Suggestive selling is one of the most powerful tools any retail sales associate can have. Not only can it increase basket size and sales, but when done right, suggestive selling allows customers to discover things they actually need, and helps them get the most out of their purchases. This, in turn, increases customer satisfaction, enables retailers to build trust, and keep shoppers coming back.

In this post, there are insights on how retailers can effectively suggestive sell.

ENGAGE IN BACK AND FORTH CONVERSATIONS

Retailers should first get to know each shopper before even attempting to suggestive sell. You wouldn’t be able to effectively suggest something without understanding your customers’ needs. The best way to understand shoppers is to engage them in conversation. Talk to them, ask questions, and be genuinely interested in what they have to say.

When associates gain insights into the customer’s lifestyle and combine their knowledge with a thorough understanding of the merchandise on hand, they can go further and suggest things the shopper didn’t even know they were looking for, provided that they can show the value in it and how it can improve their lifestyle.

KNOW YOUR INVENTORY INSIDE AND OUT

Associates should be masters of their inventory says Reese. Having adequate product knowledge allows you to suggest items quickly and effectively.

For instance, if a customer tells you that something is out of their budget, you should be able to quickly run through your inventory and suggest something that’s similar, but at a lower price point.

Regularly update your POS and inventory management system, and keep the data handy, so you and your staff always have access to the info you need.

TREAT YOUR CUSTOMER LIKE THEY’RE YOUR BEST FRIEND

Establishing trust is critical to suggestive selling . Once the customer feels that an associate is only after the commission and they don’t really trust the salesperson’s advice, they’ll instantly get turned off and get hesitant about making a purchase.

To accomplish this, you should  treat the customer like they’re your best friend. Most customers love shopping with their close friends because they trust these individuals to tell them if something looks good or if an item isn’t right for them. Establishing a similar connection with your shoppers will go a long way not just when it comes to sales, but also in terms of cultivating strong customer relationships.

This isn’t about being sleazy or manipulative , you’ll find that when you start to build relationships with customers, you’ll actually enjoy the sales process that  much more. You get a really good feeling  when you show someone something that makes their day, makes them look good, or can make their lives easier.

EQUIP YOURSELF AND YOUR STAFF WITH INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE

Aside from product and inventory knowledge, see to it that your staff is also on top of the latest industry news and trends.

Customers obviously want to speak to associates who know what they’re talking about, so make sure they have knowledge of your industry. That way, when a customer walks in, associates can offer tons of relevant and timely tidbits.

BE SUBTLE WHEN NECESSARY

You don’t always have to be explicit with the products you’re suggesting. Depending on the customer, you could be a bit more subtle with how  you recommend things.

A good approach could be to compliment items that you like in the store. You could say ‘I really like the color of that bag. Or, let’s say a customer wants to have a pizza. You could mention that you just had another customer having pizza and they also liked the fries or a mocktail. They key is making them aware of your other products without pushing them to buy.

 

The best and worst times for suggestive selling

 

Now  that we’ve discussed how you can effectively suggest and sell, let’s talk about when to implement the above-mentioned tips (and when to back off).

Below  are some of the best and worst times to carry out suggestive selling:

Best times:

AFTER YOU’VE GOTTEN TO KNOW THE CUSTOMER

The best time to suggestive sell is after you’ve gotten to know the shopper. Once you know what they want to buy, what it’s for, and what their size is, you’ll be able to make more relevant suggestions, says Reese.

WHEN THEY’RE HOLDING A PRODUCT

When they already have something in their hands, suggesting something that is complementary to it could increase add-on sales. Let’s say you sell garden supplies and the customer picks up a pot. From that point, you can recommend soil types or plants that would go well with it. And it’s even better if the suggested item is on sale because they’ll be more likely to buy it if they feel that they’re getting a deal.

WHEN ADDRESSING AN OBJECTION

The next best time to suggest and sell is when you’re addressing an objection. If someone is in your store and saying things like ‘I’m not sure about this…’ or ‘The fit is a little loose…’ retailers should grab the opportunity to suggestive sell.”

The fact that they’re going through the process of eliminating things that they might not like means they’re seriously considering buying. If they weren’t, then the would’ve walked out of the store already.

 

Bad times:

AS SOON AS A CUSTOMER WALKS INTO A STORE

Carrying out suggestive selling as soon as you see a customer is like displaying a popup ad as soon as someone lands on your website. The customer won’t like it, and their immediate reaction is usually ‘How can I get past this obstacle to carry on with what I’m doing?

 

Learning how  to effectively suggestive sell can do wonders for, but you shouldn’t just do it for the sales. Practice suggestive selling to genuinely add value. Do it because you want to help shoppers find products they want and need, and because you want to educate them on how they can get the most out of their purchases.