and well-being of all stakeholders. During the holiday season, sales professionals are often working long hours under high volume and high stress. Breaks, rest, and healthy behavior are even more important during this peak season of the year.
Undeniably, as you seek to “win” this sales season, technology and online sales are increasingly important.
That said, I’m convinced relationships and people still matter! I would love to talk to you about enhancing the human experience delivered by your sales team. Simply contact me here.
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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