Columnists

10 Sales Tips for the Holiday Season

ColumnistsNov 01, 2022

10 Sales Tips for the Holiday Season

Thinking about your sales approach and implementing subtle changes can make a big difference in effectiveness, Peter Smith writes.

Peter Smith is an industry consultant, speaker, sales trainer, and author. He can be reached via email at TheRetailSmiths@gmail.com.
With sales beginning to show signs of slowing, it becomes more important than ever that we maximize every opportunity to satisfy customers and close sales.

The sales process is a matter of small degrees in the right direction. With each positive action, you increase the likelihood of improving your own sales results and your customers’ positive experiences.

Whether you are a seasoned and accomplished sales professional or new to retail, thinking about your sales approach and implementing subtle changes today can make a big difference in your effectiveness.

Here are 10 tips to help with your sales efforts this season.

1. Get out from behind the furniture
The only reason to be behind a counter is to remove products to show a customer. Since that should never happen until you know what is most important to them, get out from behind the cases to welcome the customer and establish a rapport.

Removing barriers between you and your customer signals, both literally and metaphorically, your openness to making a connection.

2. Pay attention to open body language
Always approach a customer from the front and ensure that your body is open and welcoming. Your torso should face the customer and your hands should be visible.

Never approach the customer from behind and limit any approach from the sides.

From an evolutionary perspective, we want to know what’s coming, and we want to know that it poses no danger to us. 

3. Make Eye Contact
In your greeting, and while you are engaged, ensure that you are maintaining eye contact with your customer. 

You don’t have to lock in on his or her eyes to the point of being creepy, but four-second blocks of eye-contact will maintain a positive connection. 

At times of non-contact, if you have moments of mutual verbal agreements and/or laughter—something like “That’s right. I totally agree”)—that can serve similarly.

Note, if you can’t recall the color of the customer’s eyes, your eye contact was not frequent enough or sustaining. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

4. Smile 
It has been reported that smiling improves your likeability and warmth by 9.7 percent.

Psychologists have long reported that mutual smiling is a strong indicator of harmony between two people and, let’s face it, that’s a solid base to build trust and connection.

Make sure your smile is authentic—usually not that difficult if you enjoy people—as fake smiling is less convincing than no smile at all.

5. Ask open-ended questions
The more you get your customer talking, the more involved in the process they will feel. There is no better way than to ask open-ended questions.

Salespeople really should have a go-to list of important open-ended questions, such as “Tell me what’s most important to you about this purchase?” and “What have you bought for her previously that was a big hit and why do you think that was the case?”

6. Listen with intent
Once you’ve asked your questions, listen, and then listen some more.

Concentrated listening and observation of your customer’s body language is the gateway to unlocking even the most subconscious of needs.

Distracted listening (looking disinterested or looking away while your customer is speaking) is massively detrimental to a shared experience.

7. Present three options
When you are presenting product, give the customer three options. Having a choice matters a great deal, but the more options you present, the more difficult it is for the customer to decide. 

In your three options, have the lowest price be at the customer’s stated budget. The third option should be double the budget. And the second option should be right in the middle of the lowest and highest prices. 

That’s called the contrast principle, and history has shown the middle option is selected most frequently. 
8. Pay attention to how you say the price
Since we read from left to right, we always put greater emphasis on the first number we read, or hear, when price is being quoted. To that end, resist the urge to quote a rounded-up price; $1,999 should never become $2000. 

The second important point is to use the fewest number of syllables when quoting price. 

For example, one thousand six hundred and fifty dollars (11 syllables) is a very different price in our brain than sixteen fifty (four syllables). 

Practice stating prices using fewer syllables. 
 
9. Ask for the sale
Always ask for the sale. Do it with confidence and a smile on your face.

State the price without apology or qualification.

And make sure your voice does not have an upswing at the end (as though you are asking a question) as it comes across as less than convincing.

10. Be prepared to turnover customers
There is no salesperson on the planet who will be liked by every customer. 

People make unconscious decisions about whether they like or dislike someone within one-tenth of one second of meeting them. 

To that end, having a turnover strategy is critical on a sales floor.
 
If you feel like you are personally not connecting with a customer, appropriately and subtly hand them over to a colleague and move on to the next opportunity.

Here’s to your success in the upcoming season. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or email me with any questions or comments. 

Peter Smithis an industry consultant, speaker, and sales trainer, and author of three books, “Hiring Squirrels,” “Sell Something,” and “The Sales Minute.”

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