Whether your business is experiencing a busy or plodding Christmas sales period, it’s clear that start-ups are faced with a growing challenge in 2012 to lure cash from Australian consumers.
As recent reports show, Australians are still reticent to part with their money unless compelled to do so, with many waiting for last-minute Christmas sales before splashing out.
And, of course, there is the inexorable rise of eCommerce, with the global competition it brings, to challenge for the retail dollar.
So, how can your business cope in this environment in 2012? The answer is to embrace the basics of sales as the figurehead and driving force of your start-up.
Selling is the soul of retailing. In absence of good salespeople, brands, store designs and advertisements will fail to bring profits to the shop.
To create a good sales team, store managers/owners search hard to find good salespeople and, once they do, spend a lot of time training them.
Unfortunately, people who intend to make their career in retail often consider selling as an entry-level grunt job.
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Despite being good at the art of selling, lots of salespeople would rather move to other areas of the industry as soon as they can. This is such a waste!
In a retail environment, everyone hired as a salesperson sells, but most are not successful at it.
Here are six steps to help encourage customers to part with their money:
1. Make customers feel welcome
Greet your customers with a smile and warmth. Instead of hiding yourself behind a sales counter, come out front and break the physical barrier. Your website should be accessible, easy to use and have a personality.
2. Build a rapport with the customer
Repeat customers afford a great opportunity to move from simple greetings to a little chat about niceties.
An exchange of non-sales-directed talk will go a long way in helping the customers open up and build a better relationship.
3. Know your product and services
Invest some time in understanding your product or service. Try to know all the features of the product and their relevance from customers’ point of view.
Ignorance about the prevailing promotion schemes will not only hamper the sales but affect your career, as well.
It is a good idea to know the advantages and limitations of your product or service.
Knowledge of the market and the competitors will add value to your service, because you’ll be able to differentiate your product from the rest and position it advantageously.
4. Follow up
Many retail salespeople make the mistake of treating customers as a one-time transaction.
They consider the deal to be over once the customer makes the payment. Follow-up is the key to get repeat sales. A satisfied customer brings referrals and buys again.
A follow up could be via text, email, social media, unexpected coupons found in their bags – the list is endless.
5. Help people
Help people in your store. Take an interest in them and answer their questions with a positive attitude.
Find out their requirements. Even if they don’t buy anything from you today, maybe they’ll buy from you tomorrow.
6. Focus on the customers’ agenda
Don’t forget that you are paid only because customers buy from your store. Learn to think only from a customer’s perspective.
Hard-selling or trying to sell fast may earn you your commission today, but your company may lose that customer in the long run.
Customers have the power. They can make or break your business.
Ensure your in-store and online experience is a good one. They’ll remember!
One of Australia’s leading small business coaches and mentors, Debra Templar just hates stupid business practices. So she’s on a mission to change them. She blogs for StartupSmart here and her own consultancy business can be found at www.thetemplargroup.com.au.