Hi there! You’re in the middle of a series on Sales Strategy.
This is the first installment, I hope you enjoy it!
Acknowledging Your Customers
If there’s an important point you should take home from the world of face to face selling it’s that you should always acknowledge your customer.
When I was working in a busy mobile phone store we often got overwhelmed with the amount of customers entering the store.
The very first sales principle I was taught by my manager was that we acknowledge our customer’s presence.
Personally, I think this is what makes the difference between someone that’s happy to wait to be served and someone that stands there huffing and puffing and finally being quite agitated when you do get around to helping them.
If you give a genuine nod of acknowledgement, say “hello, we’ll be right with you”, or something as simple as making eye contact and smiling then you’re already off on the right foot. They instantly feel special.
It’s so easy to get into the mentality of treating your customers like sheep to be herded, especially in a busy retail situation. But let me tell you, you’ll be losing customers faster than anything. People like to feel appreciated and even something as simple as acknowledging that they are there can really go a long way.
Translating this into online terms, or any situation that isn’t face to face, you can still play the acknowledgment game.
Recognise their presence by way of a greeting box, a personal introduction, appropriate site description telling them what they can expect if they stick around.
On websites, breadcrumbs can help people get their bearings, to let them know where they are and more.
Introduce yourself, both visually and with a bio. Let them know you’re not just a faceless website.
Greeting Your Customers Appropriately
ME: “G’day mate, howsit going?”
CUSTOMER: “I’m not ya mate, buddy. And I’m bloody pissed off you with lot.”
That is almost word for word describing a scenario that happened to me not long after I started selling mobile phones.
The term “mate” is used quite liberally here in Australia (and in the UK) as a jovial way of greeting someone. You could say it’s similar to “Bro”, “Buddy”, “Champion”, “Dude”, etc. I’m sure you get the picture.
While it’s tempting to think that these kinds of greetings build rapport, you’d be quite wrong. All it takes it someone with a bad temper, someone who got up on the wrong side of the bed, or someone that’s just easily put off and you could be losing sales.
Needless to say, from that time on I greeted customers more courteously. With a friendly tone, but not too friendly.
- “Good afternoon sir, how are you today?”
- “Morning ma’am, how may I help you today?”
- Even, “Hi there, I’m Josh, could I give a hand with anything?”
Sounds dorky, but it’s really best if you find a neutral way to greet your clients.
One Final Point
A disturbing trend has started surfacing here in Australia’s retail scene and that’s asking people questions that I think are just a little too personal. It’s the old fake “trying to get to know you” gag.
As a consumer, I hate it. It’s absolutely the worst thing in the world forcing your customers to make small talk with you because you both know one thing for sure: You really don’t really give a stuff what I had for breakfast or what I’ve got planned for the rest of the afternoon!
Seriously, if the talking isn’t genuine and if you’re not interested in what they had for breakfast, don’t ask. It’s as simple as that.
I’m not saying stand there in silence – just drop the facade.
I hope this sheds a bit of light on keeping your customers as happy as they can be from the word go.
Remember these techniques can be applied to all types of sales scenarios. Get creative.
If you’re selling online, are there better ways you could be greeting and guiding your new customers? What happens when they first enter your site? Maybe you could do some exploring in your customer’s shoes. It’s the best way to get a grip on things especially when you’re not able to gauge feedback.