As a retail store owner or manager, one skill you need to develop is closing a sale. After all, making sales is the whole point of your retail business.
Without sales, your business would not thrive. Even when you have the best products at the most competitive prices, if you do not have the ability to convince the shopper to buy, your products will remain on shelves – collecting dust.
The reality is that in many segments of retail, shoppers often require an extra push before make their decisions. Even as a business owner, you also need to be a great salesperson, as understanding sales closing strategies is key to running a successful retail business. And, the good news is there are several proven techniques you can use to close a retail sale.
Let’s review eight techniques you can implement in your business to help you close a sale quickly.
1 – Create a welcoming environment
How your store looks goes a long way in determining whether a shopper will buy from you or not. It is very important your customers feel welcomed when they enter your store, and your customers should have a positive emotional response to your store.
Some factors that you can work on to improve the look of your store are:
Color scheme: Differences in color shades can have a significant impact on the emotional response shoppers experience while in your store.
As a general rule, darker shades tend to be more relaxing, while brighter shades feel more energetic. You can use brighter shades like red to draw the attention of shoppers to a particular product and use darker shades like blue in the background to create an immersive effect.
Music: If you aren’t playing music in your store, you should start doing so. Also, the kind of music you play is important. Most customers would hurry out of your store if you are playing hard rock metal (unless you are a store that sells rock merchandise). Playing the most trending songs in your store can work. Customers are more comfortable when they are hearing sounds they are familiar with.
Scents: Your store should always smell good and welcoming. Make use of air fresheners regularly to give it a nice smell.
Your goal is to give your shoppers the best experience possible. The more they feel at home in your store, the more money they are likely to spend.
2 – Engage the shopper
If you aren’t actively engaging the customer, you might be letting a lot of sales opportunities walk out the door. From the moment a shopper walks into your store, you should start engaging. The sooner you start a conversation with the shopper, the faster you can close the sale.
By engaging with the customer, you show you want to help solve any need or problem they have at the moment. A good rule to follow is to wait for about 10-15 seconds before engaging. This gives them time to leave the noise of the outside world and focus on the reason why they are in your store – to shop.
3 – Address shopper concerns
The best salespeople are ones who want to solve the needs of shoppers and customers, and focus on delivering value with your products, not just on the price.
Shoppers can sense when you want to help them solve a problem and when you just want to make a sale. Look at these two statements: 1)”This suit will be perfect for your graduation ceremony next week,” and 2) “This suit is on sale. You can get it for cheap.”
In the first statement, the salesperson is trying to help the shopper meet a need. The second sentence shows a salesperson who just wants to sell a suit.
You are more likely to close a sale when you use the first strategy. Brick-and-mortar retail stores can hardly compete with big brands like Amazon based on price. The only way you can gain a positive ROI from your business is to treat your store as a community.
Address your shopper and customer concerns. Show you care about them, and not just their pockets.
4 – Demonstrate value
The biggest obstacle that often prevents you from making a sale is presenting a price without connecting the value of the product to the shopper. If you do not get it right with your sales presentation, most shoppers will complain about the price of your product. An important part of your marketing mix is demonstrating the value of the product.
Before you start discussing the cost of the product, first focus on what value the shopper will receive from it. When you show customers the value the product can add to their lives, you can then defend the price you are asking for.
Demonstrate value before you discuss price.
5 – Do not badmouth your competition
It can be very easy for you to badmouth your competition to make your store look better. But you shouldn’t do this.
Due to a phenomenon known as spontaneous trait transference, shoppers might begin to associate those negative traits with you, thereby killing sales opportunities. You might think that trash-talking your competition would make you look good in front of the customer; but, often the reverse is the case.
Instead of talking ill of your competition, talk about what makes your store or products awesome. Focus more on your value proposition and what the customer will gain buying from you.
6 – Hire the right staff
As with all customer-facing industries, in retail it is critically important you hire the right people and train them appropriately. The staff you hire play a key role in your store’s success.
If you hire the wrong staff or staff that are inadequately trained, you will be placing your brand at a disadvantage. It is better to invest your resources in one or two employees who are adequately trained than multiple employees for a cheaper price. While an associate who is trained in sales and retail management might cost you more, the rewards you will reap will be more significant.
If you already have employees who are not working efficiently, you should train them better. The cost of training your staff doesn’t have to be very expensive either.
7 – Suggest complementary products
Never end the sale too soon. After a customer agrees to make a purchase, always recommend products that complement what the customer has bought to achieve add-on sales.
For example, when a customer buys a shirt, instead of just closing the deal, you can recommend a tie that matches the shirt. The customer is already in the mood to make purchases, so if you show the customer the value they would get from the tie, they are more likely to purchase it too.
This strategy is known as suggestive selling. One thing to note is that suggestive selling is not just about making more sales, but about delivering value to the shopper. If the product would not add value to the customer, do not suggest it.
Tip: Always recommended complementary products that are cheaper than the customer’s initial purchase. Your goal is to make them feel better about their overall buying experience.
8 – The last resort
There are situations where the strategies above might not work and you will have to save the sale. In situations like this, you might have to resort to old fashioned sales techniques to get the deal done.
Create a sense of urgency: The customer might be urged to make a purchase when they learn a certain product might be available for only a limited time.
Offer a freebie: Customers love free items. You can get a customer off the fence to make a purchase by offering them a free item. To be effective at this, you need to have a good knowledge of your merchandise.
Practice the assumptive close: A proactive sales associate working an assumptive close might say something like, “I’ll wrap up this gift for your wife,” as a Valentines Day shopper browses down an aisle loaded with seasonal merchandise. Even when a shopper hasn’t fully made a decision, you can urge them into making a purchase with an assumptive close.
Be selective and rely on these strategies as a last resort. When you coerce a shopper into making a purchase, they might leave your store feeling like you pushed them into making a purchase and this could be bad for your business over the mid- and long-term
Even though this isn’t added to the list of strategies, your system of payment plays a crucial role in future sales deals. You should offer shoppers a variety of ways to make payments easily. If customers find it difficult to pay for goods, they might not come back.
You shouldn’t be concerned about just making a sale now, you should also think of future sales. One of your business goals should be to improve your customers’ loyalty to your brand. The only way to achieve this is by offering them the best possible shopping experience.
About the writer: Marvellous Aham-adi is a freelance writer and content marketer. He teaches individuals how to start a profitable blog, improve productivity, and grow a brand using marketing at TheZeroed.
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