The Big Question: approaching customers?

This month we’re asking retailers, how do you first approach a customer?

Jack Brooks – Pieces for Places

I’ll start with asking: “Is there anything I can help you with”. They usually say “just Browsing”. Then I start to walk away and then they will ask a question. We are extremely “none pushy”.

Jonathan Creese – Gillies

At Gillies, we want our customers to feel welcome in our stores and are provided space and time to browse before any sales approach. Our sales staff have all been trained to deliver a non-business greeting; offering a hello with a smile, simple conversation about the weather, their dog or local events or anything else that comes to mind. Once a customer shows interest in a product, our staff approach with a helpful remark about combinations, covering options or colours, breaking the ice before asking questions regarding their wants and needs. We actively avoid using the dreaded phrase ‘do you need any help’!

Dean Morley – Linthorpe Beds

Here at Linthorpe Beds we like to allow our customers to feel at ease when they enter one of our Showrooms. We’ve all been there; we walk into a shop and all of a sudden, we feel pounced upon. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it. It doesn’t leave a good impression. We find a friendly good morning, afternoon or just a simple hello with a smile goes a long way. If a customer wants to engage, they’ll usually take this as their gateway opportunity. We understand that on entering one of showrooms customers may feel overwhelmed with the abundance of beds and mattresses as well as being aware that sales staff maybe watching their every move. We ensure that our sales team are always active either by housekeeping, restocking, or working at the sales desk all the while allowing the customer to get acquainted to the environment in their own time. All of our sales team are highly trained sleep experts, and we feel we don’t need to overrun customers straight away. The team’s knowledge and understanding of the customer plays a huge part in building that relationship and gaining trust. We find the perfect way to get into a conversation with a customer is to make a comment about what they’re looking at… “beautiful bed isn’t it? It also comes in different fabric options… That’s my favourite mattress, if you like the feel of that try this one too” Making a personal connection in sales is everything, remember people buy from people they like, and we find our sales team are some of the loveliest around!

Luke Symmonds – Simply Beds Sussex

We operate via appointment only, although we do attract a high volume of “walk-ins”. Either way customers are greeted with a smile, our name, and a friendly invite to come on in. We keep things light, as often customers can feel a little uneasy walking into a bed store. We start off with “how can we help you today” … which five times out of 10 leads to the customer joking that they need a bed (obviously), which results in a bit of a joke/laugh and instantly helps the customer relax a little.

Huw Williams – Toons

The USP for Toons is that we are low pressure selling and consistently in our customer surveys that is mentioned as the thing that customers like about shopping with us. Our staff will greet the customer with a friendly good morning or good afternoon and then leave them to browse until they either ask for, or look like they need assistance.

Dave Watson – Leekes

At Leekes we believe the approach begins well before the customer enters our stores with the preparation of the sales person, setting yourself up for a successful day is all part of the process. Knowing your product knowledge is a vital part of your personal preparation, as well as being well presented in uniform with a name badge and a big Smile. We ask our teams to greet each customer in to each of our departments with an enthusiastic ‘Good morning/ Afternoon’, remembering that the very first buying decision the customer makes is about the sales person. We encourage our teams not to dive right in and talk about the products, instead we want to relax the customers by asking about something unrelated to selling like the weather to break the ice and to start taking down the barriers. It’s all about making friends with the customers before helping them make the right informed decision on their purchase. Then we allow the customer to browse the floor whilst the sales person stays close keeping themselves busy nearby dusting or plumping cushions, waiting for an opportunity to get in to conversation with the customer again. Once the customer shows interest in a product by touching or feeling the fabric on a sofa, getting out a tape measure, taking pictures on their mobile or sitting down to test the sit Its then time for the sales person to make that approach by using an open question to create a conversation which would lead on to questions to gather information about what exactly the customers’ requirements are. These questions need to be mixed in with other questions along the lines of “Is this your first visit to the store” “Did you have to drive far” all to stop the questioning technique seeming like an interrogation, hopefully making the customer feel at ease and starting to build their trust. We need to remember that each customer is different and you need to tailor your approach to the needs of each individual, but it should all be about making friend before selling as these days customers can see through sales people who are just interested in selling something quickly instead of taking the time to fully understand the customers’ needs.

Josh Pickering – Sussex Beds

Approaching a customer has to be done with energy and enthusiasm. Who wants to buy from someone that won’t get off their seat? We make sure they know how passionate we are about helping people, and that we have the skills to accommodate. Fill them with confidence that this is the right place to be from the off.

Mike Murray – Land of Beds

When first approaching a customer, Land of Beds emphasises delivering exceptional customer service. Our approach focuses on building a relationship with the customer rather than just making a sale. We understand that creating a positive first impression is crucial, and we train our staff to greet customers warmly, introduce themselves, and ask how they can assist. This creates a welcoming environment that helps to build trust and rapport with our customers. Our staff have undergone rigorous training through the Land of Beds programme to enhance their skills in approaching and engaging with customers. The training has been developed in collaboration with specialist sales experts to ensure we provide a market-leading service. We believe that our ongoing commitment to training and development is vital to maintaining the high standards of service that our customers have come to expect from us. At Land of Beds, we pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with our customers, which extend beyond the initial purchase. We provide aftercare support and advice to ensure customers are delighted with their purchases. We believe that by delivering exceptional customer service at every stage of the customer journey, whether online, over the phone, or face-to-face, we can create a positive experience that leaves our customers feeling valued and satisfied. To summarise – by prioritising a customer-centric approach, we strive to create an environment where all customers feel valued and appreciated. We understand that first impressions are crucial and aim to make a positive and lasting impact from the start. Our commitment to ongoing training and development ensures that our staff can deliver exceptional service that exceeds our customers’ expectations. Ultimately, we aim to build strong relationships with our customers and show gratitude for the privilege of serving them.

Jan Morgan – Hafren Furnishers

Looking after our customers (new and old) has always been high on our priority list. We ensure that our customers are always welcomed and offered assistance as they come into the store. We don’t believe in hard selling and being non commission based, means we always look to satisfy the needs of the customers first. This approach is part of our Hafren Furnishers culture and remains unchanged over the 57 years we’ve been operating.

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