Many retailers believe that to increase sales and survive the recession they just need to get more customers.
But this is only part of the answer. Without a clear strategy for converting and retaining customers, it is pointless to increase spend on marketing and advertising just to get them through the door. Retailers need to ensure that customers part with their cash once they cross the threshold and that they want to repeat the experience.
Having a defined sales process that details exactly what should happen when each customer enters the store should be a priority for every retailer. By defining a formal sales process, you give staff a framework in which to conduct every customer encounter and help to clarify what is expected of them.
Use the following six-step example, which Retail Performance Specialists outlines in its free business building workshops, to create a sales process.
Acknowledgement: this is essential when creating a friendly and comfortable place to shop. Engaging and qualifying: understanding a customer’s needs and building rapport is vital. Features and benefits: retailers should recommend products according to customers’ needs. Adding on: introducing relevant complementary products. Handling concerns: it is essential to question, to understand and reassure the customer. Lasting impressions: the customer should leave feeling that the visit has been enjoyable and worthwhile.
Once you have documented your own sales process, you need to train staff regularly to reinforce this process so it becomes second nature to them. You also need to hold them accountable for each step so they know it is non-negotiable and they don’t revert to old ways of doing things.
- Nick Waller is sales and marketing director at consultancy Retail Performance Specialists