It can be difficult for retail consultants to find the best way to approach a customer. New consultants especially may have a hard time finding an approach that’s welcoming and helpful, but not annoying or intimidating. Though many companies spend years training sales or customer service reps on the best approach, one of the perfect ways to approach a customer is simply by saying “Good morning.”
Opening with a polite, simple statement such as “Good (time of day)” is the perfect way to create a positive conversation right off the bat. However, most sales associates and customer service reps immediately drop the ball and make awkward or closed-ended statements, or ask probing questions. Start the phrase with “Good (time of day),” and move into open-ended yet simple questions like “Can I help you find something?” If the customer doesn't need any assistance, most likely they’ll answer with a smile and go about their way.
If a retail consultant is trying to open a new account through the phone or in person, it’s essential that the rep allow for an organic conversation. Again, begin with “Good (time of day),” but allow the potential customer to answer or respond. By launching into an immediate pitch, the sales rep runs the risk of creating a very one-sided conversation that will annoy the customer. If the message feels rushed to the sales rep, it definitely feels rushed to the customer. It’s also important for the rep to make the customer feel as though he has time for the customer right now. Patience with a customer may lead to a more positive outcome or sale.
The retail consultant should remember that in this day and age, customers have almost endless options when it comes to choosing a company to spend their money with. Thus, the retail consultant needs to do everything he can to stand out — and by making his approach more personable and opening the conversation on an unarguably good note, he creates a positive engagement almost every time. Greeting a customer and allowing for an organic conversation can lead to more positive interactions, repeat customers, increased loyalty and referrals, and even more sales.
However, following up or opening a conversation with statements like these can lead to an ugly stain on a company’s reputation, so retail consultants should ensure that they remain positive and helpful throughout the entire conversation.
By creating a more personal engagement and allowing the customer time to respond and interact, retail consultants create the feeling of time and patience in what might have been an otherwise rushed conversation. Even if the customer doesn't have a great deal of time to spend in a store, positive engagements and approaches will have them coming back time and time again.
Image courtesy of Judy Baxter at Flickr.com