Monday, July 25, 2016

Ask for the Sale

A shopper asks to see a particular type of item. You guide the shopper to the area where you carry the item. As soon as you arrive, the shopper looks over the merchandise, inquires about item numbers and prices, and looks ready to leave.
     Maybe this shopper wasn’t truly interested in becoming your customer. But before you give up, you ask a question: “Will you be buying this item at our store?”
     There are loads of consumer behavior studies which indicate that, in asking such a question, you influence the probability the shopper will, in fact, come back to buy the item from you. A team of researchers at University of California-Irvine, State University of New York-Albany, University of Idaho, and Washington State University reviewed more than 100 of those studies to discover the forces behind this question-behavior effect. Here’s my version of their findings, along with my suggestions of how to use the effect to make sales more likely:
  • Positive attitudes. When the salesperson is courteous and helpful, the question leads the shopper to generalize the positive impressions of the salesperson to thinking about making a purchase at the store. Strengthen this by remaining courteous and helpful even if you think there’s no chance the person will return. You could be wrong about that. 
  • Consistency. For no reason other than to avoid confrontation, shoppers are more likely to answer your question “yes” than “no” if at that point they had not intended to purchase from you. And a characteristic of human behavior is that we feel better about ourselves when there’s a thread of consistency in our behavior. So the “yes” increases the odds the shopper will actually do it. To strengthen this one, follow up the “yes” with, “I’m pleased to hear you say that, since here are a few of the advantages our store offers….” 
  • Fluency & commitment. What you see as the shopper wanting to leave may be indecisiveness, not a desire to purchase somewhere else. By asking the question and getting an answer, you free the shopper to flow closer to commitment. If the shopper answers “no,” say, “May I ask the reasons?” Then decide if the shopper is open to you dissolving the objections. 
     The research doesn’t conclude that asking the question always increases the likelihood of purchase from you. Such questioning will irritate some shoppers, making them feel trapped. Use the question-behavior effect judiciously.

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

Click below for more: 
Go for Customer Gratitude and Guilt
Probe for Intentions in Focus Groups
Ask Shoppers for Reasons to Buy
Tell Shoppers to Be Happier

No comments:

Post a Comment