You’ve probably invested a great deal in creating strategies to increase your sales and get customers interested in your brand.
What you may not realize is that if your pushy sales tactics seem too aggressive, they may be driving your customers away instead of pulling them in.
Here are 3 common ways sales tactics drive customers away, and how to avoid them:
When your sales associates follow a script, they may be meeting company expectations, but they probably aren’t meeting your customers’ expectations.
Each customer is in your stores to satisfy a different need. Train your associates to recognize the specific needs of each customer and tailor their interactions accordingly.
Individualized interactions create an engaging and interactive shopping experience for the customer, and help your associates focus on your customer’s needs rather than on closing a sale your customer may not want.
When you’re in a store looking for a new coffee maker, do you want the salesperson to repeat a pitch you’ve already heard about sheet sets that are on sale, too?
No, you’d rather the associate help you compare the features of various coffee makers. When told to follow scripted pitches, employees may even distract customers from a purchase they intended to make.
When multiple associates approach a customer walking through your store with the same scripted sales pitch, you give your customer the impression that you don’t care about their needs and only want to make the sale.
Also, when you ask your employees to repeat the same thing over and over, their goal becomes to deliver the pitch instead of meet a need. Do you think a disengaged employee will encourage customers to return? Probably not.
Instead of telling your employees exactly what to say, train them to seek out each customer’s needs and find the best way to help.
Treating Sales Goals as the Only Metrics
If you teach your associates to push sales aggressively to meet a particular target, you are telling them in effect that nothing else matters. When they aren’t focused on meeting customers’ needs, employees are more likely to use sales tactics that may annoy and even anger your customers.
While goal-setting helps your employees stay focused and keeps your business competitive, prioritizing a sales target over customer experience metrics can create frustrating situations for your employees and your customers.
When their performance is being measured against a sales goal and nothing else, associates may adopt behaviors like resisting when a customer declines a pitch and continuing to ask in different ways.
In other cases, associates may be so goal-oriented that they make statements criticizing your customers for refusing offers, like “You’re throwing your money away.” These tactics are downright disrespectful, but the employee who believes that the sales goal is the most important facet of the interaction doesn’t see it that way. He sees it as following company policies.
Reel your associates back in by training them to focus first on guest needs. Increase your emphasis on customer experience by rewarding associates for genuinely helping customers rather than for the number of people who apply for a store credit card.
Your associates can still focus on closing sales and interesting customers in the store credit card, but they can recommend the card and additional products in a way that appeals to each customer.
This approach doesn’t eliminate sales goals; for example, instead of asking a customer to buy a more expensive product, your associate can recommend a complementary one that will satisfy your customer and bring her back for future sales opportunities.
Overloading Your Customers
If improving customer experience is your goal, the “throw everything at them and see what sticks” approach will not help you succeed.
When you overload your customers with employee sales pitches, televisions blaring ads, daily email offers, and pop-up ads on your website, you detract from the shopping experience and encourage consumers to tune you out.
While a well-planned omnichannel approach is a great way to target customers in the digital age, using too many strategies at once or being too aggressive with one channel can overload or frustrate your customers.
Instead, engage each customer with a personalized, cohesive multi-channel experience that is sensitive to individual needs and allows customers to opt into or out of channels to customize their experience.
Online, customer profiles allow you to control the flow of information to each customer and use their purchase histories to target your marketing, so you don’t send repeated emails about a sale on baby clothes to a customer who has never purchased them and may not have kids.
In-store, the focus on individualized interactions and sensitivity to the customer’s goals will help your customers feel that they’re getting a personalized shopping experience.
Together, these techniques create a consistent experience of your brand that reflects each customer’s desires.
Meeting Your Customer’s Needs Is Your Ultimate Goal
If you aren’t focusing on your customer’s needs at each point of interaction, you risk frustrating your customers and driving them away.
When your company is so focused on making the sale or increasing the amount of purchase that you fail to meet the needs of each individual customer, you risk losing them altogether.
Make it your company’s focus to engage your customers throughout the shopping experience, and the sales will follow.
Train your associates that customer service is your top priority, and use strategies that enhance customer experience rather than merely focus on sales figures. This will keep your customers coming back, leading to more sales opportunities in the future.
Find out how your sales associates address customers with Mystery Shopping!