The Holiday selling season will soon be upon us and as a retailer, your goal is to capitalize on the increased store traffic.  While you may be thinking of Closing Sales, a more effective strategy is to think of Opening Customers.  Opening a customer to buying one product from you will transfer to other products.  That means larger transactions and more repeat purchases.  When you think about opening customers and not just closing sales, you make choices that will keep your customers for the long term.

    Great retail salespeople are communicators in both directions: listening and explaining.  To succeed, sell yourself, then your company, then the price.  If you do not sell the first two, then all you can do is sell on price.  Salespeople at your store should start off knowing one thing:  people want what you are selling.  Your customers have choices about where to do business.  But customers walk in because they are interested in buying something from your store.  Someone, somewhere will make the sale – it may as well be you!

    If you make the decision to tell your customers ONLY about prices, you leave yourself open to being undercut and lose customers.  Any competitor can take your customers by slashing prices.  When you make the choice about trust, expertise and a relationship, it will be very hard for competitors to take your customers away.  Sales, then, is about selling yourself and building a relationship – not about selling products.

    Salespeople are valued when they have knowledge, experience and honesty.   Honesty is the most important of the three.  Customers want to interact with someone who will make them feel good about their purchase.  Your goal as a salesperson is to help each customer understand how their choice fits into their goal and then find out more about other needs that could also be fulfilled.  Some customers want to make an environmentally sound choice, others want a smart value-quality equation, some want to support a local business.

    By now, you may be up to your eyeballs in the “say’s and do’s” your company expects you to execute to succeed this holiday season.  Just remember, you gain customer trust by treating them individually.  Then they will be more receptive to listening to your ideas about other products that will help make their lives easier.