4 Ordinary Practices of Extraordinary Retail Sales Associates


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Anyone who has worked in retail knows that there’s usually a wide spread between the top-performing salespeople and their less-successful colleagues. There are often one or two superstars in a store who perform head and shoulders above all the others. Not only are they invaluable assets to the company, but customers also truly appreciate them! Moreover, in a commissioned sales organization, they’re often the happiest, since they receive financial rewards for their hard work.

So, what sets these extraordinary salespeople apart from the rest? Are they in on some secret that the underperformers haven’t discovered yet? Are they born with some innate talent for sales? Or, are they simply expert at covering the basics? Let’s explore four ordinary things that extraordinary sales associates do so well that they consistently outperform their peers.

They know their best customers

It’s no secret that personalizing the shopping experience is an effective strategy to get shoppers to spend more. In fact, a recent study found that nearly 9 in 10 consumers admit that personalization has at least some impact on their purchasing decisions. It feels good to shop in places where you’re more than just an anonymous stranger.

The most talented sales associates easily identify the customers that are worth getting to know. This is one area where technology can help every sales associate perform like the very best: using clienteling software, for example, to review lists of high potential shoppers.

They know their products

Nowadays, shoppers are incredibly knowledgeable. They research products online before making a purchase, look at reviews, compare prices, and read descriptions. Even when shopping in-store, they’re equipped with their smartphones that connect them with a world of information in their hands. Customers’ expectations of sales associates – who are supposed to be the experts in the products they sell – are thus understandably high.

On the flipside, many retail sales associates are poorly equipped to respond to even basic product questions. It’s not unusual for them to have access to far less information than their customers! The best salespeople are often the most knowledgeable about the products they sell. This is another area where technology can help elevate average salespeople: mobile solutions like MPOS or a virtual look book can be loaded with product details and can even be used to process transactions or create orders, elevating the customer experience.

They remember the details that matter

Identifying your best customers is a start. Knowing them and remembering important personal details about them, however, can truly make a difference. The best salespeople remember relevant personal details like your size and style preferences, favorite colors, and brands you like. They also remember personal details like your wedding anniversary, or even your dog’s upcoming surgery. These details may seem irrelevant to shopping, but they can go a long way to making the customer feel special and important, putting them at ease.

When customers feel appreciated, they’re naturally going to feel more loyal to the associate, and ultimately, to the brand. How, then, can ordinary sales associates juggle all the details? Clienteling can be used to record these details in the customer’s electronic profile, whether it’s standardized data like brands and sizes, or simply freeform notes about anything the associate wants to remember.

They build relationships

The best sales associates aren’t only “on” when the customer is in front of them: they continue to nurture relationships between store visits. They reach out proactively to the right customers about the right topics. It’s more than just cold calling a list: they deliver value to their customers by reaching out to them about relevant topics. For example, to let them be the first to know that the store just received a shipment from their favorite designer, or that there’s a trunk show next week where they can save 10% on a new moto jacket.

Social media can be another great tool for associates to keep the relationship with key customers alive. They can snap pictures of new jewelry pieces on Instagram, or pin outfits on Pinterest. What’s important is that the relationship is genuine and based on subjects that truly interest the customer. It shouldn’t feel forced or fake. The best sales associates are totally natural in the way they communicate with customers and are genuine in their reasons for reaching out.

The best sales associates aren’t wizards: they’re simply great at covering the basics. Technology can play an important role in empowering every sales associate to perform like the very best. When you equip your sales associates with tools like clienteling and MPOS, they gain access to the data and features needed to elevate the customer experience and ultimately, sell more.

Danya Rielly
Danya Rielly is the Digital Marketing Manager at Mi9 Retail. She writes about shopper behavior, customer experience, retail technology, and other trends affecting the retail industry.


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