Reaching Retail Customers in a Brick and Mortar Store


Selling goods and services in a brick and mortar store can be quite daunting at times. For the commission-based sales consultant clouds, rain and snow bring a downturn in sales. On those sunny days when you -- the sales person -- would rather be doing something other than work, your best customers are arriving at your store. Many of those customers are ready to buy.

Sunshine can easily equate to a prosperous sales day. When you finally get a day or two off to relax, like your customers, you would like to be able to have the cash and credit to shop at an upscale retail establishment or engage in activities that you enjoy. To enjoy the fruit of your labor you must actually bear fruit. To bear fruit, you must sell and sell well.

In the competitive world of sales, getting the right customer may be a matter of chance. There is a matter of the roulette wheel. If three customers enter the store around the same time, two out of three may be browsers -- those persons who stop by the store simply to discover what you sell. While the browsers are adding to their dream lists, the third customer has an actual shopping list. She is ready to buy.

While there are customers with cash and credit able and willing to purchase on the spot, there are many others -- those who come for information and to browse -- who too often find you rather than your associates. Some of those customers are engaged in a decision-making process, while others are saving money or simply dreaming about the future.

Unless, the visitor to your store is merely a curiosity seeker or a paid secret shopper, you have an opportunity with that customer.

The opportunity begins with a broad smile, a friendly disposition, and an attitude of willingness to help. How you greet the customer may very well determine the customer's ultimate response. The shopping experience is personal. Each customer wants to be respected and understood.

At some point in your engagement with the customer you are going to have a discussion -- either when the customer first walks into the store or later after the customer has browsed some of your merchandise.

Part of your job as a sales consultant is to qualify the customer. Discover your customer. Why is he in the store? What merchandise appeals to him and why? If buying later, what are his concerns or issues? Like a lawyer gathering information for a trial, you can win this case with just a little skill and finesse.

If the customer simply does not have the cash or credit to purchase, be understanding and take down his name and contact information. Tell the customer that you will contact him if the item he wants goes on sell. He will appreciate your effort.

Some customers need the spouse or partner to help with the decision or simply provide the cash or credit card. In that case, set an appointment or at least be sure he knows your work schedule.

Remembering your customer's face and name are important also. It is so easy to miss a returning customer due to your bad memory.

Sunny days bring lots of visitors to your store, but not all visitors are ready to buy. Initially, running into customers who are slow to buy may be disappointing, but customers do return when they are in a position to buy. If you connected well with a customer she will look for you specifically upon returning.

With sales, there is instant gratification, but often that gratification is delayed by days, weeks, and sometimes months.

As revealed in the famous fable of the "Tortoise and the Hare" remember that "slow and steady wins the race."
Ricardo Whitaker
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Ricardo Whitaker has an extensive background in sales and marketing and purchasing. After serving as a Purchasing Manager for several years in the Washington, D.C. area, he returned to his roots in journalism to start a community newspaper in Columbia, Maryland, called The Guilford Gazette. Seeing the need to diversify, Ricardo began selling high end patio furniture and other seasonal goods and services.

Ricardo's sales experience extends from inside sales to outside sales, including telemarketing, door-to-door, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer.

In marketing, Ricardo covers public speaking engagements, writing and designing ads and marketing brochures, and constructing creative and extensive marketing campaigns.