“Can I help you?” is a common greeting when entering a store. What is the difference between this and “Thank you for coming in! What brings you here today?”. What tells us more about the customer’s needs? Which gives the customer that experience they remember? The art of the opening line in the sales process should be easy and lead to more conversation and customer interaction. Helping your associates improve on effective customer greetings turns them into sales associates. Let’s dig into how we can improve your customer interaction.
When we first start to craft our openings we need to set a clear agenda in mind. We want to
- engage with the customer
- create rapport and trust and understand our customer
- helping the customer in finding a complete solution
This is the core function of a SALES associate. The title SALES person scares many people but that is what they are paid to do. I tell my clients that they should look at themselves as personal shoppers helping their customers find what they are looking for and maybe a few other items that will complete their solution.
Here are some tips on how to craft a great opening
- Make it personal. Make a comment about what they are looking at. “I see you are looking at one of our cashmere sweaters! Just so you know that one comes in 4 colours and we have a slightly different style over here.”
- Make a genuine and appropriate compliment about them. “I love your eyeglasses! They are pretty funky! Where did you get those?”
- Talk about the weather or something else that is happening in the neighbourhood (special events?) “So has the sun managed to come out yet?” “Have you checked out the art installation a couple doors down?” “Have you been spending the day on the patio at a nice restaurant?”
- Ask them if they have been in the store before? If not tell them a little about who you are/what you do/where to find things “Is this the first time in our store?” “It is? Well just to give you a little bit of info about us, we….”
- Ask them questions about what brought them into the store. Are they shopping for themselves? For a gift?
- “I see you are looking at… Is it for you or are you looking for a gift for someone?”
- ALWAYS use open ended questions (ones that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. It forces your customer to open up the dialogue and gives you more opportunity to learn more about your customer and how you can help them.
In my previous life managing stores I would encourage my staff to make it a game. Everyone tried a new way to start a dialogue with everyone that came through the door. At the end of the day we would all vote on who’s was the most effective. It was a fun way to get the staff to come up with different and unique ways to interact with customers and never once did it take a special degree to come up with some good ones!