Five Do’s and Don’ts of Suggestive Selling

When done properly, suggestive selling enhances the experience of the customer and causes them to feel a more personal connection to your store. It’s also a great way to increase profits! Here are five ways to maximize the potential of a customer’s shopping experience:

1. Make positivity a priority. From the moment a customer enters your store, you want them to feel welcome. Make sure they are greeted with eye contact, a smile, and whenever possible a pleasant verbal acknowledgment of their presence such as “Good afternoon,” or “Hello, how are you today?” When following up with the customer on the sales floor, don’t forget to use welcoming, confident body language, keep smiling, and make it clear that they have your full attention.

To suggest a product or upsell, phrasing positively is key. “How about trying (product)?” or “I know what would complement (product) perfectly” is far more preferable to saying something like “So you don’t want (product), then?” Remember that we want to create possibilities, not eliminate them.

2. Read the customer. Every customer is different both in personality and purpose. Some customers are in a hurry and just want what they came for as fast as possible. These customers can become irritated if they feel they are being held up by someone trying to make a sale. Some prefer to browse on their own, while still others benefit most from guidance and suggestions during their whole shopping trip. It’s important to ask how you can help each customer, and follow up at least once to make sure they are able to find everything they need. Based on their reaction to your follow-up question you can gauge how to proceed, whether it is letting them know you are available to answer any questions and giving them more space to independently browse, or suggesting a particular item they might like.

3. Know the merchandise. This might seem like a real no-brainer, but the more you know about the merchandise in your store, the more appealing you can make it to the customer. Trying something new is always a risk. When you suggest something, especially an upsell item, try to expand as much and as specifically as possible on what makes that particular item special. Why would this product suit their needs over another product? What are its unique features? How could it complement something they have already picked out?

4. Add a personal touch. Have you used this product before? Do you know someone who does use it? When you can recommend something based on your own experience, it creates a personal connection with the customer. Do you have a story about wearing or using a product where you received compliments or other positive feedback? Even if they don’t end up buying the item you suggested, by sharing an appropriate piece of your personal life you have forged a point of connection with the customer. It’s quite likely that when faced with the option of shopping at a competing store, the customer will choose to go where they feel most comfortable and welcomed. Personal recommendations also foster trust in the quality of the product because you were willing to spend your money on it as well as recommend it.

5. Remember it’s not over at the register. On the way to the register or after you have completed a sale is actually a great time to suggest a new product. This way you avoid coming off like you are trying to sell as much as possible, and can confirm that you are simply interested in giving them the most thorough help that you can. Even if the customer leaves your store without choosing the product(s) you recommended to them, they may return at a later time to do so. But most importantly, they will remember having a positive experience at your store and will want to continue shopping there in the future!