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ACTIVE customer, who is?

Good. As the previous articles showed us which tools we need to use to bring the customer in our store, now it is useful to understand how to establish a relationship with them and turn them into active customers. Possibly, concluding with the sale of a nice pair of glasses with progressive lenses! ?

Nothing is ever easy though. A sale doesn’t just mean giving some product in exchange for money. Selling is an art and so, even when it doesn’t come naturally, fortunately it can be learnt. You work closely with customers and tackle this topic every day, but have you ever thought about what technique to use, about an intelligent sales strategy?

Not everyone realises that smart selling consists in the analysis of the person you deal with, in understanding quickly what his needs may be, in being able to create new needs in the customer and suggesting the right product. That’s the secret, leading the customer towards his choice. But it’s so difficult, isn’t it?!

A good salesman knows how to sell. A great salesman knows how to sell himself. The choice is yours; which of these two categories will you choose to belong to? Being able to sell yourself means guiding the customer towards their purchase. A technique that is surely effective in the sales phase. But how can you do it if every customer is a different individual with a different approach to purchases?

There are customers who enter your shop because they are accompanying someone, customers who are attracted by some glasses they saw in your shop window, customers who want to know if you sell a product that they have seen in the newspaper or worn by a friend, customers looking for the best price and finally customers who need to buy a pair of glasses and have decided to do it right in your shop. The last example seems to be the easiest, right? If the client is convinced, has clear ideas and is motivated, what else do you need to close the deal?! But things are not like that and more than anyone else you should know it.

Even though a motivated customer looks easier to deal with, because he is convinced and thinks he knows what he wants to buy, the truth could be different. It’s now that you need to play “the game”.

Even if the customer has a specific model in mind or has already chosen, it often happens, especially in the eyewear sector, that the model he wants is not the one that suits him best, the colour doesn’t go well with his hair or he simply does not like it anymore. Did you ever lose a sale at the last minute because of a disagreement, some misunderstanding or non-alignment with the customer’s needs?  How many times have you asked yourself what you could do to better understand the needs of the customer, to understand them even when the customer does not know what he wants and even if he is convinced that this is not the case?

In this case, the only thing we can do is use a tricky communication technique that in some situations, but not always, can prove to be very effective: delaying the time of purchase. When applied carefully, this technique is very effective. Beware though. It has some limitations that you need to take into account to avoid annoying or irritating the customer with too much insistence or with the wrong questions.

The type of customer who is really perfect for this technique is the one who, entering your shop, does not want to disclose immediately how much money he wants to spend and maybe asks for a specific model. It’s right then that you salespeople have an ace up your sleeve that you can take advantage of and take time. The people who ask for a specific model do it because they have already done some research on that product. It is appropriate then to establish a communication, apparently relaxed, based on anything that is not necessarily related to your products or the eyewear industry. In this case it’s important to establish a connection with those in front of you.

Ancient wisdom has it that the amount of time that passes from when you express a desire to when you satisfy it can only increase the pleasure of the final realisation. By delaying time with that customer, you can only get two precise results: on the one hand, you increase the customer’s impatience to have his request fulfilled (and you have to use caution not to cause boredom or disappointment), and on the other hand, by showing interest in him, you create a positive experience for him.

A different case is when the customer, even before saying hello, asks for information, for example, about the cost of a product:
in this case, it is quite clear how “cost-oriented” he is and there’s really very little you can do. It does not mean though that you have lost “the battle” if the price does not correspond to what he wanted. You need to answer any question about the price in a straightforward manner, paying great attention to non-verbal communication and trying to figure out what sort of reaction the information may have caused in him. The ability to observe can help you to regain lost ground as it allows you to understand if there’s room for negotiation and a way to learn more about the customer and his needs. The proper approach could be a question about what made him choose that specific model. This can significantly help to establish a dialogue with him; a good step forward!

If you extend the time between the customer’s arrival in the shop and the moment his request is satisfied, he will be affected by precise dynamics: the customer will transform from a “motivated” customer to an “active” customer.

Sadly, there are times when your proposal or the initial choice is not satisfactory. What can be done if in the end the desired product is not suitable? We need to provide an alternative!!! Things become more difficult because a motivated client has just turned into a hesitant and disappointed customer. Suddenly, the certainty of having found the perfect pair of glasses for him has vanished. And now?

There is a rule in behavioural psychology that says: “give other people a choice to make”; it means that when facing a choice, our mind is manipulated towards that option. Of course, it is the customer who in the end will decide what to choose but the terms of the choice will have already been devised by you in advance. By then, you will have a great advantage.

A great salesman, through an open and reassuring attitude, including gestural communication, must be able to gain the customer’s trust, making him understand that he doesn’t need to be demoralised if he has not yet found the right glasses. Your professionalism allows you to provide him with alternative options that are based on the brief conversation you had with him and your curiosity towards his needs.  This will allow you to make a final and decisive proposal. It’s important that you give the customer time to make his own choice.

That’s it. Your goal is almost achieved because by doing so you have sent this message to his brain: Okay, this optician thinks like me and understands what I need, now it’s up to me to make the final choice.

It is a matter of moments, intense tenths of seconds during which the customer decides whether to play that game or move on. If he decides to play, you will have the opportunity to start a dialogue. The customer will be “driven” towards a solution, whatever it is, though in line with its real needs.

This way it’s quite likely that your goal will be achieved. You will sell the glasses and obtain an active customer who will feel important and unique. A customer who after this positive and satisfactory experience will certainly return to your shop!

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