Shop owner taking notes

Anyone working in sales, remotely or on the shop floor, deals with customers – it’s their job to sell and to assist the customer when he or she is looking to buy something. In shops people are hired as sales assistants, sales associates, salesmen, sales manager and so on. The job title very often reflect the focus of the management – the emphasis is on sales, selling, profit. As a recent staff-blunder (or Freudian-esque slip) showed us; big companies ask their staff to make the customer spend more. In this case – without naming and shaming – an additional 50p. Whilst it is a modest amount, it crystallises where the focus is. It is not on making the customer happy, listening to their needs or helping them – but on wrenching their pockets for pennies to drive profits. Huge companies may afford to neglect customer service on the shop floor – independent retailers cannot and should not.

Convenience matters a lot to the customer, which is why so many less-than-friendly supermarkets are around. They have the right location. If your shop isn’t the most convenient, make sure you offer unbeatable value to the customer. The places you and we all make an effort to go to, are places providing more than just the item you are looking for. Doesn’t sound like your nearest big chain supermarket does it? Customer service is the number one factor – if you manage to start a friendly chat with the customer, that carries a lot of weight. Customers will return because of that, despite having to walk around an extra corner or paying a little bit more.

Here are a few very simple things you as a salesperson can do to build great connections with your customers.

  1. Smile – there’s an astonishing number of grumpy-looking salespeople out there.
  2. Greet your customers – Acknowledge them as soon as they walk in. Be attentive.
  3. Be helpful and efficient – Take your time to do things correctly, but don’t faff.
  4. Listen – What exactly does the customer want? Try to understand their aim with the purchase.
  5. Solution-minded. The above four culminates here. What is the customer’s ‘problem’ and how can you best solve it? Item with faults? Of poorer quality than expected? Take some time and consider the various scenarios and give some thought to how you would like to be treated if you were the customer.

By implementing these very simple approaches you make the customer feel appreciated – you give them value which far exceeds your average big brand chain outlet. Create a positive connection, which in turn will create positive ripples about you and your shop.

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