What do customers think of your sales techniques?

  • News
  • October 8, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
What do customers think of your sales techniques?

Sometimes, it feels as if complaining about in-store sales experiences is a national pastime. One person might be offended that the sales staff in a store didn’t pay her enough attention, while another is irritated by their attempts at conversation while he’s trying concentrate on shopping. As part of our Five Days of Finance series, we asked our readers what kind of sales experience they prefer.

In your experiences this year shopping in New Zealand with retail stores that aren’t your own , how would you rate the sales staff?

When we asked respondents to rate their 2018 shopping experiences with New Zealand sales staff, with zero being “terrible” and 10 “outstanding”, we got a wide range of results. Only one person gave a zero response, but nobody felt Kiwi sales staff rated a 10, nine or even an eight. The top three ratings were six (30 percent), five (22 percent) and four (17 percent).

Clearly, consumer perceptions aren’t great.

Do you prefer to be approached by an attentive salesperson or allowed to browse uninterrupted?

As expected, responses to this query were fairly evenly split between “attentive approach” and “browse uninterrupted”. A little over 60 percent of respondents liked to be approached attentively, with the remaining 39 percent preferring to be left alone.

If the salesperson acknowledges your presence but doesn’t engage you any further, how do you feel?

Most likely, it’s the same 39 percent who reported feeling a sense of relief when the salesperson says hello but engages in no active selling. Some 29 percent of respondents felt ignored by this approach, and the remaining 35 percent didn’t have any opinion either way.

Do you often respond positively to an upsell/cross-sell/product suggestion attempt?

Within the three questions we asked about common sales techniques, cross-selling and attempts by the salesperson to suggest product were far more popular with shoppers than upselling. Only 43 percent reported that they often responded positively to an upsell attempt, compared with 65 percent for cross-selling and a whopping 91.3 percent for product suggestions.

Can you share a story about your best or worst retail sales experience as a customer?

The worst-experience stories provided all seemed to describe staff who failed to accurately assess whether the shopper desired hands-on or hands-off customer service, while the best stories were about staff who not only hit on the right level of attention, but provided a personalised experience.

Here’s a pick from the worst section:

My worst experience was walking into an outdoors store to buy a backpack. There were a couple I had seen online and wanted to have a closer look in store. I was ignored by the sales staff, and when I went to go find someone to ask for help, they addressed my (male) partner instead of talking to me. Needless to say I took my money elsewhere!

And one from the best:

When a sales assistant has welcomed me to the store and allowed me to browse until I looked to them for help. Then they were encouraging but not hard-selling, interested in my responses and suggested items I had not noticed before. I went back.

Here’s a final above-and-beyond good example:

A sales person who remembered what [I] bought last season and made suggestions about what would work with it from the new season. Brilliant!

​ ​

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