Retail Selling Skills - part1


As an author of both a book for commercial sales (Advisor Selling) and a book for retail selling (The Retail Sales Bible) I often get asked if there is a difference between selling in retail versus selling in other industries.


The simple answer is sorta. If we are talking about the principles of selling like questioning skills or how to answer an objection, then the principle is the same; it is the approach that may be different. 

For example, in a commercial selling environment, I would ask many more questions than at retail. There is a direct link to the amount of information I derive from the customer at the front end of the sale to the success of closing the sale. Plus, the average sale in a B2B environment is dramatically higher than retail. (granted there are some cases where that is not true, but 90% of purchases we make at retail can be made without financing or a big checkbook. Often times, we forget that purchases like groceries or pool cleaner are retail purchases. Usually when you read an article like this, it is talking about selling HDTVs or clothing or furniture.  

Because of the differences in purchase amount, the "patience" of the customer is different. Think about your own experiences. When you went to buy a car, you took a lot more time making that decision than you did when you bought your Blu-ray DVD. 

So, you liked all of the questions the salesman asked when buying the expensive car, but if the salesman spent 10 minutes asking questions about your DVD player, you would consider him prying. 


The number one reason people do not do well selling in retail is that they are not a fit for retail. You hire people who fit your culture.


Simply put, that means you hire people who are magnanimous and genuine. Then you train them how to sell at retail. Just because someone has a resume with lots of retail experience, does not mean they know how to sell at retail. Retail selling requires loads of patience. And patience is not something I can train. Retail selling requires lots of smiling - again not something I can train. An employee must come to the job with these attributes or values already. Then I can teach them the right questions to ask when selling. 



Compiled in Editorial Board of Retailiran



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