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Thursday, 23 April 2015

The importance of the Greeting!

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Picture this…. You’re in the market for a new 4K Ultra HD TV. Like most people you open up your laptop, find a reliable website and start your methodical research. Article after article review after review. With no prior experience or knowledge of this new technology you discover most of what is written says different things, gives you different advice and tells you the price you should pay. Confusion doesn’t even begin to describe what you’re feeling.  Something is missing! You finally make the decision that the best way to learn about this product is to visit a local retail store and actually talk to a human being about it. As you pull into the parking lot and look at the big sign above the entrance you hesitate. Why? The perception is that all retail stores are “commissioned” and all sales people will attempt to “sell” us on some type of product or service that will line their pockets but may not be right.

You walk through the door cautiously and make your way towards the TV section. As you slowly creep towards your destination you look straight ahead avoiding eye contact with anyone, you are on a mission! With an assortment of 4K TVs to choose from you feel confused and a bit panicked. After a heavy pause it’s now time to…..ask for help. 

Ok, that’s what’s going through the customer’s mind. Let’s look at it from the other side and talk about what steps you can take to help that customer. Believe it or not, you’ll find that the best way to assist them is in the way you approach, or greet them! Customers will form their first impression of you within the first ten seconds! Your ability to greet them properly can make or break the relationship. Remember: “People do business with people they know, like and trust”. Customers have needs and wants. Most of the time they will not freely “offer” these due to above pre-conceived perception of the retail world. When a customer walks into your store, they’ve already indicated, indirectly, that they want help. As more and more customers shop online it’s important to understand this and remind ourselves “That is why they came here, they need me”!

So, what can you do to ensure that the initial greeting of the customer sets you up for success? It’s as easy as putting on a SMILE…….

S – SAY something “conversational” to the customer. Conversation starters should be used to let the customer know you want to start a conversation not an interrogation. Talk about the weather, an article of clothing they have on, a local sports team reference, etc. (Good rule of thumb: Avoid politics and religion) This will let them know that they are a person and not just a “customer”

M – MAKE it personal: Get away from saying “May I help you?” Studies show that majority of times a customer will respond with “No thanks, I’m just looking”. Talk about the weather, sports, new technology, anything that gets the customer in a CONVERSATION. 

I – INQUIRE about them: Ask open ended questions during the initial contact in order to learn about their needs and to get them talking. “Tell me what you know about the 4K technology?” “Tell me about what you like to watch so I can narrow down some options”. Remember to sprinkle in other questions so it’s not all product related: “Are you from the area?” “You should try this restaurant down the road…!”

L – LISTEN to the customer: Make eye contact when they provide answers to your questions. Ensure you give them non-verbal cues to show them you’re listening (ex: head nods, “mm-hmm’s”) Make sure you can summarize at the end. This shows the customer you actively listened to what they had to say! You need to make them feel that what they are saying is important….because it is!

E – ENERGIZE the conversation: Let them see enthusiasm in your body language and hear it in your voice about the product they are interested in and the experience they’re going to have when they get the TV home. When you get excited, so will the customer. Now that’s something a website can’t do.

When you follow these steps as part of the greeting, whether that customer walks out of your store that day, sale or no sale, they will appreciate the fact that you took the time to greet them properly. This is how loyalty is created and when they come back, they no longer keep that head straight and make a beeline toward whichever product they are interested in. This time, they will head straight to you!

Happy selling and remember to SMILE!!!!

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Stuart & Associates • 8 Angel Trace • Brentwood • Tennessee • 37027 • 615.289.0007