Why have a selling method? Using a selling method ensures consistency in delivering quality sales and service to the consumer. As in any profession, the ability to deliver excellence is achieved through a measurable and consistent delivery of performance—whether it is performing as a musical artist, an Olympic athlete or a Retail Sales Associate.
There are many types of selling methods; your job is to adopt a method that's congruent with your company's mission of providing exceptional sales and service to the customer. In this course, we will present one of the most popular methods, “Participative Selling.”
The Three “P’s" of Retail
Retail sales primarily deals with Products, Prices and People.
Over the years, there has been a commoditization of Product and Price due largely to the availability of these two elements. This has resulted in a shift to the last area of differentiation for many retailers: People. The Participative Selling process focuses on the People aspect, and will give you an edge over commodity selling.
Many of the skills you will learn in the Participative Selling process will help you to better know your customers and build a strong relationship with them. You will learn to provide them with a buying opportunity that supports their physical and emotional needs.
Physical Needs vs. Emotional Needs
The customer has a physical need, which typically is a product at a specific price or budget. But there are other needs that can be just as important. Emotional needs—such as recognition, trust, being understood, feeling respected and appreciated—can turn customers from one-time buyers into lifetime customers. Your understanding of these needs will help you master the Participative Selling process and help you gain long-term customers instead of short-term visitors to your store.
This system focuses on both the physical and emotional needs of the customer, and can be quantified and measured to ensure performance. It is essentially comprised of seven (7) steps or engagements that occur between the Sales Associate and the customer.
- Building Rapport
- Establishing Purpose
- Qualifying Needs
- Suggesting Product
- Asking for the Sale
- Handling Objections
We call it "Participative" because the process allows the customer to make a buying decision, rather than the “old school” approach of the Sales Associate trying to push product or “sell” the customer.
Instead, we will be attempting to understand and develop a relationship with our customers that's built on trust and respect. We allow our customer to reach a buying conclusion while reinforcing their emotional needs; this creates a situation that allows that person to become a long-term customer.