Coaching Retail Team Members to Qualify for Customer Satisfaction

When coaching and training your salespeople through the retail sales process, you will want to help them define and practice their qualification skills.  Effective qualification not only leads to higher sales and more gross margin for your retail company, but also results in a stickier sale because your customers will get the complete solution and the right solution based on their needs.

While the exact questions that your retail sales team will ask may vary from customer-to-customer or product to product, the key is to ensure that they are gleaning the information listed below:.

 1. Who is buying and who is the product or service for? This question obviously refers to the ultimate decision makers but also to the people who will influence your ability to generate repeat business.  What are their names, titles and roles in the purchase decision? Retail managers should ask pointed questions to get their salespeople to think through the information they’re acquiring during the qualifying phase.

2. What is the customer buying? This is all about the potential solutions that your retail salesperson will recommend. Retail salespeople need to know what solutions they can provide and how they can solve the basic issues that the buyer wants to address.

3. Why is the retail customer buying? This refers to the customer’s motives. Ask questions like: What issues or events led up to their decision to buy a new product?  Did their old product serve them well?  Are they buying because of a friend’s recommendation?  Are they purchasing the product as a gift?  Learning the reasons for buying enables your retail salesperson to understand the emotions behind the buying decision and prevents them from being product-focused salesperson versus a customer-centric one.

4. When is the customer buying?  Retailers should use this question to separate the browsers from the buyers!  This is especially important in busy retail shopping mall environments where customers often are looking for entertainment as much as for a buying experience. 

5. How is the customer buying?  This is especially important with big ticket items such as computers, furniture, jewelry or automobiles.  Are they going to need special financing?  If so, you can start them on the paperwork early in the sales process as a way to trail close them on your product – and to determine if you should be investing large amounts of time with them.

As a retail sales manager, you must consistently coach your salespeople with these critical qualifying questions. Recap several sales interactions each week and have them feed this information back to you.  Then train them on the skills they need to focus on to improve results. That way you will be able to ensure that they are making the most out of every customer opportunity.