Slumps are inevitable in retail – slow season, construction works in the area, or a decline in foot traffic. Here are 3 simple tricks to improve your retail sales.
1. Advertise More
When retailers decide they need to save money, advertising is the first thing they cut, but that’s a mistake. Marketing is very important for success. It is smart to increase marketing efforts during slower seasons because there is less money and more competition. Consider social media, magazines, newspaper ads, and even specialty publications.
Using what’s known as “remnant” marketing is one great way to do this. These are spaces in the newspaper that are like “holes” for the local publication – all your company needs to do is create a branding ad that the paper can publish at its discretion. A short ad with a powerful, impactful headline will do the trick. You can get loads of traffic from it. The ad should be as much branding play as a sales motivator.
2. Invest in Quality Training
Train your staff to always be available. Retail was a job of interacting with shoppers until recently. It’s not anymore. It has become a job of tasks. Staff are often so busy trying to get something done that they ignore customers who are obviously looking for help. Staff need to be trained and taught that no task is more important than paying attention to customers because the money these people spend pays their salary. The only valid reason for not helping a shopper is if they’re with a customer already.
Your retail company’s managers should be trained to be the best salespersons. A manager probably won’t recognize, analyze, and give direction when a sale is lost if he or she isn’t trained to begin with. A good manager will know how to make a sale, and how to unpack a missed one.
Teach your managers how to train their associates. Staff are being promoted to managerial positions based more on how long they’ve been working for a company and not based on merit. This can yield catastrophic results. They need proper retail sales training themselves if they’re to manage effectively. It takes more than congratulations and criticism. Both approaches can create a lot of damage to your staff that are left adrift.
A retail business’ managers have to know how and when to tell employees to behave differently. That’s because staff, like most people, don’t catch their mistakes or refuse to acknowledge them if they do.
The Human Factor
Above all, everyone at your retail establishment should become convinced that training must be based on human connection. This is of paramount importance. It’s necessary to bring employees’ skills up slowly. In the process, you have to change the way you look at your customers, the words you use in your store, and even the way you look at your employees. Employees will realize that training makes them more human when your managers learn to train and model listening over talking with customers.
If this doesn’t happen, they’ll always believe increasing sales is all about the product when it is really about making more connections and being more human. This will lead to bigger and more sustainable sales.
3. Connect With the Customer
Our last section will treat the aspect of actually interacting with customers. This is one last key to high sales – excellent customer service. To understand what your customer needs and wants, you have to talk to them and listen to them. There’s no other way! It’s always good to speak about the products or services in-depth and let the customer know you appreciate their business.
Offer products and services with added value. You could ask your customers for contact information and create a mailing list. Today, customers are looking for more than a product – they want an experience.
Think like a Customer
All too often, we’re told not to start selling until the customer turns our offer down. But you should be thinking like a customer, not a salesperson. The latter know how to sell in a general sense – find the problem, propose a product as a solution to it, negate their objections, and grasp their buying process. When we think like salespeople, we miss a lot of important things, like what motivates the customer, if they might be scared about something, and what is going to assure them that you’re the right person to deliver what they’re looking for.
You need to ask yourself why the customer came to your store, to begin with. To do that, you need to be personal and considerate. For example, the Ritz Carlton mandates that staff use a guest’s name several times in a conversation. This way, guests feel important and employees have to remember their names. Use your customers’ names wherever you can get them. Most of them will appreciate the gesture even if you don’t get their names right the first time.
Stand by the Customer’s Side, Not Facing Him or Her
It’s always best to speak at an angle. A customer can feel intimidated if you’re standing directly in front of them. Studies have shown the best way to sell to someone is to stand by their side.
Finally, don’t ask too many questions. Few customers will appreciate being bombarded with questions, and many of them will get suspicious and agitated. It’s possible to obtain the same or better information from them without asking too many questions. Ideally, they should be open-ended questions, not yes/no. The worst questions include “how are you today” and “can I help you find something”. With respect to the former, they know you don’t care. With respect to the latter, you’re missing out on impulse buys.
You have to work hard and find ways to stay positive and motivated. Building rapport takes lots of training, but it’s worth it. You’ll remain successful as a retailer, but you’ll also become a trusted advisor. Then, your sales will grow effortlessly. This informative article was brought to you by TopPOSsystem.Com
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