Mystery shopping is the ONLY technique that can measure sales skills on the shop floor as they happen. As you read on keep an eye out for the key skills of acknowledgement, qualifying questions, features and benefits, add-on selling and closing.
The loser in this sales battle (whom we have called retailer X) failed to sell and lost. Retailer Y won with good selling. The Retailer X sales person asked no qualifying (needs-based) questions and knew nothing about the product. He could not close the sale because he never opened it! The sales person in Retailer Y on the other hand did ask several questions, and knew enough about the product to match it to the customer’s needs. He discovered Retailer X’s price (from their own catalogue) and not only matched their price, but improved on it.
This story is told by Katrina B – one of our staff.
I firstly went to Retailer X, as I had seen the camera I liked in their catalogue. I wanted to ask a few questions about the camera, as I wanted to understand a few of its features (and find out exactly what the camera could do – to know if it would meet my needs).
When I arrived at Retailer X, the staff members were standing around chatting to each other. There was not a customer in sight. I waited to be served and after almost 5 minutes, I had to walk around the counter to ask for some assistance. The salesman I spoke to (in the camera department) had no information to give me regarding the camera I was enquiring about. I asked a few questions, and it quickly became apparent that he had no answers (they were reasonably simple questions – How many megapixels?, What were the digital zoom and the optical zoom?, What was the difference between the two zoom types, etc)? I told him I needed to know more information before I would purchase, and I left the store.
I went next door to Retailer Y. I browsed for a short while before a sales person approached. I said I had my eye on a specific camera that I’d seen in the Retailer X catalogue. The salesman asked me specific questions about my needs – what did I like to photograph, did I zoom, did I need action shots, did I want a video feature, etc. He explained what the difference was between brands, and what the different features of each camera were. I didn’t need to ask any of the questions I had asked in Retailer X, as the salesman obviously knew about all the cameras he had in stock, and was able to match me with the one to best suit my needs. Coincidentally, it was the same model camera I had seen in his competitor’s catalogue.
The camera I had decided to buy was more expensive from Retailer Y than from Retailer X. I showed the Retailer Y salesman the Retailer X catalogue, and he told me he would not only match the price, but beat it. He quoted me a slightly lower price (by about $20.00), and threw in a camera case as a bonus. He also offered me a memory card – something the Retailer X salesman hadn’t even mentioned I would need.
I bought the camera then and there from Retailer Y. I was impressed by the knowledge of the product. I felt like I trusted what he was saying, as he seemed knowledgeable. He was keen for my sale – he price matched (and beat) the competitor’s advertised price. He interacted with me in an engaged, interested manner. He asked me what I was looking for, and was honest about what camera would best suit my needs.
When I got home, my husband asked if I had bought a camera. I explained what had happened with the sales people at the two stores, and that I had walked out of Retailer X due to the poor service I received. He was appalled with how I had been treated. He was pleased I had found a salesman who knew what he was talking about at Retailer Y, and he felt confident that I had made a wise choice about the camera. He said he would think twice about going to Retailer X in future, and may try Retailer Y first. I also told my friends at playgroup of my experience – warning them about Retailer X, and referring them to Retailer Y.
I believe the salesman at Retailer X lost my sale. I was prepared to buy from that store, until I encountered a salesman who was apathetic, and knew nothing about his product. I had no intention of even going into Retailer Y, but the salesman there really sold me his product. I also told people about my experience. The poor service of the Retailer X staff member not only lost my sale, but potentially many others, as my husband and friends were very put off by my poor treatment.