How to not tick off your customers and sales staff and make better
sales Times are different than they were a few years ago.
I subscribe to a few email newsletters from people who are excellent
in running retail stores, sales training and other store
One I’d recommend you sign up for is one from Rick Segal.
Rick used to own a woman’s bridal store I believe and did a great
job in his town. he now speaks across the country, sells training
material and has a blog. This weeks blog is about how to sell without
ticking off your customers and sales staff.
Why sales staff? Because if they are mistreated they won’t do good
by your customer base.
Ricks blog talks about this subject and how it will affect your
store. Selling is different than just a few years ago.
Here is the link for his blog but because web links change I have
pasted his blog below:
Retail sales training must give the employee-the salesperson-a
selling system so they can approach and engage a customer with an
This training instructs the salesperson to fore-go jumping to
conclusions, to beware of having dollar signs in their eyes and to
not become a robot.
In short, while great retail sales training is about following a
system, it is mainly about being genuine. Then you need to monitor
how your retail sales training is carried out on your bricks and
mortar sales floor by checking key performance indicators (KPIs),
coaching and continuous training.
As I developed my selling system, I studied the greats, and I tried
their “proven” selling techniques-most of them developed during the
50’s and 60’s.
There was the alternative of choice close, in which I said to the
customer, “If I can have it delivered on Tuesday or Friday, which
would you prefer?” When they chose one day, I had closed them.
Or there was the reduction to the ridiculous close in which I said
something like this, “You say this item is $500 too much; am I right
Ms. Customer?” I waited for her answer. “And you figure you’ll have
this for about 10 years; is that right?” I waited again for the Yes.
“So that’s really about $50 per year, right? And that’s about $4 a
month, right? And that’s about a dime a day. Isn’t your happiness
worth about a dime a day?”
Or the phony reaching for a customer’s hand as they enter the store
saying, “Hi, I’m (your name) and yours is?”
I hate any retail sales training that tries to manipulate the
customer or the employee like some type of puppet. The very worst is
when they do both. It’s awful.
And according to the New York Times article, Selling It With Extras,
Or Not At All, that’s just what you can find at Staples. You should
really read the article to see exactly what this feels like for both
employees and customers, but here’s the gist of it.
Staples’ KPI, which they nickname Market Basket, tracks how many
dollars worth of add-ons each employee sells. Their average needs to
According to the article, if under performing employees don’t meet
that add-on goal, they’re counseled, given nights or weekends, hours
are reduced or they’re terminated.
“Upper management instructs store management that staffers who think
they won’t be able sell $200 worth of add-ons should tell the
customer the computer is not in stock. Staffers who don’t want to
walk customers have another option: they can escort them to an
in-store computer and tell them how to place orders online.”
From the article, Staples appears to train employees to openly lie
to their customers. Is this how you want to make your numbers?
Is this a way to treat another person - either your customer or your
Discover Bob’s retail sales training seminar for your business.
But Ms. Shah, an employee stated, “If they buy it online, we lose
the sale, but we don’t have the Market Basket problem.”
Maybe trying to juice the KPI system in a big box is necessary.
Staples’ recent quarterly revenue was down 5.5% on a year-over-year
At Best Buy, a common complaint is that the employees are more
interested in selling an extended warranty than the actual product.
Retail selling tactics like these should go the way of Circuit City.
Why? Because it dehumanizes everyone.
The customer is just someone to shake down. The employee is
incentivised to load up the customer, and the brand is focused on
keeping its numbers up for investors.
It legitimizes the very worst fears of customers who come into a
retail store thinking: you’re just trying to rip me off.
For me it’s the short-sided view of the customer as a one-time sale.
The Function of a Sale
The function of a sale is much like a headline for an article. The
headline’s job is to get you to read the next paragraph. The
function of the sale is to not only to get today’s merchandise sold
but to get the customer to want to return to your store.
The sale needs to create the desire for the customer to drive past a
competitor who might be closer, who might have more convenient
hours, or who might have a more curated selection and to spend their
hard-earned money again with you.
If you want to truly grow retail sales in your brick-and-mortar
locations, you have to treat your customers and employees as humans.
Yes, a salesperson can upsell and should. No customer wants to get
home missing a necessary accessory or without crossing everything off
But the big picture is that in this decade, both our employees and
our customers must be treated as humans.
For customers to unlock their wallets, you’ve got to get them to
drop their defenses enough to share and engage with your well-trained
retail sales associates.
That will only happen if you treat your retail sales associates as
humans and teach them how to come to a customer with an open heart,
free to engage and ideally share an element of fun in what they’re
doing. That’s how people buy more.
No, this type of retail sales training is not for everyone, but with
so many places to buy so much of the same stuff, with so many rotten
retailers out there ignoring their customers, with so many retailers
saying one thing and doing another, you must stand out and that
starts with you approaching retail sales training in human terms.
Make it more robotic, more manipulative and your customers will not
just ignore you, they’ll tell their Facebook friends, blogs and maybe
even the New York Times.
Keep it human.
Posted for Rick Segal (By David Geller)