Customer Service

To Sell More, Understand Shoppers’ Motives

Does your store sell products or experiences? Think about it for a moment because the two are vastly different. And how you approach shoppers’ questions and concerns plays a significant role in closing sales.

Focus on what shoppers hope to accomplish with particular products. It’s easy to spout off the technical features of a digital camera, for example. But unless the consumer is a professional photographer or has done extensive research, features aren’t what sells the camera. All the fancy elements don’t necessarily translate to addressing a problem.

The first step in recommending a product is understanding what the shopper hopes to accomplish. Perhaps the customer wants to assemble a family album. But she has no experience with cameras and merely wants one she can point and shoot, with minimal risk of taking blurry pictures. Interchangeable lenses and quick settings for various exposure types won’t matter much because she won’t use them. She wants simple and easy to use.

Understanding what the customer needs is the first step in recommending a product that will make her happy. It’s called “solving a pain point,” but it’s really about selling happiness.

Photo of middle-aged lady holding a camera

Understanding what the customer needs is the first step in recommending a product. For example, does the shopper want a complicated camera or a simple one?

The Right Questions

Shoppers might not know how to explain their needs. Asking the right questions is vital. Try simple requests, such as, “What are you wanting to do or solve?”

If the shopper is looking for a gift, ask about the recipient — her hobbies, activities, and preferences, such as in music. Ask questions relevant to the products you sell to provide real solutions.

For example, if he wants to buy a TV for the kids’ room, a father might know the size and basic functions but not much else. If the TV is mainly for streaming, you could likely skip over some of the features and focus on built-in apps, sound quality, and sleep mode.

A pet store doesn’t sell just dog toys. It also sells playtime between humans and animals. The length of playtime depends on the type of dog, for example, and the toy’s sturdiness. Say the shopper has an overweight 75-pound German Shepherd who loves playing fetch and always brings the ball back. You could describe a fancy bouncing ball that would really get the dog jumping, which is good exercise.

By listening to the little things, you can convey relevant details.

Sell Feelings

When you sell feelings and experiences, you build a bond with customers. They will remember how your business played a role in the overall solution.

Consider how music can define a period in people’s life. Each time they listen to a particular album, they’re taken back; that initial feeling resonates. People don’t buy CDs or digital albums. They invest in the feeling they get when they listen to the music.

How a customer reacts after using a product can lead to testimonials, both online and to friends and family. It can solidify a relationship between the consumer and the business. If the result is happiness, it’s a step toward gaining a lifetime customer.

Pamela Hazelton
Pamela Hazelton
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