What can I do to close more sales?
My sales process fluctuates a lot in how effective it is at closing each sale. Is there a make it or break step in the sales process? At this point, I am unsure of which parts in the sales process are working or not working.
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Wish you the best,
First I'd like to say congratulations on getting to the point where you're able to be confused and lost in the manner you are, it takes a lot of progress to identify and worry about this problem lol.
In a nutshell the answer to your question is COMMUNICATION!!!!... Find ways to interact with your Customers and Potential Customers that doesn't involve trying to sell them anything just to genuinely get to know them and what makes them THEM.
One way I apply this to myself as an Artist is I will go into a Business I'm interested in attaining as a client, but just look around and eventually start talking to the owner which is when I start asking questions about whatever parts of their processes I want to plug into as a means of providing something through. At some point they ask what I do and I tell them, then I throw in a "I'm not here to sell you anything though..... but when I do I want it to be something that's actually relevant to YOUR mechanism and how it's built to work so even if you say no at the end of the day you're still happy to have been informed that it exists.".... in so many words however those points come out.
This sets off a light bulb in their head because alllllllll day everyday everybody they deal with lumps them in the same boat with everyone else who offers just the same nature of products/services and think they all operate the same. They go crazy browsing through "general" products, items, programs, web platforms etc. that "generally" applies to EVERYBODY but is never what THEY need personally...... then here comes somebody who actually stopped to take a look and do some research to eventually be able go about custom tailoring something specifically for them... they appreciate that approach a lot more than the common impersonal approach that pretends to be personal that throws a bunch of "general" stuff in their face without even being aware of the fact they're throwing it in THEIR FACE personally because it's all automated and if they aren't spending money "f" em they're nobody......
I took a look at your profile and it says you run a boutique so I'm guessing this is what it's in regards to. A way of applying that same method when they enter the store... is find a way to approach and ask their opinion on a combination of items or an outfit you put together... just to get their opinion. Then tell them you're thinking about running a sale soon and you just want to put some items together into full outfits or "accessory packages".
At this point you'll be getting feedback on those particular items which will tell you more about how people feel about them.... which will stir their creative juices and maybe pick a different shirt for the pants, or different shoes for the dress or WHATEVER.... which will tell you more about their personal style and how they put theirself together. Now you've stirred them into putting together "cute outfits" and picking out accessories and jewelry to go with them..... which is basically getting them to put together the "perfect outfit" for either them or somebody they know who would love it. At this point you can say "hey if you see something you like and want me to hold on to it until the sale just let me know n I'll hang it in back".... just to softly squeeze some degree of obligation out of them. Once you get that small little seed of obligation planted, you can continue to nourish it and let it grow even if they don't come back and buy the outfit the next week that time around. Or even if you don't have a sale and they come back, you can just tell them "I've been too busy to really get it all worked out so I bumped it ahead a little... but what I'll do is just give you %35 off (or however much) and throw in a *whatever you can afford to throw in that your profit after the discount will still cover*"... Like if you have tons of "costume jewelry" that goes between $8-$25 and you wouldn't miss a pair of ear rings or beaded necklace or something...... so now not only are they getting a special discount when you're not even having the sale yet... they ALSO get something free to go with it... if manageable of course....
This makes the opportunity in front of them more "exclusive" which is hard to pass up and if they're out looking for something to wear.... n they're already somewhere where an outfit is already picked out and tucked away in the back AND now something extra is being thrown on top of it..... why not AT LEAST buy it to be safe and go around to the malls and other stores looking at stuff to make sure you're not missing anything before deciding to keep it... In the event that they do "find something better" and bring the outfit back to return it..... let them swap out the "free gift" for another similar item that will go with the "better" outfit just to show them no hard feelings and just take note of everything along the way that tells you SOMETHING about them.
That went a little further than the original tactic I mentioned with "communicating without selling" but you get the picture lol. Another thing I want to go back to is how I mentioned custom tailoring things to their Business. As far as me as an Artist doing that for someone..... I don't just consider the "finished design" and "how good it looks".... I focus on how it will work as a tool in their hands. Some people aren't graphic designers but know how to use Microsoft Office well enough to manage designing their own flyers. So I will design a template for them to use in Microsoft Works.... some People actually have a little experience with Adobe software, so I'll give them templates for the Adobe Products and make libraries of brushes and symbols for them to use in their designs. Some companies already have a designer working for them so I'll focus more of providing Art elements for that designer to work with in building all their material. Then there's places that offer "Customizable Designs" for some purpose... which means I'm creating a product that allows them to create multiple products. Not many people think about that and only focused on a finished pretty picture that may or may not have any flexibility to it that can make it a usable product. So honing in on each Business's setup and what they do and don't do tells me more about HOW to deliver it to them in a way they can work with.
A way of applying that to your boutique.... is looking at their buying habits and "spending styles" and figure out how you can structure your sales process to make each of their "spending styles" more comfortable and manageable under your roof. Some people want to buy an entire outfit all at once from cloths to shoes to belt buckles and hats..... otherwise they can't imagine how something would look with something else well enough to put together their own concoction.... Some people do that because they lack imagination, some people do it because they're afraid to get something and not be able to find anything that goes good with it.
Some people prefer to just grab something they like regardless and will keep it in the closet while combing the planet to eventually run into another individual item to add to it and eventually create an outfit out of it. Some people like to dress according to "current" and "popular" fads.... some people have their own style and have been dressing that way for as long as they've been able to pick out their school cloths.... there's all sorts of variations what makes them shop the way they shop.
Having a means of providing your product in a way that goes along with whatever particular types of spenders you have will help organize them into different moments. Just with the few I listed as examples... You could have one type of sale on entire outfits for the people who like to get the whole thing all at one time without having to "waste time" looking through everything to find something. You can have another type of sale focused on "building an outfit" for People who do like to browse through and look at everything and specially pick something "unique" that isn't already put together and accessorized..... Then you could have another type of sale with a lot of "pretty yet isolated" odd items that have been sitting around that just don't go with anything and focus it on those who like to buy random single items to add to their arsenal of attire... you could also focus it on people who like to create/modify their clothing because if they see something they like they'll MAKE SOMETHING to go with it if they have to just so they can wear it.
Of course WHEN you focus on these different groups of people would have to be decided upon based on whatever else you know about them that would tell you when it's most effective to do so... the rest is figuring out how to present these sales to those particular people in ways that will bring them in.
The key is to communicate in the first place so you can start thinking of a way to organize everything in front of you into something you can observe and learn from... then use what you learn to your advantage. It's not about having a golden mouth that can drive people to purchase things they really don't want..... that goes well into the realm of MANIPULATION and requires a lot of extra energy that only winds up being negative in the end.. So just simply offering what they want in a way that's comfortable for how they need to attain it that allows them to decide from their way of thinking will be a big plus.
This answer is very dependent on your industry/business and your target customer. We deal with different types of businesses / sizes / industries - so our sales process differs for each type. A sales process is not to "hog tie" you. It is there to help guide you through what your customer needs in order to make a buying decision. Do you track your close ratio and how is that tracking?
Without knowing what you are selling and what your business is, it is hard to give any specific advice. Your sales process may have anything to do with it. It could be your marketing, your pricing, or any number of things. Whether you do 1 step or 10 it comes down to:
Are you getting access to enough target customers and are you targeting the "right customers" for what you are selling?
Are you spending enough on marketing and getting enough prospects through the door as not everyone is going to buy as not everyone is the "best customer". You need to qualify them and not waste time trying to sell to those that are not qualified. Sometimes it makes sense to walk away and focus on the more targeted leads.
Does the customer have a requirement for your product/services?
Do you have a selling proposition that differentiates what you are selling from your competition?
Does the customer see the value for what you are selling in what you are charging and are they willing to pay that price and do they have the money available (budgeting).
Hey Kristy, Sounds like you need to examine TWO big things. Who truly is your ideal client and how your product is making a difference in their lives. When both come together the sales process is generally uncomplicated.
If you are getting bogged down in closing the sale, you need to learn more about your client to determine what is STOPPING them from buying and also how you can address those issues.
Also, there is both an emotional and mental component that arises in any sales process. Determining how you address both of those components before closing the sale could dramatically effect your results.
Is your sales process clear, clean and competitive?
Do you offer any money back guarantees or easy ways to exchange or return?
An effective sales process has a number of steps including proper prospect indentification, interest level validation, relationship cultivation, personal contact and proper conversational techniques that help the prospect sell themselves.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the startegy you are currently working with:
1. Do you know who your ideal client is and what they want?
2. Do you have a system or approach for determining how interested or committed they are to finding a solution?
3. Do you have a method for cultivating a credible relationship that compels them to want to know more about you?
4. Once you make personal contact, are you confident about having an exploratory conversation that gets them to see the need to work with you?
If your answer to any of these questions was no, not sure, etc. you need to refine your entire sales process. Since you didn't mentione what you are selling, it's hard for me to give you a finite recommendation to work with. However, if what you provide has any consultative parts to it, I'm going to recommend you read a book called, 'SPIN Selling'. SPIN is an acronym for the 4 stages of successful consultative selling. I've been using this approach for years and my closing rate is 68% on a very high end service.
The author's name is Neil Rackham. If you are serious about improving your selling performance, it's worth the read.
We can oversimplify all sales processes to two things, the number of opportunities and the closing ration.
You asked about the closing ration perhaps because you don't know how to get more people in the store or you are not willing to pay for marketing to make that happen. If the number of visitors is low, then a small increase in the number of visitors is a large percentage and maybe that is what you need.
As for closing rate, you need to recognize when someone is not a prospect. Engage them with "welcome to my store". Ask them very open ended questions, "what brings you in today?" instead of "can I help you feel free to look around". Most of us don't want to be sold by a commissioned sales person but we like to be friends with the owner. I assume you help put together outfits for people once they recognize something they like. The person who is put off by this is probably not a buyer so your eagerness is their problem not yours (because they are not buying). So my last comment on closing rate is ASK for the sale, every single time. If you think they like what you sell but today is not the day, sell them something but mostly get an email address for your mailing list.
Last, I disagree with the discount comments someone made but they also said have coffee and snacks. Get people coffee, water and the such to slow them down. Get them to spend more time in your shop (let them hang out) if you think they could be a buyer in the future. The more time they invest in spending in your store, the higher the perceived value of your goods and the more likely they will buy.
I believe it's always about the message... not only what you say but how you say it (what order, etc.). As a business coach, I have studied sales and marketing techniques, since I am always looking for processes that are proven to work and can be used by ANY business.
One I particularly enjoy (which I copied from Taki Moore from Australia) is called the "6 Magic Pills". I wrote a LinkedIn post that you could read through by going to: http://bit.ly/2a6d3wB
Of course it has to be modified a bit for your clothing business, but it should still work. It also uses the tried-and-true standard we have all heard but seldom use... and that is to NOT describe what you are selling but rather describe what it is that what you are selling does for the customer.
You got some good advise below. I certainly do not agree with some of it. I personally never compete on price. People do not shop price, they shop value and 98% of businesses today have not differentiated themselves from their competitors with a strategic message and thus the client has nothing to base their decision on but price. I offer a 4 video series of free education that I know will substantially help you increase your business because it has helped hundreds if not thousands of business do the same. Just register and you will receive 4 pure educational videos (no pitch) that will certainly put you on the right track. We also offer a weekly webinar on a different marketing skillset each week, with a Q&A the next day for our members. After you watch the 4 videos, contact me and I will give you a free months access to that series so you can experience how it will skyrocket your business. http://OptimizedMarketingStrategies.com
I hear you. As a business plan archive curator, market researcher and sales person I've seen it all. With 35 years of sales experience, I know what works and what doesn't. Here are 10 sales closing incentives that should work for you.
1. Display more competitive pricing
2. Get referral contact info in exchange for a 10% off discount or coupon.
3. Offer 10% off next purchase coupons
4. Display a half off clothing rack
5. Store card discount
6. Consider your In-Store music choice - more soft easy listening
7. Offer free stuff - coffee, drinks, snacks at checkout
8. Window display ads
9. Offer help with finding what they're looking for
10. Feature price tags with store-to-store price comparisons
When the customer brings merchandise to the counter have the clerk record the incentive used to close each sale on a running form. In time you will know which incentive works best for you.
Use any 4 of these purchasing incentives and see your sales increase.
Note: Better business marketing and promotion can also improve sales drastically. Consider downloading my 99 Direct Sales Marketing Business Plan at http://businessplans.fimark.net/direct_sales_business_plan.html to better promote your business in your community.
Hi Kristy, Here is a short answer. Better qualify your prospects. Do a better job with your needs analysis. Have a great ROI presentation and be a pro at bring value tot he table. Good luck. If you would like a longer answer feel free to email me.
I think one of the key steps in your business sales process really needs to be qualifying what level of customer you are dealing with; your sales process can very depending on the customer profile.
If there was a 'sure' answer to this, someone would be very rich....
For me, recognizing the difference between want and need offers perspective on how people think. We want cool clothes. We need toilet paper. 'want' hits a different part of your brain than the part 'need' hits.
Are you aligning the 'want' part of your customer's brain with the verbage, look and feel of your store/approach? If you're all about price (e.g. buy now for 23.99) and your clientele is pulling up to the store in new Porsches, you might be trying to sell with price to people that 'want' something other than need-based information.
imo, it's quite the dance going on in a buying decision. The successful approach is not a solid streamlined kind of thing. Different bits apply to different people and you never quite know in advance which bits to put out for which people. imo, being consistent thru all levels of marketing, advert, promo, branding, etc at least tries to attract the same type of person throughout the process..
Hi Kristy Galvin,
As an old sales person, I always looked at sales in a 3 part process made up of the following tasks:
1. Interest (How interesting is your product or service)
2. Money (Do you understand your costs and does the customer get to the money part)
3. Decision but or not-----Rule of thumb for me call on 10, get opportunities in 5, close 3 then you are hitting .300 Hall of Fame numbers in baseball and sales---Are you qualifying and quantifying well enough to get a handle of these numbers, I would be truthful and ask myself that one always.... How am I doing, and have I indentified the key decision makers and have I gotten to the NO
Kristy: From your profile, it looks like you have a boutique clothing store. I've been helping one of my friend in a similar line of business with marketing and sales tips time and again. You haven't mentioned who your target customer is, buyer profile etc..Also if you are selling, know the reasons why your customer liked the item and purchased it in the first place. Just like you are asked multiple questions while purchasing a car, to make sure you get the best deal and the ideal car to fit your needs, you should ask relevant questions to your customers to not only qualify them but also drive them to closure. If while asking questions, you figure out that the prospect is not the ideal buyer, you can quickly end the process saving time for both.
When it comes to defining a standard sales process and analyzing it, you have to first know how you are going to position your clothing items and sell them, after which you will have to create a training plan along with a list of questions you'd like your sales people to ask the prospect. Always have a record of what worked and what didn't and if it didn't work, list all possible reasons. These will help you define a better process. Doing a customer survey also helps.
What are you selling? Product? Service? Retail? Wholesale? Local? Global? Face-to-face? Internet?
Kristy: It's hard to offer advice on a business process flow (i.e. your sales process) without a detailed explanation of your current flow. In a small boutique designer clothing store I would assume that it is a combination of both the merchandising you are doing (which includes the fashions you are selecting for sale as well as the presentation of the apparel in store) and the customer service you are providing that will drive your sales.