I was just speaking to someone today who wants to sell over a million dollars in the next year of a well-known brand of furniture. She knows it can be done – a sales person in my area has done it. She knows retail is different than selling services and products in other environments. She is right!
Don’t you hate it when you go into a store and the sales people start heading your way. How often have you had the very short “Can I help you?” “No, I’m just looking,” conversation? What those retail people don’t realize is that they are invading their potential customers’ space! (The other problem, of course is finding a sales person to whom you can ask a question – why are they invisible then?)
What if retail sales people simply asked; “What is the weather like out there?”, while aiming their body away from the customer and only looking at them with their face? The weather as a topic has great potential for both, being non-threatening and establishing rapport, especially when accompanied by an indirect body posture. Then you can engage in an innocuous but pleasant conversation. If you don’t like talking about the weather, you could ask about something else that is going on outside your store. The point is to connect in a human way – not giving the impression that you are vulture descending on fresh meat!
What many sales people forget is that the first step is to get on the same wavelength with their prospective customers. No rapport – no sale. When you are in rapport, you can then establish trust and your client will feel more comfortable to tell you what they need.
For more ideas on connecting with your potential customers check out my article: Whining and Connection Theory.