Sunday, February 13, 2011

Draw Out Advice & Opinions from Shoppers

Ask customers their opinions of products and services you’re suggesting to them. Ask them for their advice on how to improve your store operations. Distinguish between asking customers for their opinions and asking for their advice.
     Researchers at University of California-San Diego and Northwestern University asked one group of people their opinions of a fitness center and of a restaurant. A second group was asked to give advice to each of the businesses.
     Those who offered advice became more likely to want to make purchases from the fitness center and the restaurant. Based on data analyses, the researchers concluded that giving the advice created an intimacy effect, in which the consumer felt closer to the retailer. This didn’t occur when the consumer was asked for an opinion of the business.
     However, other research finds that when a salesperson asks for opinions of an item a shopper is considering for purchase, the effect is positive. Many 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 their opinion is a powerful selling technique.
     To use this tactic, you need to understand something a bit strange about how it works: When a shopper is asked to select which of a small group of products the shopper prefers, the shopper gets more likely to 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.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Ask Customers for Their Opinions of Items
Resolve Customer Complaints Carefully

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