Retail Sales Skills:
When taking a look at retails sales skills it’s easy to think about what your sales people do. You may even consider retail sales training. But first, it can be a great idea to start with your customers. Ask yourself some questions, get the answers clear and then think about what your sales people do. Here are some key questions to start with:
What are your customers buying?
The first answer is of course whatever is in your store, physical or online. But think beyond that. What are they buying in terms of their wants and needs. For example, when some customers go into a store they want an experience. They can probably buy what they want on line, but they can’t yet have the same experience as being in a store. See more on experience below.
So what are they doing there? Do they want to try stuff or try stuff on? Would they want to talk with an expert? Do they need advice? Are they looking for reassurance? Do they want to compare? Do they need information on which to make a decision? Your customers are buying so much more than just whatever is in your store. First step is to think of what it is they are buying. Once you’ve worked out what it is they are buying you can start to refleect on the retail sales skills required.
What are your customers' expectations?
Expectations are everything. Every customer who walks into your store has expectations on the experience; the products or services; what they are going to do; how long they will be in there; the kind of customers in there; your sales people; the layout; the lighting. Your customers have expectations on every part of the interaction. If you map out the range of expectations they have or might have you can then start to work on what your sales people need to do in terms of their retail sales skills.
What do your customers really want?
For me this is the most important question. Wants are emotional drivers of every purchase we ever make. If you can work out the wants of your customers you can really make a difference. Take Apple as an example. When you go into an Apple store what do you want? Maybe it’s to ask what might be considered as ‘stupid questions’, and although they don’t exist in my book, it still feels like that. Maybe you want to try the different pieces of technology. Drilled down we could be talking about reassurance; to experience the coolness of Apple; knowledge; how it can work for me; connectivity. To summarise maybe it’s about going into the store and being yourself. Not having to act the way customers are supposed to, but be yourself.
Take another example. Say you want to buy a football. You go into a sports store. After some searching you find the footballs. Now what do you do? You pick one up.You squeeze it. But what do you want to do? You want to kick it. You want a small piece of astro turf, a goal and to try kicking the ball. That’s what you want. Once you work out the range of wants your customers have you can then start to work on the retail sales skills of your sales team.
What experience are they looking for?
We’ve said already that part of what your customers look for is an experience. Consider the experience your customers currently receive. You can map your customers’ experience from outside your store to leaving. Then you consider what you would like your customers to experience at every step.
How your sales people interact with your customers is of course crucial in the experience. This is where their retails sales skills come into play.
Here is a checklist you can use in assessing your sales people and their retails ales skills:
- Customer engagement.
- Listening skills.
- Demonstration of personality.
- Living the brand.
- Demonstrating an understanding of customer needs and wants.