The 7 Habits of Successful Retail Sales Associates

Have you ever watched a great movie and thought to yourself:“How do they do that?” The best moviemakers are master storytellers. They know how to connect emotionally to their audience. They understand timing, the right lines. Even the right responses to great lines.

And while life is not scripted, there are habits that make success in the world of retail much easier and get that same emotional response from customers as the great movies do.

To help retail sales associates to become master storytellers like moviemakers, they need to develop a few simple habits that will help sell products, and help you understand why your customers buy. These seven habits are:

1. Ask questions, listen, clarify.

This is more than being friendly and breaking the ice. Every customer is a potential long-term client. Getting to know them, their tastes, budgets, buying habits; the things they celebrate, the people they love, the meaningful things in their lives, the special occasions they will always remember. Listen to them as they talk. Let them tell their story and watch the excitement in their expressions. Ask for clarification on dates and names. And of course, take notes. You’ll want details when you send out personal messages.

2. Relentless Follow-up.

Those notes you kept during your first meeting now come in handy when you send out a personal 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 be personal enough to not be a nuisance. Nobody likes impersonal messages. “DearCustomer” is so 80s. Be friendly. Be specific. Be of value.

3. Be confident.

There are piles of books on the right personal behaviors that make people successful. Let us save you the time of reading all of them and note that on the top of the list is confidence. This is not being cocky or overly assertive. It’s knowing your products and being honest. People trust other people who are self-assured. They want to know you care about their needs and will confidently make suggestions that are best for them.


4. Know your customer.

This comes back to number 1. Sending out mass, impersonal emails is a big turn off. So is forgetting someone’s name. Become a confidante, someone to be trusted with personal likes and secrets. Know your customer’s tastes and introduce them to new products that they get excited about. And don’t be afraid to communicate with them on topics other than business.


5. Use a measurable, repeatable communication process.

If you’re not measuring results, you can’t make the changes necessary in order to improve. A spreadsheet of the messages you send 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. See Number 7 for help with this.


6. Know your products.

Sending out personalized messages means talking about products that are best for each individual client. 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. Know the meaning of colors and different stones or fabrics that every product has a story. This will connect the product to the recipient.


7. Use tools that automate the personalization process.

Nobody can keep up with over a thousand clients, making sure they receive regular personal messages about anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, special life events, and more. The right tool delivers the right messages at the right time, so you don’t have to spend 24/7 managing lists.


Developing these seven habits will transform any sales associate into a clienteling master who turns every customer into a client.

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