Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ask Customers for Their Opinions of Items

Most salespeople see it as their role to give out information about the merchandise, not to ask the customer for opinions about the merchandise. But researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology found that asking a customer for his or her opinion is a powerful selling technique.
      To use this tactic, you need to understand something surprising about how it works: Being asked to select which of a small group of products the shopper prefers makes it more likely the shopper will want to buy the next product considered. The effect is strongest when a shopper is in a hurry to buy a number of different items.
     This technique can be of special value in making add-on sales. The salesperson asks, "What do you think of these different items you've looked at?," and then after listening to the answer, "What other items may I help you find today?" The cashier at the checkout counter asks, "What do you think of the items you found here today?," and then after listening, at least briefly, to the answer, suggests an add-on item for the customer to look at next time they are in the store.
     The traditional meaning of the phrase "Ask for the sale" is, "After you've presented all the information, don't forget to finish by asking the customer to make a purchase before they wander away." Now, an additional meaning is to make the sale by asking customers for their opinions.

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