Selling Against Your Competition
Every retail store has competition. Even if the merchandise sold is unique to the area, buyers still have choices. They can buy online. They can buy similar things. They can buy just about anything else. Your employer's store is competing for not only the customer's widget dollars (money they plan to spend on widgets), but also the customer's discretionary dollars (money they will spend on things besides food, rent, and other necessary bills).
How can you, a retail clerk or cashier, sell against your competition? First, by knowing who your competition is and what they offer. Then use the basic techniques of selling against price, selection, and service. Your customers have choices. Help them make appropriate decisions. You may lose a sale, but you will keep a customer.
Superduper Stores Inc. has a staff of hundreds of buyers at their corporate headquarters, each with the mandate of getting the lowest price on the products they buy for their department. And each department buys millions of dollars in wholesale goods each year, often cutting out the wholesaler and working directly with the manufacturer. In some cases, the super retailers
It can't. Instead, clerks can help customers understand value.
Some retail stores can beat the competition on price, hands down. However, the competitor has extensive selection. They offer 143 models to your store's twelve. How can you, as a retail salesperson, compete with that?
By developing product knowledge. Customers probably don't want to consider 143 models of anything. Actually, they'd like to select among two or three of the most appropriate models that fit their needs. That's your job: to help them consider their best choices. By developing knowledge about the retail products you sell, you are better prepared to help customers make appropriate decisions. Customers don't want 143 widgets — they want one. Help them figure out which one and you'll be a retail hero.
Who are your store's competitors? As a consumer, you should be able to answer that question. If you were shopping for what you sell, where would you go? Would you buy online? Would you visit a nearby town? In what stores would you shop? These are the retail stores that your customers probably shop as well. Know who your employer's competitors are, and know why customers should shop at your store instead.
“Where's a clerk when you need one?” “Can you tell me the difference between these two models?” Good luck. Finding knowledgeable and friendly help can be frustrating. Your job, as a professional retail salesperson, is to ensure that your customers get better service than they can find from any other clerk at any other store. How can you do that? By selling as you want to be sold!
What do you, as a customer, want? You probably want to be left alone until you have a question. Once a question occurs, you want a courteous representative of the store to answer it knowledgeably without trying to “sell” you something — bias your decision. You'd like that representative to be nearby, where you can see her or him, but not within your physical comfort zone. And you'd like that person to be friendly without trying to be a pal. Once the question is answered, you may allow related questions from the representative — questions that can help in your selection. Finally, if you do make an appropriate selection, you'd like the representative to help you make the purchase quickly and easily. That's your job description as a professional retail seller. Be knowledgeable, available, friendly, and assistive. Don't presume that you automatically know the customer or his or her needs. Treat your customers as individuals. Sell as you want to be sold.