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Lisbiz strategies: Overcoming objections by using creativity

August 19/26, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 5

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Even seasoned professionals get dismissed by customers who use certain statements to put them off. Rather than challenge the customer, many often give up. This is the point where true salespeople shine. Rather than being thrown off by common consumer objections, creative RSAs seize the opportunity.

To be successful, however, you need to be prepared. You must also believe in yourself, your products and your brand. Following are frequent consumer objections, along with suggestions on how to overcome them:

1. “I can’t afford it.” This is my personal favorite. We all have had times when we couldn’t afford something, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t ultimately buy it. You’re not doing your customer a disservice by ignoring this statement. Persist by building value. Show the customer how she can’t live without the product. Review the customer’s “conditions of satisfaction.” Why did she decide the product was for her in the first place? Review the features and benefits that fit the customer’s key concerns. You can also suggest a product that is less expensive and help her compare the two. Don’t let the customer dissuade you. Your job is to make her feel you have her best interests at heart and show her your product is what she needs.

2. “We’re just looking.” You’ve heard this a million times and you might be tempted to leave her alone. Don’t do it. Yes, people just look, but if you leave them alone while they’re looking you run the risk of looking like you don’t care. Statements like: “We have some new products, can I point them out to you?” “We have a huge selection, can I help you find the right product?” “May I look with you?” These should be followed up with rapport-building statements—anything other than trying to sell them. Talk about their kids, the weather, whatever, etc.

3. “I have to ask my husband or my wife.” One reason the customer might say this is because she/he doesn’t trust your judgment. If they don’t believe what you’re saying, they certainly don’t want to make the decision alone. Ask them what their spouse likes. I bet they know.

4. “We’re not prepared to buy today; we have to look around.” That’s fine, don’t be afraid to tell them you understand. Respond by explaining you don’t want them to miss out on special products and pricing. As they’re looking around, ask what they’ve been thinking about.

5. “I’ll know it when I see it.” This is really a funny statement. Try this: “What will it look like when you see it?” Or, “Tell me what the ‘perfect’ product means to you.”

6. “It’s too expensive.” This is similar to “I can’t afford it.” Surprisingly, this response gives you lots to work with. Review the customer’s budget and explain why the product she likes will be less expensive in the long run. Products that hold up are never expensive, no matter how much it costs.

7. “Your competition is cheaper.”Customers like to scare you with this statement—don’t let them. You can acknowledge their statement, but this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Your competition might be cheaper, but you might exceed them in other areas. Explain what makes you different and what you’re willing to do for them. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better even if it’s the same product.

If the customer leaves your store too soon, chances are you won’t get the business. The longer you can keep them in your store, the more likely you are to sell them.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: TISE 2020 education—Behind the scenes

May 27/June 3, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 25

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

I recently returned from the TISE 2020 educational planning meeting in Irving, Texas. This is the third year I’ve been chosen to be on the committee. It’s interesting to find out what the attendees think of the prior education tracks and what seminars they would like to see moving forward. This information helps us determine the types of seminars to present in 2020.

As Katie Thompson, senior content and project manager and program moderator, stated: “The importance of the feedback from the participants from 2019 can’t be understated. It gives us an idea of what is important and what we should keep or eliminate. Having different industry professionals get together for a day and a half gives them an opportunity to share their expertise and great ideas.”

TISE is known for its grand exhibition, but the education program is considered an integral part of the show as well. The educational classes start the day before the show opens so it doesn’t detract from traffic on the show floor. In fact, the more savvy manufacturers use the classes to drive attendees back to their booths when the trade show opens. At Surfaces 2019, several manufacturers sponsored seminars and were involved in the design and presenting of these seminars. The participants’ comments indicate the attendees liked having the manufacturers present and be part of the education program.

The education committee is also an opportunity for industry professionals to get to know each other. Since many of the professionals come from different parts of the industry, this is probably the only time they get to share ideas and learn from each other.

So, what’s on tap for next year’s educational seminars? Installation, for sure. During our talks, we were challenged to come up with more ways to showcase the installation trade. Included in that discussion are the fabricators, who are often overlooked at the show. Both groups share a common concern of how to find new business. The subject of helping installers take better care of their physical health, namely their knees and backs, was a major concern for the group. Providing seminars for installers and fabricators on how they can differentiate themselves from the competition was also discussed at the meeting.

Developing more sessions for interior designers was also discussed and supported by the participants. Manufacturers as well as retailers are interested in finding ways to network with them, and Surfaces is a great place to make it happen. Providing CEUs for ASID could help drive traffic among this key target group. Another idea is to give the designers a platform and competition for them to showcase their skills.

One suggestion was to have industry experts make themselves available in the halls to answer questions. These industry experts can be retailers, manufacturers, installers and consultants. We have people who can tell you how to get around the show—why not have “hall monitors” to answer specific questions on marketing, retailing, installation or showroom design? It is useful and would add another fun element to the show.

Participants also agreed that more networking programs couldn’t hurt. In fact, it was suggested that attendees get “matched” before the show and then follow up to meet at the show. That could get interesting.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: How to make the most of TISE after the show

February 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 18

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Surfaces is a great time to catch up with friends and customers. It makes me aware of how important people are in my life even if I only see them once a year. Thank goodness for social media.

This year I decided I would take away information from Surfaces that will be useful until next year. That means new people, new products and new ideas.

I picked up as load of magazines and sent them home. Keeping up on new products is difficult; I’m interested in trends and what architects and designers are thinking. The concept of “aging in place” is a tremendous opportunity for our industry. I hope you are attending local classes.

There is another designation called “Age Safe America.” I just took the class; it is very insightful. It’s important you know what kinds of flooring are safe for customers who are planning on staying in their homes long term. If you want to know more about it, reach out and I can give you a course discount. I will be teaching a course on “aging in place” in Albany in March.

When I found out I didn’t have to walk miles to get my badge I was elated. Could this be any easier? The layout with the speakers and the press made it easy to network and talk with people. The meeting rooms were close by and the rooms had sofas and chairs in the front row. It was like talking with people in my living room. Normally I would be spending my time looking for my meeting room and rushing around. I had less stress and more time to meet and talk—my favorite things. Hats off to Katie Thompson, senior content and project manager, The Design Group | Global Exhibitions and all those at Informa for making it easier to navigate the education sessions.

This year I took photos of certain displays and posted them on social media and asked friends what they thought. There were lots of comments from attendees and others who just follow my posts. I forget that flooring is very fashionable, and who doesn’t like fashion? Since I’m teaching a class for realtors and retailers, “The Value of Historic Homes,” I spent time looking at products that could be suitable for period homes. I live in a historic area in Albany, N.Y., called Hudson Park. My neighbors are always asking me what flooring and paint colors they should use in their homes. Reach out to realtors and ask if you can show flooring at one of their internal trainings.

Many of the floors in period homes are old and elegant so sand and finish or screen and recoat is often the solution. If there is extreme damage, a new floor is called for. I found some perfect “historic” flooring and will bring some samples to class. By the way, if you’re in the Albany area and want to attend any of my realtor classes, just let me know and get my schedule. I teach an all-day product knowledge class that is well attended by realtors. This is a great place to network. Teaching these classes has made me more aware of flooring fashion as well as the technical aspects. I am also teaching the “Historic Homes” class in Rochester, N.Y., on March 27. If you live in New York and would like to host one of these classes, let me know.

Despite the long days on my feet, TISE never ceases to amaze me. Thanks to the industry and how hard everyone works to make TISE a success.

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Lisbiz strategies: Resolve to do better in the coming year

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

No matter how old I get, I still like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. There is something about it that makes it fun and gives me something to look forward to. This year I have decided to be very specific. I will spend time learning how to get closer to my customers.

The only way this will happen is if I change the things that make me uncomfortable. I have to change my attitude and outlook. There are certain things I fight—much of it has to do with changing social media. I learn it and then things change and I’m lost.

I admit to having a new desktop computer that I rarely use. The one I like is 10 years old and it is likely to quit any day. (Yes, everything is saved to an external drive.) It turns out I love the keyboard, so why not just change them out?

Another resolution is to learn how to present power point from my iPhone. Unfortunately, neither the Geek Squad nor the Apple store has anyone who knows how to do this. I met a young man at one of the computer stores who said he will teach himself how to do it and then set up a course for me. He said he has had several people ask him how to do it.

My web developer suggested I do short, weekly podcasts and ask for donations. What? He has someone who is doing it and has a huge following. Will I have a huge following? I do not know but it is time to find out if anyone out there is really listening. I will also step up my YouTube and Twitter posts.

I am embarrassed to admit that it took me six months to decide to learn how to enter a customer’s name into my Follow Your Customer account. (Follow Your Customer is a powerful post-sale marketing tool no one should be without.) I just did not want to learn it; it was not easy and I prefer easy. Follow Your Customer has been one of the most valuable investments I have ever made when it comes to connecting with my customers.

Your customers want to hear from you and be part of your life, but it will never happen if you do not stay in touch. Have you ever heard that consistency is the best salesmanship? Consistency is surely the best customer service. It is time to stop and acknowledge that customers have tremendous power over us. Their choices are endless and they have no reason to be loyal. We are only as good as our last blog or Twitter post. We have heard over and over again the value of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Are you maximizing your relationship with these social sites? I know I can do better.

We all say we want more customers, but are you invested in doing what it takes to obtain them? It takes time and effort to build a following. I look at my number of followers and realize ‘they own me.’ It has taken time for us to connect and it’s time I give back.

It is important to understand customers are worth money. They buy my products and have expectations about our relationship. It is exciting to know customers want to hear what you have to say, and they are willing to follow you.

I love my customers—it is time to show them how much. What about you?

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Lisbiz strategies: Fighting fiery situations with cool temperament

November 26/December 3, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 12

By Lisbeth Calandrino

The other night a friend and I were having dinner at a local restaurant. All of a sudden, I hear a male customer yelling at the top of his lungs: “I’ve been insulted by the waitress; I don‘t have to take this!” He kept at it as the waitress tried to calm him down, but nothing seemed to help. Then the owner came out and the argument continued. The customer’s wife began crying, and the man huffed off to his car. His crying wife got her meal to go.

Apparently, the customer was cleaning his teeth with dental floss right at the table, and the people at a nearby table complained. It seemed everyone was upset, including two waitresses and the owner. The more they tried to calm the customer, the more he yelled. Nothing was working.

I talked with the waitress. She said she told the customer he was upsetting the other people, and he needed to stop cleaning his teeth. This set him into a rage. Maybe he felt wronged and humiliated. Who knows? But wouldn’t it have been easier to move the complaining couple to a different part of the dining room?

Many people feel anger is dangerous, and if they confront it they will also be out of control. One of the conditioned responses is a feeling of fear, which often stems from having been around angry parents or other adults when we were children. This makes us believe confrontation is dangerous. The thinking goes: If I’m angry, I’ll lose control, just like my father and mother. Being exposed to this as a young child produces a conditioned response and feelings of fear when we’re around anger or confrontation.

Anger is tricky. How you feel about it has a lot to do with how you handle it. Do you want to go and hide? Do you start to sweat, get furious or ignore it?

When it comes to conflict resolution, sometimes the best solution is finding a way to de-escalate the problem by letting the aggrieved person have their say and empathize with them. The theory is people just want to be heard and acknowledged.

Situations such as these can be unpredictable, and you never know what will happen once you open your mouth. We live in a society where situations can quickly turn violent. Here’s my advice: Whenever possible, look for differences in opinions rather than who’s wrong and who’s right. If I had been sitting next to Mr. Floss, I think I would have just said I would like to move. My feeling is there was no reason to confront him or take sides. No matter how wrong the person is, taking sides only heats up the argument. The real problem started when the waitress told the man he was upsetting the other patrons. Other than bad manners, what was the man guilty of?

The moral of the story is, whatever happens, don’t take it personally. When you are trying to litigate a situation, taking sides will only exacerbate things. Show empathy to the injured party. This means understanding their feelings, although you might not agree with them. The waitress could have told the annoyed party that she understood this might be upsetting, and she would be happy to move them. Instead, the waitress summoned both the boss and the owner and confronted Mr. Floss.

When dealing with angry customers in your business—and hopefully that’s the exception rather than the rule—it’s best to focus less energy on who’s right and wrong and more attention on putting out the fire to begin with. Remember—there’s always another way.

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Lisbiz strategies: Finding new customers in unlikely places

October 15/22, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 9

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

I have a therapist friend whose favorite expression is, “You can’t get chocolate milk in a turnip field.” It may sound silly, but if you’re looking for something specific, you had better know where to find it.

Looking for new business should be on the top of everyone’s list, but I realize it takes some time and effort. Like many retail owners, I’m time-starved so I get it. But this year I’ve been reintroduced to opportunities in the building and remodeling industry. This is an industry that directly connects to the flooring business. For many of you, it’s your bread and butter business.

I recently spoke at the Leading Suppliers Conference (LSC) in Portland, Ore. The LSC was established by the National Association of Home Builders in 1964. The conference serves as a multifaceted supplier resource for the building industry that represents the business interests of its members through advocacy, education and networking. I understood how important this connection was when I realized how many of their members operate in the flooring space.

In addition, I presented a talk on coaching at the Remodeling and Deck Expo in Baltimore earlier this month. The show is managed by Informa Exhibitions, the same folks behind TISE. If you’ve attended this event, you know Informa Exhibitions understands how to put on a great show. While preparing my seminars, I thought, “I don’t come from the remodeling or decking industry. What could I teach them about their business?”

I decided to tell them that no matter what the industry, all businesses have three things in common: How do we make money? How do we hire good people to help us make money? How do we keep them?

Following the seminar, several business owners came up to talk to me about their companies. I felt accepted and that my information was useful to them. The lesson learned here is, if you can establish commonalities with people you’re on the road to building connections.

As a retailer, if you’re seriously looking for new business, consider partnering up with some of your customers. Look for those businesses that are in a position to help you get more business and you can reciprocate. In my mind, the remodeling sector represents a great fit. Findings reported by Metrostudy—a firm that provides market insights to help builders, developers, financial institutions, manufacturers and retailers make informed strategic business decisions, deploy investment capital and improve risk management—predicts this coming year will be great for anyone in the remodeling and building trades.

As a recent market summary showed: “The strong economy and increased demand because of 2017’s natural disasters led Metrostudy, a sister company to Remodeling, to boost its 2018 prediction from the 4.7% rise in activity it forecast three months ago. Metrostudy now predicts there will be 12.57 million projects launched in 2018 that are worth at least $1,000. That’s up from 11.96 million last year.” (As I sat down to write this article, Hurricane Michael had just made landfall in Florida. There may be more business than some retailers can handle.)

Bottom line: Remodelers and builders are your customers; they need your help. Why not start calling builders to attend one of their meetings and find out what they need? Think of how excited your customers will be when they see you’re networking with their builders and understanding the trends in ‘their ‘worlds.

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Lisbiz strategies: Info-based dialogue sets sales process in motion

September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6

By Lisbeth Calandrino

There are various types of conversations we all use to function in everyday life. When attempting to converse, whether person to person or in a group or organization, it is essential to understand the different types of conversations and how each type functions.

Informational conversation is what most people would define as conversing. It is the type of conversation that “gets beyond the gate keeper,” and this is important when it comes to establishing a level of trust or rapport before making a sale.

Informational conversation concentrates on exchanging facts and/or pieces of common information. These facts can be correct or incorrect but, most importantly, they are free of opinion or feeling from either of the participants. It is a low-risk conversation in that it reveals little or nothing about those involved.

The basic, informal “hello” gives a clear invitation to begin an informational conversation. It acknowledges that someone is responding on the other end of the phone in a polite and direct way. If the person smiles when saying “hello,” the person on the other end will hear the friendliness in the speaker’s voice.

A more formal greeting could do more to orient the caller into the conversation. Saying the company name first gives the caller a better idea of whom she is speaking to—for example, “Discount Carpet, Hillcrest branch, this is Juan, the manager speaking.” The caller is able to confirm she is calling the correct place and speaking to the person who can effectively deal with her problem.

If the caller requests to speak with someone else within the organization, the person answering the phone should reply courteously, “I can get them on the line in just a minute if you are willing to hold.” He then should wait for a response. If the caller agrees to hold, the employee should set the phone down with the speaker directed away from any noise and quietly get the person the caller is waiting for. If the business has phone extensions, he can easily transfer the call to the correct person and thank the caller for waiting.

Advising your sales associate to stop talking may seem counterintuitive to making a sale, but many salespeople often talk excessively and fail to listen to the customer. We often feel that we need to control the conversation, or we will lose the sale. However, the problem with constantly talking is you are unable to truly understand the underlying needs of the customer.

When qualifying a prospect, you are evaluating whether or not she is in a position to decide to buy your product. If you are talking to someone in an organization, it is important to speak only to the person who has the authority to finalize a purchase. If the person is not authorized to make a deal with you, then find out when the person who can close the deal is available and call back. 

Once you have the person with authority on the line, inquire if he or she has the means to close the deal. This may involve finding out information about available funds on credit cards, lines of credit and monthly budget. Informational conversation is a great way to get the ball rolling.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Is your call center the weakest link?

July 9/16, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 2

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Every business has someone answering the phone; technically, this is your call center. Your call center is a crucial personal connection your customers have with your business. There’s a company I often do business with called Harry and David. They are an American-owned, premium food and gift producer and retailer. Their employees are so well-trained, they almost act as your party planner. They even go back into old catalogues and look up specials for you. Nice, huh?

How many times have you called a business but were frustrated by the person who answered? Did you have to ask them their name? Did they sound like they were put out by your call? Did you feel they were multitasking and you weren’t part of their important conversation? You might have felt you were actually being rude by interrupting their day.

What I’m reporting is way too common and it’s a huge financial drain on business, maybe even your business. Unless you are actually monitoring the calls, the only feedback you ever get from your employees is someone called and needed information. You don’t get a sense of the emotions between the caller and your staff. It’s just as important to know what’s not said.

It’s because we believe everyone inherently knows what to say on the phone that the call center gets overlooked. However, phone skills are a highly valuable tool to have in your employees’ skill set. Call-center training will give your employees these skills.

Teaching your employees these valuable skills will make them more confident, improve sales and help gain new customers while retaining your current clientele. A more confident employee is also one who is happier, and happier employees will produce more happy customers. This will lead to higher productivity throughout your organization. A business needs to gain customers, not lose them.

So, what is a good call-center strategy? As the owner, it’s your responsibility to determine how you want your phones answered and to make sure it gets done through your management-coaching system. I suggest using my SMARTER system, which is an updated version of the SMART system. As a refresher, SMART is commonly attributed to Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives concept. I have improved the SMART acronym to include “Evaluation” and “Review.” Having metrics you can evaluate and review with your employees will ensure they reach their highest potential.

If turnover is keeping you awake at night, getting your call center up to speed will fix that. The use of a monthly service to monitor your calls may be a profitable consideration. Oftentimes, it’s important to have another way to look at your problems. Call-center monitoring gives you another avenue to keep up on the vital signs of the health of your business. I had a client in New Jersey who set up a monitoring system to listen to her calls. We would discuss the content and the emotional consequence of the conversations. She said listening to the calls exposed what was going on between her employees and customers.

These are things I have in my bag of tricks gained over decades of fruitful experiences from business owners like you. I’ve worked with the best and the worst and, like you, I know the difference.

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Lisbiz strategies: Incivility can lead to a hostile environment

June 11/18, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 26

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

While a training program on workplace manners and courtesy may seem like overkill, the reality is this: Rudeness is an epidemic costing industries millions a year. For nearly two decades, Christine Porath, acclaimed business professor at Georgetown University, has studied and observed a sharp rise in rudeness, emotional harassment, bullying and other toxic behaviors that can cost companies financially and employees their health and well-being.

Civility represents social norms and rules that must be followed to positively and productively relate to others. More than ever before, people are feeling disrespected at work. Employees feel they’re working in a toxic culture with insensitive managers and being treated disrespectfully based on gender, race or religion.

Oftentimes, this incivility leads to more serious forms of harassment. All incidents of harassment require employers or managers to respond quickly and appropriately. If issues are left unaddressed, a hostile work environment can develop, which can expose employers to further complaints and lawsuits. What society seems to be gaining in terms of both knowledge and technological advancement, it’s losing out on basic social values that directly impact the bottom line.

To address the growing problem of incivility, a company must make it a top priority. Everyone must understand the concept of civility, its importance to a company as well as its typical causes and effects.

Skills needed to effectively practice civil behavior, as well as different ways organizations can systematize civility in the workplace, need to be discussed. The benefits to civility in the workplace are countless and will pay off immensely in every aspect.

When Porath asked people in one survey why they were uncivil, more than 25% blamed their organization for not providing them with the basic skills they needed, such as listening and giving feedback. If your employees aren’t behaving well, and you’ve already gone through the trouble of hammering home the organization’s civility message, ask yourself, “Have I also equipped them to succeed?”

Don’t assume everyone instinctively knows how to be civil. When coaching employees, focus on helping them learn to listen, give and receive feedback, work across differences and deal with difficult people. Don’t just impart information; be explicit about your organization’s values.

Make civility a part of your mission statement, posting it somewhere visible. Engage your team in a dialogue about what your norms should be, then make it clear to your employees they need to hold their managers and colleagues accountable for living up to your norms of civility. Be explicit about your organization’s values.

One great reason to practice civility, you’ve heard this before—no man is an island. No matter how talented or indispensable you are to your business, you need to rely on suppliers and other people to get things done.

It’s worth noting—civility goes beyond good manners.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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Lisbiz strategies: Build relationships, get the sale

May 28/June 4, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 25

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

Last week a retailer emailed me with a problem: “Some members of my sales team are losing sales at the last moment. I’ve been in business 20 years, and nothing ticks me off more than when I watch a salesperson lose what appears to be an easy sale. In my head, it’s a slam dunk. What’s up with these people? Have they forgotten how to close?”

I give this retailer a lot of credit for not jumping into the middle of the sale; it must have taken a lot of discipline. If it were me, I would have been on my feet, selling and yelling, in hopes I could save the sale. If the sale seems imminent, ready to close and then vanishes, it sounds like there’s a failure to ask for the sale.

Salespeople are often obsessed with closing a sale. They push features and benefits in hopes that they will make it happen. By presenting features and benefits, we are also assuming that buying decisions are all logical. Research tells us that not engaging the emotional part of the brain is a huge mistake. For example, think about the last time you bought a car. You were interested in the car, gas mileage or service schedule, etc., but it’s likely when you got in the car you were more engaged with the new car’s look and smell.

With today’s consumer, the key is to open the sale with conversation not a sales pitch. Customers have plenty of information from the Internet. If they are in your store, they are looking more for a patient friend than an aggressive salesperson. There’s no need to rush the customer. It’s important to be where the customer is, not where you want them to be.

Savvy salespeople know that closing the sale relies on a series of sales conversations with the customer. Closing doesn’t happen by itself and its doubtful the customer will say, “I’ll take it,” as soon as you show her the flooring she asks for. Everything the salesperson says on the front end of the sale is in preparation for the closing. The Internet has changed the salesperson’s role in the sale, but if the customer is in the store, he needs help from the salesperson.

Successful salespeople work to develop a trusting relationship with their customers. Without one, the customer is not going to buy no matter what. The goal is to connect with the customer on a personal level. You may have friends in common, kids who attend the same school or you might like the same sports team.

The only place where a relationship may be unwanted is at The Dollar Store or any other off-price store. In these places, the salesperson’s main job is making sure the merchandise is on the shelves.

Building a solid relationship is the key to the sales process. Closing a sale is natural—providing you have done the right preparation. During the sale, it’s smart to check in with the customer, ask if she is getting the information she needs and how you’re doing. When the customer is satisfied, and you are confident, ask for the sale.

Enjoy your time with the customer. There’s no need to increase the pressure, in fact, that method can backfire big-time. Be yourself and engage her. You want the customer to have a positive feeling about you—she will be your connection to your next customer.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.