As a consumer it is useful to know if you are being served well or are being influenced by clever sales techniques. As a sales person knowing how to maximise sales of products and services that you believe in, can be revolutionary.

Successful businesses will get busy and this can lead to complacency. The first rule of customer service is to acknowledge all waiting customers as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse than having willing customers waiting ages to part with their cash and making them stand around feeling like lemons. You may only be able to serve one customer at a time, but that does not provide an excuse for ignoring the others at the bar or in the queue. All it takes is a quick look at them and saying; “I’ll be with you very soon and then you after.” People will wait ten times longer if their presence is acknowledged and their order in the queue to be served is affirmed. We can aim to acknowledge customers within 30 seconds of arriving at the counter and serve within 2 minutes. It will make the difference between people storming off and going elsewhere versus empathy with your busy workload.

A merchandiser has a choice between displaying the price in big lettering or placing it in such a way that the customer has to examine the item closely before finding it. In some places it is acceptable to leave it off altogether. The advantage of not revealing the price is that the salesperson can have an opportunity to explain all the merits of the item before revealing the price. People might think something sounds expensive until they comprehend the true value of an item. Too many people will walk away as soon as they find out the price. If an item is of standard fare like a common tin of beans, then you may put a bold price tag on as you are trying to covey the discount on offer. If your item of jewellery is made of 24 carat gold a customer needs to know this, particularly if they are familiar with the cost of similar ones made from 15 carat brass. Items are seen marked as just 25.00 rather then £25/$25/ECD25 as the currency symbol can be hard hitting. We can also limit our offerings to 2 per customer to make them believe that they are lucky to be able to buy some.

As a salesman, your first objective is to ensure that the item meets the customer’s needs. It is pointless talking about the price if it is not what they want. A customer won’t buy something no matter what kind of discount you offer if they don’t like the colour or you don’t have the right size. Establish that it fits their requirements first, then you can enter the price negotiation phase.

Selling is less about having the gift of the gab and more about having the ability to listen, pick up on what the customer wants and get to any reservations they may have. Only by listening, can you find ways of reassuring them that what you have on offer is good for them. Talking with the buyer about them, what they do, and their interests builds a degree of trust and obligation. You have to be 100% genuine though. Asking a customer a few questions blithely will only project a false image.

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