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Should I encourage my staff to chat to customers in-store?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 | By Debra Templar

Should I encourage my staff to chat to customers in-store? Or should I just get them to hurry through people so that the tills keep ringing?

 

It depends what they’re chatting about. If they’re muttering about how the boss won’t let them talk because they have to hurry everyone through so the tills ring – then I’d say no.

 

People go to supermarkets, fill their trollies, line up at a till, say half a dozen words and then leave with their products. They do not expect the same vibe in a retail shop.

 

What they do expect is service with a capital S. And that means people being people.

 

The goal should be to establish a person-to-person relationship rather than a salesperson-customer relationship. Customers don’t trust salespeople but they do trust people.

 

Person-to-person conversations are the key ingredient in breaking down resistance. Short and quick statements don’t get you anywhere.

 

Small talk is not small. It’s important.

 

The quality of your opening dialogue with your customer is everything at the beginning of your presentation.

 

Of course, if it isn’t good, you really don’t have to worry about the rest of the presentation because you won’t have a customer to talk to.

 

Have you ever walked near a customer without even mumbling a word and still heard, “I’m just looking”?

 

The point of customer-to-salesperson resistance is proven again.

 

Any time you have the opportunity to hang out in a non-business conversation with your customers, take it.

 

They want it. It makes them feel special. And it’s fun.

 

People like it when other people take an interest in them personally. Nobody wants to be treated as if they were number or just “another” customer who makes the till ring.

 

After a few moments of person-to-person conversation, it’s time to get down to business and move into finding out what they’re looking for and how you can help them achieve their desired end result.

 

You'll find that not only will your tills ring when conversations are done right – but you'll get higher sales too.

 

It’s all about timing and training your staff on conversational selling– then trusting them to do their job.

 

It’s not about you being a policeman, hurrying them along to give minimal customer contact in the hope the tills will ring.

 

Doing so will send you broke.