Walk into any retail shop and what will the shop assistant ask you?
Why of course they ask, "Can I help you?"
And what is usually your response?
"No thank you I'm just looking".
Potential Customer 1 vs Sales opportunity 0
You then walk off and it then starts to feel like they're hovering in the background, almost stalking you, and neither feels comfortable about what to do next.
The language you therefore train your staff to use in their sales interactions are critical. And yes it is important to get even the language right. We often train staff on a variety of elements that include product knowledge, current stock levels, pricing, dealing with objections and so on but that is all fruitless if we don't get the opportunity to engage with the potential customer in the first place.
The sales process you use, and refine over time, should therefore include scripts for literally every interaction. Every person in your company in every interaction with every potential customer should be saying EXACTLY THE SAME THING EVERY TIME!
I know you're thinking that sounds boring and unnatural but that is eactly what you need. That way you can review the sales process to see where the potential problems may lie and you've got specific information to work with. If you don't you end up looking for a needle in a hay stack.
The unnatural sounding part is only because it's either being read out loud or hasn't been practised enough. No actor gets on the stage and recites their lines live for the first time. The scripts are read through over and over before being practised and memorised. When the time comes to deliver the lines live they sound 100% natural and come across with the required conviction.
So for the retail shop assistant rather try this:
"Hi, my name is Harry. Is this the first time you've been in our store?"
If the customer says "No" you welcome them back and thank them for coming in again. Something like "Welcome back. We value our clients and thank you for coming in again. May I ask what you've purchased from us before?" Now you've started a conversation and can lead them into discussing a new promotion you may be running, highlight new stock arrivals etc. You've then earned the time and trust required to enquire about their motivation for being back in the store and therfore how you may be of value and assist. You've now been elevated to trusted advisor in their eyes and no longer just another sales person.
If the custromer answers "Yes", you go out of your way to make them feel welcome. "Wow that's great. We love having new customers in the store and we look forward to being of value to you. Let me show you around and highlight … (either where different sections are, point out items of interest or whatever is appropriate to your store). As you now walk them around you're engaging with them as to what their needs are and again become the trusted advisor offering value.
As you can see a business should be designed to be successful. It therefore requires a lot of thinking, planning and attention to detail. Often the seemingly smaller and insignificant areas are the most crucial. Start today by designing, or redesigning, a new way of doing business. Script every interaction and focus on getting the language right. Document it and then make sure you train, practise and role play it until it become habitual.
Article written by Harry Welby-Cooke from Action Coach for Sanlam Business Market.