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Retail Customers are NOT all ALIKE

When I worked in a showroom selling aircon accessories, I quickly learned that in sales there are two types of clients (depending upon the type of business.) They are commonly called wholesale and retail customers. In my sales training program “How To Close More Customers” differences are explored between these two groups (and how to finalize the sale.)

In each category there are “sub categories”. Knowing their characteristics can prepare your sales staff to more effectively close more sales. Here are some prominent faces of retail customers:

Average customers are not overly friendly or inhibited. They require you to move and talk at their pace. They will usually buy from you if you have QUALIFIED them correctly and if they like and trust you. You can develop their trust by always being honest and giving CORRECT information when demonstrating products.

These customers very rarely acknowledge your comments. They will usually go right to what they want in your showroom and begin to survey the models available. If you approach them you may be acknowledged by a grunt or moan.

They are distrustful of most salespeople. Their demeanor confuses most salespeople (who will then get discouraged and leave them alone.) Consequently, they almost never buy anything. To get them to communicate, use shock humor. Say something to get a response or laughter, then lead them, gently, into the close.

This customer is outgoing and communicates easily. He is the type of person that will come between you and another customer and ask for help – now! He will usually lead you from item to item without commitment.

Be firm with this type of customer. Ask for commitments or opinions before you leave one product for another. Never leave the customer you are with for this type of customer (mistakenly thinking it will be a quick sale). In most cases, the percentages will be against you.

These customers are vicious, hostile and rude. They will snap at and intimidate you into leaving. You can establish rapport with these customers through patience (lots of it.) Stay near and try to be supportive. Be extra helpful as they have had bad experiences with salespeople. Come across as a helpful friend, rather than a salesperson. Never let them see their rude behavior is affecting you.

This customer knows more about the products than the manufacturer (in his own mind.) He can quote specifications and knows mundane features on all models. Don’t try to lead this customer. Qualification is not necessary. Let him control the presentation and defer to his judgment. If you try to match wits, you will lose every time. Stay in the background and look for the close. You might say: “With your vast knowledge of the product, you know more than most customers, what do you think is the best value?”

In my next article we shall discuss the rest of these customers and proven ways to deal with them. Let me end by saying most customers have many things in common, however, you will stand a better chance of closing them by objectively evaluating the above points and realizing they are NOT ALL ALIKE.