Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lie in Wait for Lying Shoppers

The shopper says they’re all ready to make the purchase, but need to work out the details before signing the contract. You think you’re being lied to. If only you had the skills of the Cal Lightman character on the TV show “Lie to Me” or the Jethro Gibbs character on “NCIS.” Then you could pick up those subtle signals that allow you to spot a falsehood.
     The truth is that both those shows overstate the precision with which even trained observers can distinguish the genuine from the fabricated. Still, there are a number of research-based tips that can give you a retailer’s edge:
  • If possible, have the customer seated while you’re standing. In any case, raise your head slightly and extend your arms so your body occupies more space than usual. Columbia University researchers found that this makes it more difficult for a shopper to lie to you.
  • Eyeball the eyes. Liars shift their gaze rapidly, or in an effort to control this sign, the liar will fix their gaze on something aside from your face and will resist looking elsewhere. If you say, “May I show you the item once again before you leave?,” they’ll evidence signs of trouble looking directly at it.
  • Ask brief questions that require the shopper to tell events in an order different from the usual one. “Now that I’ve asked you about your preferences for post-delivery training in product usage, what are your preferences for product delivery?” Researchers at University of Portsmouth in the UK and University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that asking people to tell a confabulated story, but with the events in reverse order, revealed the type of nervousness associated with lying.
  • How do you look and sound when you’re puzzled or dubious? Put that expression on your face, those gestures and posture in your body, and that tone in your voice as you say, “I’m interested in what convinced you to make the purchase.” This serves two functions. First, the hint of disbelief flushes out doubts, so listen and watch. Second, as the shopper recites the reasons for making the purchase, they can convince themselves.
     If you do spot what you think is a lie, don’t confront the shopper. Even if you’re on target, you’d still like to win over the consumer. Use your suspicions as a signal to probe the shopper’s misgivings.

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

Click below for more:
Facilitate Customer Truth-Telling

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