The result from a Google search of this is ironic – a book for sale, on none other than Amazon. Dare I say, it looks like the big ‘A’ must have taken a page out of their own book….please don’t leave, this article gets better.
But seriously, there is a reason books and merchants have spelled out this simple truth since the dawn of commerce.
The reason is that poor selling techniques can make low conversion rates happen to good people. But don’t let it happen to you!
Thankfully, there’s a new kind of sales associate on the block.
The SUPER SELLER.
These goal-oriented growth driven and tech-savvy people are perfectly poised to take retail brands like yours into tomorrow. You’ll need to equip them with comprehensive training that develops their skills and enables them to help shoppers explore product options, deal with concerns and make helpful recommendations.
The investment is worth it – when you engage them in your business, they have the power to establish meaningful connections with shoppers, creating a winning service strategy.
For example, Grail Research/Mindtree found that 43% of shoppers who interact with associates are more likely to purchase, and these transactions account for 81% more value compared to customers who haven’t had this interaction.
Take on this 3 Pronged Plan to get (and keep) your associates all charged up and ready for action.
Equip them for the best
- Immerse them in the brand world and culture.
- Provide technologies that can keep them up to date with company news, macro trends, or to make their busy-work easier so that they are free to help customers.
- Empower them to understand their own impact on retail traffic conversion rates with group workshops or individual meetings that include them in target goals setting.
- Incentivize to excite!
- Coach with consistent feedback.
- Schedule and deploy according to a good strategy. Send most sales soldiers out on the field in times of high foot traffic, not according to your historical highest sales hours.
Prepare them for the worst
Dealing with difficult situations come with the customer service territory. These important make-or-break points happen before, during and after the purchasing phase. Keeping these points handy will help prevent them from putting a foot wrong.
- Acknowledge the customer with a smile and open body language.
- Listen first.
- Summarize all pain points
- Communicate what you can do about it, or assure them you will put them in touch with someone who can. And then actually do that.
Now, this needs some extra attention. To ‘listen’ sounds passive- but it’s actually a very productive skill. If a customer is in distress, acknowledge that and try as much as possible to operate from within their frame of reference.
The below Ted talk, The Power of Listening By William Ury, fantastically highlights the importance of this skill. Here is a man who has helped negotiate civil wars with the power of listening, or as he puts it, listening to get to yes. We think it’s safe to to say this can help your salespeople get more yesses.
Understand Where You Stand
Receiving feedback on your store and the service within it will not only help you run your business, but also helps you coach your associates to better their skills and provide job fulfilment.
How do you get feedback?
Your teams will gather valuable insights during interactions, however, these opinions might not be shared among the majority of consumers, or may not be very valuable feedback in the bigger picture of the business. And if this feedback is actually about your store teams, you’re likely not to receive a truly honest account until it’s on your brand’s social media page and the damage is done.
That is why from a management perspective it is important to keep customer service as a separate area of focus, so that you can make proactive decisions.
The feedback funnel starts with identifying key patterns or trends from a broad analysis of all how associate interactions fare at encouraging customers to reach the point of sale.
Are associates giving your visitors the right amount of time to browse before approaching them in a non-invasive manner? If they are busy with another activity and a customer enters, are they acknowledging the customers and assisting them when needed? Is there a particular zone in your store where people prefer to be assisted, and others where they decline help in order to browse freely?
Once you know these patterns, you will know what areas need your most personal attention during your store visits. At this stage of the feedback funnel, you will be better informed to either ask the important questions in store or to send out to customers within your database.
A tip: Always begin with open-ended questions to know what customers are thinking- rating scales and multiple choice questions tend to limit their answers within your own assumptions.
The best way to track your customer service and its impact on purchases is with the feedback funnel. First, a customer analytics solution like Vision measures interactions related to the journey from traffic to POS. Then, more targeted direct questions will unlock the reasons behind it.