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Jim Green's blog

For Sales Associates #2

August 10, 2012

In this series, I will try to identify a few tricks and truths which retail sales people might use to achieve the sometimes elusive ‘increase in sales'. My hope is that managers will use these as topics for group discussions with their associates. I would love to hear back from readers for feedback.

Stalking on the Sales Floor

In my opinion, there is one thing that potential customers detest more than almost anything else when visiting the local furniture store; that is, the feeling they're being stalked. I expect that most sales people hate it as well when they, themselves go shopping for other merchandise. The sense that, ‘I'm not free to just look around (even though no one just looks around) because the pesky salesperson keeps following me and won't let me out of his sight'. Yet, it really is important that a salesperson knows where his/her customer is on the showroom floor at all times. At which merchandise do they stop? What upholstered furniture do they sit on? What style classifications do they seem to favor? All the little visual selling signals that may be revealed can be significant in attempting to determine what they might have an interest in. The problem is the two objectives, 1) not being intrusive and 2) observing the customer, are at definite odds with each other.

Well maybe not. Years ago I learned a clever little sales floor trick from my brother, at that time a cracker-jack retail salesman, to overcome the dilemma. Nearly every showroom has displays that include wall décor, framed mirrors and pictures with reflective glass fronts. He would face one of the mirrors in the opposite direction from the browsing customer, pretending to tidy the furniture under the mirror or straighten pillows, dust tops, or otherwise look busy. He would see everything the customer did and looked at in the reflection while remaining unthreatening and unobtrusive. He had these little observation posts throughout the showroom. The customer was unaware of being watched and he could see most of what the customer was doing. Pretty slick, huh?