New sales strategies see salespeople as facilitators

In Store Experiences

06/25/2015

With more information at their fingertips than ever before, modern customers need a new type of attitude from sales staff.

Keeping sales strategies stagnant through the years could be a key mistake for retailers. Businesses concerned with selling large-ticket items must realize that even though their products have retained a place in shoppers' lives, these buyers are changing with the times. The millennial generation is showing new tendencies, and businesses that don't take their preferences into account may end up experiencing weak performance.

There are two main considerations when updating the sales floor experience: changing the ways employees interact with customers and refreshing the technology they use. If one of the two sides - human or technological - is not up to par, the whole experience could suffer.

"It's no surprise online consumers prefer to keep things moving along."

Making the sale
What does it take to make a sale today, as opposed to a few years ago? A close connection between technology and in-person sales processes could be one of the most important elements. Consultant Jose Perez, writing for Inman, suggested that based on his own positive customer service experience, it is now valuable to have a smooth transfer between online and in-person shopping. Individuals who start their research online are welcomed into the physical store by employees who understand that they have already done some research and don't apply the traditional high-pressure sales experience.

Perez noted that the next steps combined high-tech solutions and a new approach to salesperson demeanor. The workers he encountered were equipped with touchscreen technology that guided the whole sales process. This integrated technology presence went alongside a low-key and helpful sales staff attitude. Perez pointed out that people imagine the sales process as a tense negotiation in which the seller makes the buyer "feel defensive," and it is hard to extract concessions or extra features. By subverting these expectations, dealers can enable a clean break from the past and potentially win the trust of buyers.

Image removed.Making a big-ticket sale today is more encouragement than negotiation.

It's no surprise that consumers who start their sales journey online, such as Perez, would prefer a customer experience strategy that uses technology to keep things moving along and encourages employees not to be overly aggressive about making the sale. After all, the home portion of researching the product was carried out at the consumer's discretion. Staff members picking up where that stage left off and leaving the customer in the proverbial driver's seat could make the in-person component feel like a natural extension of what has gone before. Consumers today may enter the dealership after having resolved to buy a car. The trick is to confirm that decision and not put the consumer off.

Educators and facilitators
Staff members today work with a customer base that is more informed than ever, from home Internet research to interactive kiosks on the sales floor. Small Business Trends contributor Rieva Lesonsky urged companies to acknowledge how much consumers can learn, and to turn their in-house sales staff into consultants. Basing her suggestions on data from the InReality report "Reality of Retail," the author explained that employees today "encourage the sale." The key to serving a technologically empowered customer base could be realizing people visiting a showroom are already farther down the path to purchase than in previous years, and they just need a slight push to close the sale.

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