Cutting Edge Retail Sales
By Scott Michelsen, Senior
“Cutting Edge Sales” is in and of itself a buzz phrase describing a competitive
sales advantage that every retail sales associate is looking for, a bit like the
fountain of youth. Like the fountain, though, “Cutting Edge Sales” is something
that is more inside of oneself than something concrete to be found.
Retail sales persons and consumers have changed a great deal over the years but
what makes a retail salesperson extraordinary really has not changed that much.
It takes the same dedication to ones craft that has always been the mark of an
Yes, the consumers are better informed. Information is more readily available
and the internet has provided an outstanding research tool for all people with a
need but people can still be gently persuaded.
The important thing for one to remember is that the things that worked for
salespeople hundreds of years ago did just that. They worked. And they still can
with the right approach and a little cutting edge retail sales training.
The change in the dynamics of making a sale today compared to yesteryear should
be focused more on the retail sales associate’s delivery, not necessarily the
content of their pitch. I like to use the analogy that we are delivering the
same package, but we are using the newest, brightest and shiniest wrapping
The outline of a sale has looked the same with little variation for eons:
Approaching the Customer (Greeting)
Presenting and Demonstrating Options
The reason this outline has stayed the same is because it has a proven record of
success. How this outline is delivered by retail experts has to change to keep
up with the times and that is the evolution of sales. When one understands that
they can start to understand more about “Cutting Edge Sales.”
A retail salesperson today, more than ever, has to sell oneself. Consumers in
general are a very skeptical lot, especially when they are spending money that
is harder to come by. As a result, they purchase from those that they trust and
they tend to trust those that they like.
Today, so much more time has to be spent on greeting a prospective client. So
many average retail salespersons skip this step entirely, or even worse are
rude. That is why they will always remain average salespeople. Even a mandatory
and effective greeting like, “Hi and welcome to our store” falls flat if it is
not warm, genuine and sincere. Here is where one becomes a human and not just a
salesperson, therefore gaining trust and becoming more likeable. Remember the
old quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you
Further, customers don’t want to be peppered with questions like they are
undergoing a police interview. This rapport that you have now established makes
for a free and easy qualifying stage and opens up your shopper to share their
needs with you as well. Retail sales training consensus has always been, “A sale
can not be made until the customers’ needs are met.”
Vocabulary is also a very key part to sales today. The lexicons of today vary
greatly from the words of just a few years ago. It is more important than ever
for retail sales associates and retail managers to continually build their
vocabulary and be a wordsmith. This allows one to state exactly the points that
need to be made without over talking and losing the customers attention and
interest. Time is of the essence in today’s busy world.
It also helps to be “hip,” yet still formal and know more about the people with
whom you are communicating. Thus, one can create the right vibe for comfortable
buying which is very cutting edge.
Staying informed on the latest technology is one of the most critical parts of
being “Cutting Edge.” Technical improvements over the years are too vast to
list, but should all be put to good use for the expert retail sales associate.
Nothing is more important or more valuable today than real time information.
Systems can provide very simple real time information and data that gives retail
salespersons more tools with which to sell. Knowledge of inventory, sales
tracking, delivery zoning and up to date pricing can better prepare retail sales
associates to make a sale. This is a very powerful tool especially in this “Now
generation” that we live in. Consumers don’t care to wait the extra 30 seconds
to download an email joke. They certainly are not going to wait around long for
information about a product or for the delivery of that product.
All of the instant information in the world is useless, however; unless one asks
for the sale. The instant information is the shiny new wrapping paper, but
asking for the sale is as old as the sales process itself.
The use of technology can also give a retail salesperson the ability to practice
better customer retention and follow up by generating instant “Thank You” notes
via email. Consider the impact of an instant email “Thank You” waiting for your
customer when they arrive home from their shopping excursion or having them
receive it on their Blackberry in the car on the way home.
It also allows customers to track “Frequent flyer miles” on line for future
discounts and creates another outlet for prospecting. Researching the internet
to better understand the competitions strengths and weaknesses is also a very
effective practice of using current technology for retail sales training by
“Cutting Edge” retail sales experts.
These are all tools that are mostly known to CEO’s and upper Retail Sales
Management, but a better understanding of these tools can give a retail sales
associate the upper hand needed to consummate a sale. It is another example of
using instant information to utilize age old sales strategy and sales training,
or an old package with new wrapping paper.
It is vital to commit to leading one’s retail field and staying ahead of the
competition. The responsibility to stay atop of one’s profession is that of the
retail sales associate alone, so don’t wait for management implementation. The
most important concept a retail salesperson needs to embrace is that selling is
life. As one evolves, learns and experiences life, they grow and improve, as it
is in sales. The person that “Knows it all” can only start to degenerate, but
the person who is hungry everyday for more knowledge and growth shall always
stay a step ahead of the rest and on the cutting edge of sales.
You can reach Scott with your questions
and/or comments at
"How You Can Reach
the Maximum Potential of Your Store"
And Beat the
Performance Curve, FAST
BluePrint to Create Your Own Retail Success Machine
New! 5 more Success
Tools and 5 Additional Great Bonuses added! Save even more!
Super Retail Success Bundle
The Retail Operations Management
Retail Operations Management Training
amazing 3-day training course and Workshop is recommended for senior retail
managers. Join us for 3 days of top retail management training and workshop to
enlighten and energize you just in time for the new business year. This is the
best investment you can make in your professional and personal development.
The Retail Business Academy -
Definitive Resource Center for Retail Management
Please click on the banner for information