Connecting with customers the minute they walk in

When customers meet you for the first time, they make a decision about you as a salesperson, and consequently the store, in the first 30 seconds. Besides the quickness of the decision, psychologists tell us it is very instinctive. So, on the retail sales floor customers will look at your face, clothing, body language and listen to your words and decide on you and the store as a package in that half a minute.
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A SNEWS® Training Center article brought to you by Paul Kirwin

When customers meet you for the first time, they make a decision about you as a salesperson, and consequently the store, in the first 30 seconds. Besides the quickness of the decision, psychologists tell us it is very instinctive. So, on the retail sales floor customers will look at your face, clothing, body language and listen to your words and decide on you and the store as a package in that half a minute.

With this in mind, how do you more positively engage customers when they walk through the door of your store? Here are five simple things to remember.

  1. Be natural. If you like to offer a smile and make eye contact first, great. If you like making the initial connection by shaking hands with a quick introduction, great. A leadoff statement that engages, great. Any of these can break the ice, but it has to fit you. Customers know when it doesn’t.
  2. Be sincere. This means complimenting your words with the right body language. “May I help you?” with no eye contact and no smile sends the wrong message. You might as well be saying, “Don’t bother me. I can’t help you.”
  3. Make sense. Customers listen to the initial greeting. Don’t just throw out a greeting and hope the customer picks it up. For example, 'Raining hard out there'…that’s a statement going nowhere. However, if you make sense by asking, “It’s supposed to rain for three days, did you have something planned in this weather?" Now, you’re making sense, and leading the conversation.
  4. Be easy-to-approach. Some very good floor salespeople greet customers with a smile, a nod and a short greeting, and then stay in the immediate area by arranging a clothing rack. This opens the way for customers to come back to you and say, “I have a question.”
  5. Be happy. Why not? You are working in an outdoor sporting goods shop. Customers like coming into a place that is full of conversation, and good vibes. Contribute to that atmosphere.

You are an expert in one of the most exciting businesses in the world, sporting goods. Most customers are “jacked” about coming into the store. They have money, they want to learn, and perhaps buy something that will improve their lives. Make the connection and make’em feel like they made the right choice of coming into the store…right from the beginning.

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