Sell more with these steps to summertime multi-customer success


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Summer can be a pretty challenging time for retailers. Due to vacations and some personnel having long weekends off, many stores are staffed more lightly than during the rest of the year.

There is also no rhyme or reason to traffic flow. You’re dead as can be when you expect to be busy, and the store seems to get slammed when you least expect it. (And definitely when you haven’t scheduled for it.)

That’s why it is so important for your staff to successfully work with multiple customers. It’s a skill we think about at Christmas time, but it is just as important in the summer.

It’s natural to think that the busier the store, the more you must be available to help customers. The problem is that this doesn’t create the level of engagement that leads to more sales. 

With the US coming up on a holiday weekend, now is a great time to make sure your staff is able and ready to help multiple customers at once.  Take a few minutes to print out and review these important steps to multi-customer success.

1. Welcome each customer just as you would on a slow day. Don’t default to “How may I help you.” Summer customers have fewer needs than December shoppers, but with the right engagement they’re just as likely to walk out with a purchase. They just need the extra special experience and product engagement you can provide to spur them into buying.

2. Get the customer engaged with products. This is a vital part of creating summer sales, and it also makes it easier to work with multiple customers. The products become like your sales assistant. She needs to try-on that new bathing suit. He needs to sample that fudge. They need to see the box on the pool floats. Don’t wait for a customer to do this. Move her to the dressing room without asking. Walk around the counter and present the sample. Hand the box to them. 

3. Introduce yourself immediately upon engaging a customer, and ask his/her name.  This will make your customer feel that he/she is getting special attention, even if it is off and on attention.  Our work with high traffic retailers has proven that introducing yourself greatly increases the likelihood of a customer staying and making a purchase in a busy store. 

4. Use breakaway statements to move back and forth between customers. Being able to engage a customer and then graciously turn away to assist another is an art, one that is critical to maintaining a positive experience inside your store.  This technique allows you to leave one customer in order to assist another and therefore be able to provide a consistent level of service to everyone who enters your store.  Here are the essential parts:

a. Acknowledge how busy the store is, and your ability to work with them. By saying something as simple as, “As you can see the store is crazy busy, but I’ll still be able to help you find the perfect vacation outfits. Now let me show you this.”

b. Give the customer you are leaving an assignment, homework, so to speak.  “I have to go and help the gentleman over there, and when I get back I’d love for you to show me which two items you like best.”  You’ll be surprised how well this works!

c. Let them know why you are leaving.” I am just going to go ring that customer up, and I’ll be back in two minutes.”

d. Ask for permission to breakaway to help another customer.  The customer will always say, “Yes”, but asking lets your customer know you’re still committed to helping him/her.  “Would you mind if I took a moment to help the customer with the strollers?”

e. Let them know that you will be back shortly to check in on them, but give them permission to interrupt you.  “I’ll be helping Ms. Johnson with some new sandals, but if you need my help before I come back please come and ask.  I know she won’t mind.”

5. Reengage with purpose.  Saying, “You doing ok?” doesn’t work. “Which of those colors do you think goes best in the living room,” does.  Following up on the homework you assigned them is an even better way to reconnect, “Well, what are your two favorites?”

Whatever the time of year, it is vital that you win every customer and maximize every opportunity. This summer, that might mean mastering the art of multiple customer engagement.

So let me ask, which of these five steps do you already use? In which of them can you improve? Practice them this week so you’re ready to maximize all of your summer opportunities.

By the way, stores in the Southern Hemisphere can obviously still practice and improve in multi-customer engagement. (I don’t want you think I forgot about you!)

– Doug

Note: Want to sell even more this summer? My proven SellMore Sales Solutions will easily, quickly and substantially increase your store’s average sale and/or conversion rate. The goal is to provide you with a minimum of ten times return on investment. Reply to this email to schedule a free consultation.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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