03 Feb 14 Tips Every Small Retail Business Should Use To Boost Sales In 2016
If you manage or own a small retail business, you’re probably searching for the silver bullet of sales pitches. What is that secret ingredient for instantly increasing your revenue and turning your sales team into a well-oiled, money-making machine?
Well, there may not be one magical piece of advice out there, but there are plenty of tried and true methods for increasing sales. Putting your team through a great sales course is a good start, but sometimes the little things are where you’ll see the biggest improvement. Read on for not just one but 14 hot sales tips you’d do well to pass on to your salespeople.
1. Challenge your salespeople
According to the RAIN Group, 82% of top performing salespeople say they have challenging goals. So expect a lot from your employees. Give them a chance to impress you and feel motivated at work. Set up high expectations, high numbers, and great opportunities so they can do more than sell the easiest, cheapest items. Make your people feel like they really can improve and make a difference for you customers.
2. Discover additional sales opportunities and upsell existing customers
Your existing customers are your most valuable untapped resource. As a business owner, it’s up to you to expand your business and give your sales team new opportunities to upsell loyal customers. As you’re developing new products and add-ons in your store, keep your employees in the loop so they’ll know about all your hot deals and upgrades.
3. Talk to your customers and your salespeople
Your sales force can’t sell to people they don’t know. Find out what your potential customers want and need through email communication and surveys. Ask your salespeople what questions they get the most and the top five objections they have to overcome. Once you find out this valuable information, spread the word to all your employees so they can pitch your products in the most effective way possible. The sooner your sales process is focused on the customer, the better it will be.
4. Believe in your product
It’s three times easier to sell a product you believe in, so do what it takes to communicate your passion for your business to your team. It’s your job as a business owner to express your enthusiasm, share all the benefits, and tell cool stories about your product to get your sales team excited about what you’re doing. Keep your company informed and excited about your product and the sales metrics will naturally increase.
5. Make a good first impression
Science has shown that it takes about one-tenth of a second for a first impression to take hold, so make sure your reps know how to make a great one. They will appear understanding and inviting by asking questions, letting the customer speak first, and making pleasant small talk. Even one positive comment can make all the difference. In one simple experiment, researchers found that when hotel waiters greeted guests with a simple “good morning” and a positive weather forecast for the day, this alone increased their tips by 27 percent.
6. Use inviting body language
90 percent of communication is nonverbal, so it stands to reason that your reps can communicate engagement, confidence, and pleasantness without saying a word. Instruct your salespeople to shake hands, smile, and use positive eye contact when talking to customers. And above all else, resist the urge to cross your arms. Open arms instantly mark people as approachable and has also been scientifically proven to boost memory retention too. If your reps keep their arms open, they’ll remember more of what customers say.
7. Listen, listen, listen
When you think of a great salesperson, chances are that you think of an outgoing, talkative person with so much charm it can’t be contained. In reality the very best know when to talk and when to listen. Talking customers to death can actually turn them off, so make sure your reps know when to guide the sale and when to let the customers express their needs and take the lead.
8. Always build trust
The entire point of a sales pitch is to persuade, and nothing is more persuasive than a trustworthy person. Provide your sales team with good information so when customers ask direct questions, your employees have clear, direct answers. If they don’t know the answer to a question, tell them to respond truthfully that they don’t know but will go find the answer. Whatever it takes to be authentic and straight with customers, that’s what your salespeople should be doing.
9. Humor is your friend
Few things boost sales like humor does. Encourage your sales team to be personable and make your customers feel comfortable and relaxed. Have them share funny stories and casually play off awkward situations that arise. They’re talking to real people, so it’s more than okay to get real with them. Chances are customers will remember your reps afterwards, and that will go a very long way in making sales and scoring referrals.
10. Don’t bash competitors
It’s inevitable that customers will bring up your competitors, but it’s essential for your reps to resist the urge to bash. Customers are evaluating every word that comes out of a salesperson’s mouth, probably more so than any other interaction. And thanks to the social science of spontaneous trait transference, people automatically associate gossip with the person who’s saying it. Stating that your competitors’ products are cheap and unreliable communicates to potential customer that you are also cheap and unreliable. Which brings me to my next point.
11. Be positive
No matter what your reps have to say, there’s always a positive way to say it. To give you an idea, here’s a list of negative versus positive conversation elements from Retailer Training Services:
“I don’t know” vs. “That’s a great question. Let me find out for you.”
“Calm down” vs. “I apologize.”
“We’re closed” vs. “We close at __ o’clock and reopen at __ o’clock. Is there something I can quickly help you with now?”
“Will that be all?” vs. “Let me show you __” or “Have you tried__?”
“It’s over there” vs. “Follow me! I’ll show you right where it is.”
“I can’t do that” vs. “I think the best solution is __”
“That’s not my department” vs. “Let’s go find the right person to help you!”
“We’re out of that item” vs. “That item is currently out of stock. We have a great alternative, or I can give you a ring when it’s available, okay?”
“That is against our policy” vs. “Typically our policy is __ but I want to make this right for you. This is what I can do . . .”
“I’m new here” vs. “Please bear with me and I’ll get you the help you need.”
“Hold on” vs. “Are you able to hold for a moment?”
“I’m busy right now” vs. “I’ll be with you in just a minute.”
“You’re wrong” vs. “I think there’s been a misunderstanding.”
“If you didn’t see one, we must not have it” vs. “Let’s see if we can find one for you!”
12. Keep the decisions at a minimum
Did you know people are more likely to say yes to a small number of choices? That means customers are more likely to buy a product if your reps give them three options instead of twelve. People are easily overwhelmed by too many choices, so tell your salespeople to live by the Rule of Three since science dictates that people can only remember three chunks of information simultaneously.
13. Give great labels
As human beings, when we hear something positive about ourselves, we naturally strive to embody that trait. One fundraising study found that when researchers told donors they were among the highest donors, even if the people were average donors they did in fact donate more than average. Your sales team can follow this same principle by giving your customers positive, genuine labels like “You’re one of our best customers” or “You’re so great to work with.” It seems small, but it’s a great way to connect with customers.
14. End High
Lastly, end on a high note. The last minute of a sales interaction is the part most customers will remember, so make your final words count. One interesting study discovered that if the final minute of a medical procedure is pain-free, patients will look back on the entire appointment more favorably. Bottom line? One final gesture like offering the customer a perk, giving them a mint, or paying them a compliment will help them remember your entire company in a better light.