Clientbook Blog
January 31, 2023

The seven habits of successful retail sales associates

Think about your top sales associate at your retail store. What makes them special? Chances are, not only do they make the most sales each month, but they're also a great communicator, provide excellent customer service, are exceptionally organized, and focus on relationships over just closing a deal.

Now imagine if all of your sales reps used those same retail selling techniques as your top seller. What would that do for your business? Drive sales through the roof, right? While that may seem far-fetched, elevating your sales staff is easier than you think.

Keep reading to learn the seven habits the best retail sales associates have, or jump straight to tip #7 to see how clienteling can help transform your sales process virtually overnight.

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Retail sales tips

If you're not sure where to start when helping your employees master their retail selling technique, these tips will help get you started. 

1. Master the art of conversation 

When talking to shoppers at your retail store, your sales associates need to do more than simply be friendly and break the ice on the sales floor. After all, every customer is a potential long-term client.

This means talking about their tastes, budgets, buying decisions, the things they celebrate, the people they love, and the meaningful things in their lives. 

Have your team practice their active listening skills as customers talk. Let shoppers tell their story and watch the excitement in their facial expressions. They should ask for clarification on dates and names. And of course, take notes. You'll want details when you send out personal messages—more on that in tip #4. 

2. Consistently follow up with customers

Next, make sure your sales team is following up with customers even after they've made an initial purchase at your retail store. The notes your sales associates took during their first meeting will come in handy when they send out a personal follow-up message about an anniversary, graduation, birthday, or even an upcoming sale. 

Just remember: if you're not following up, your competition is. The trick is to reach out often, but not so often that you become a nuisance. A survey from Emarsys found that 61% of retailers surveyed believe that their customers want to hear from them multiple times a week. But in reality, only 31% of shoppers surveyed agreed with that schedule, with the majority preferring contact once a week or less.

3. Be confident

Another important retail selling technique is to project confidence. Many people think of confidence as being assertive on the sales floor or knowing how to upsell to a customer. However, what it really comes down to is simply knowing your products and being honest.

Customers trust other people who are self-assured and will speak candidly about which products are right for them and which aren't. They want to know you care about their needs and will confidently make suggestions that are best for them to keep them coming back to your retail store. 

4. Know your customer

This next tip comes back to our first retail sales tip about the art of conversation. As your sales team learns how to talk to customers within the physical retail space, they'll be ready to build long-term relationships with customers and connect with them when they aren't in the store. 

Sending out mass, impersonal emails is a big turn off. So is forgetting someone's name. Instead, your sales rep needs to become a confidante—someone to be trusted who knows shoppers' personal likes and secrets. Knowing your customer's tastes and introducing them to additional products that they can get excited about is what creates a stellar customer experience. 

5. Know your products

In addition to knowing your customer, your team also needs to know their products. This is especially true for luxury retailers with high-end retail items that customers may have a lot of questions about before they're ready to buy.

A way to make this easier is to organize products by occasion. This makes sense because nearly every client buys products based on something they are celebrating or gifting for a special occasion. Columns dedicated to weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation, and holidays make it easier to sort for clients.

The product knowledge your team needs to have will depend on your industry. For example, a jeweler needs to know the meaning of colors and different stones, while sales associates in the fashion industry need to know about various fabrics and what clothes fit each occasion. This will connect the product to the recipient. 

6. Use measurable, repeatable communication processes

Next, if you're not measuring results, you can't make the changes necessary in order to improve your retail store. A spreadsheet of the messages your team sends and how effective each message was is a big help.

When you have hundreds of clients, knowing which messages work at what time and for who will get you results beyond your sales goals—jump to #7 for help with this.

7. Use tools that automate the personalization process

Finally, nobody can keep up with over a thousand clients, especially if you're trying to make sure they each receive regular, personal messages about anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, special life events, sales prices, and more. The right tool delivers the right messages at the right time, so you don't have to spend all of your time managing lists and manual spreadsheets.

That's where clienteling software comes in. Clienteling software automates practices like following up with customers, storing client information in one place, and it can even display images and product demo videos to customers via text. 

With clienteling software like Clientbook, each of your sales associates can be top performers, ready to make informed decisions about product recommendations, consistently follow up with key clients, and get instant access to important client information.


Elevating all of your sales associates to the level your top performer is at doesn't take a rigorous retail sales training program. All it takes is a few classic selling techniques, following the retail sales tips we've outlined in this article, and some software to help you along the way. 

If you're ready to take your retail stores to the next level with clienteling, Clientbook can help. Book a demo today to see what we're all about.

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