After calling on hundreds of the best boutiques in the US over the past several years, we've witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly in retail sales person practices. While the average boutique sales person is pleasant and polite, nearly all would benefit from a few basic sales techniques to boost their performance and turbo charge your bottom line.
Here's "what we see" followed by "what could be" by using what we call the CIRCLE technique ... and what it could mean for your store if you do.
Think about the last few times you visited a boutique as an unknown first time visitor to the store. There's a good chance the sales person greeted you in one of the following ways:
1 - they ignored you completely
2 - they said "welcome, can I help you"?
3 - they said something like, "hello, let me know if I can help you find something in particular."
These greetings are often followed by a watchful eye from afar or a hovering shadow following you across the store.
None of these behaviors open up a dialogue or begins to create a relationship with the customer. Both of these elements, having a dialogue and building a relationship, are key. As the time tested sales adage goes; "People buy from those they like all things being equal. When all things aren't equal, people find a way to buy from those they like!"
Now consider the CIRCLE approach:
C - a Comfortable and Customized greeting: "Good morning ladies, I hope you're enjoying this beautiful day."
I - a personal Introduction: "My name is Alice Smith"
R - a statement about your Role or value to them: "I know every nook and cranny of this store and it's my job to help you find what you're looking for."
C - Confirm the customer's intent: "We'd love for you to just browse around or I'd love to help you zero in on some special items if you'd like to give me some guidance..."
L - Listen and take cues from the customer. They may tell you exactly what they're looking for or just be browsing. If browsing, respect their space but also find ways to comfortably and periodically check back in. The goal is to keep the conversation going so they'll feel attended to and comfortable with asking for help as they shop.
E - Expand the sale: "I love your choice of that blouse. We've got a scarf that really dresses it up if you want the flexibility to create a few different looks." Remember, the easiest customer to sell is one who's already decided to buy so why not see if they'd like to top off their purchase with a complementing item or two?
Sure, the CIRCLE approach seems basic but you'd be surprised how many experienced sales people forget to follow these few simple steps. We're not suggesting the exact wording above and the approach is not meant to be rigidly followed in this exact order. Rather, the simple acronym CIRCLE is to be used as a guide and reminder that sales is about relationship building and delivering value first. Get your sales team to keep these things in mind and you'll find a quick and steady boost to your bottom line.