Why Oh Why Must We Ask Customers To Buy?

Check the box next to the statement that describes you best:

I am an expert at closing because:

[   ]  I always remember to ask for the sale and customers usually say yes.

[   ]  I know what time the store closes and I’m good at locking the doors and counting the money.

If you checked the second box, this article is for you. If you chose the first box, this article is for you, too. You can pat yourself on the back for all the things you’re doing right.

Have you ever almost purchased something, but didn’t because no one gave you that extra bit of encouragement you needed to take the plunge and buy? Have you ever purchased something and realized there were accessories or other complementary items that you wish you would have known about while you were in the store?

If you can identify with one or both of the above scenarios, then you’re well on your way to understanding why attempting to close sales and adding on is a necessity. Closing the sale is simply asking the customer to buy, and attempting to add on is suggesting other items that complement the main item or otherwise suit the customer’s needs. It’s not just a good idea, it’s your job! If you’re a salesperson, selling is your objective. Selling means being a matchmaker—making perfect, successful matches between your customers and the merchandise you sell.

Let’s consider the customer’s perspective. Most people don’t shop without at least a glimmer of hope that they’ll find something to buy. Sure, there are exceptions, but very few. We generally don’t visit stores that have merchandise that we don’t want or need, so most shoppers who end up in your store either want or need something. The shopping trip is not successful unless the customer finds something to buy.

So if a shopper’s goal is to make a purchase, and the salesperson’s goal is to make sales, why do millions of salespeople fail to even attempt closing sales? “I don’t want to be pushy. If they want to buy, they’ll buy.”

This attitude could be called the salesperson’s plague. It’s extremely hazardous to your success on the selling floor. To develop a healthy attitude that is conducive to tremendous success on the selling floor, keep in mind the following points:

Shoppers want to buy, that’s why they’re in your store

Helping someone to accomplish what they set out to do (buy) is not being pushy—it’s being helpful. It’s doing your job. “So if customers want to buy, why don’t they just do it?”

As we all know, customers often close for themselves by asking salespeople to ring up merchandise. As a matter of fact, many retailers would be out of business if this wasn’t the case. But if your job was simply to ring up sales, not to make sales, you’d be a cashier, not a salesperson. Your job is to build quality sales and see them through to the finish, and you don’t cross the finish line until you close the sale.

Sometimes customers don’t volunteer to buy because no one gives them that extra nudge they need to treat themselves—or whoever they’re buying for—to something great. How many times have you helped clear the dessert cart because someone encouraged you to splurge, be carefree, treat yourself? And how many times have you gone to the movies, on a trip, on a date—whatever—because someone was smart enough to ask you to do it?

It’s hard to ask someone to spend money.

Closing the sale with a lack of confidence is awkward; closing the sale skillfully and confidently feels perfectly natural. So how does one go about developing confidence in closing?  At The Friedman Group we’re fond of saying that salespeople must earn the right to close the sale.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the keys to doing just that before you actually go for the close:

Build a friendly rapport with the customer to break down resistance before getting down to business.

Ask plenty of probing questions to determine precisely what your customer wants and/or needs.

Listen carefully to everything your customer says, and offer supportive responses to let them know you’re paying attention.

Demonstrate the appropriate merchandise with enthusiasm, and get your customer involved in the demonstration.

So if you’re not in the habit of closing until all the customers are on their way home, put these closing tips on trial and see what happens. Then remember to give yourself a little extra time to count all the extra money in the register at the end of the day!  JBA









Harry J. Friedman is an internationally acclaimed retail consultant and Founder/CEO of The Friedman Group. Since 1980, his retail sales and management techniques have been used by nearly one million retailers worldwide. For information on upcoming retail seminars, training programs, on-site training, and eLearning, call 800-351-8040, email [email protected] or visit www.TheFriedmanGroup.com.







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Author:Jewelry Business Advisor