Those first 30 seconds are crucial. Here's how to use them right.

Most salespeople think that when clients say they’re “just looking,” it’s an objection. It isn’t. What it really means is, “When I find it, I’m going to buy it.” Or, “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Regardless, they walked into your store hoping to have an awesome experience. Remember: Clients decide within the first 30 seconds whether they’re staying or leaving. What happens now will make or break your sale.

Unfortunately, many salespeople predetermine that the “just looking” client is going to leave empty-handed. They may walk away or say something like, “If you see something you can’t live without, holler at us.” They’re telling the client with their body language that they don’t have time for them or that they have something more important to do.

Instead, when a client says she’s “just looking,” respond this way: “I’m so glad you came in. This is a good place to look.” Or say, “I always do that before I buy.” Or smile and say, “I’ll be right back,” and bring them a beverage or cookie. Don’t ask if they want something to drink because they’ll almost always say no. Just bring it. This will catch them off guard in a good way, because no one else did this.

With “just looking” clients, always smile and give them a little space. Be on the same side of the case that they are on. This takes away pressure because you are not in the power position behind the case.

After your introduction, ask:

  • “Have you ever been in our store before?”
  • “Are you looking for something special for yourself or someone else?”
  • “Did they give you any hints?”
  • “Is it a special occasion?”
  • “Have you seen something somewhere else that you like?”
  • “Is there a particular brand you’re looking for?”

If you’re still not getting anywhere, say, “Let’s take a tour.” This lets them see the whole store. They may pass by the case where they want to stop and look. Now you can ask more questions depending on the showcase, like “Do you like yellow or white gold better?” or “What is your favorite colored stone?”

When the client stops, always watch her eyes and see what she’s looking at in that case. If you pull out an item near the one she’s looking at, she’ll tell you the right one.

Take out the item she wants, make sure it’s in her hand, and don’t ask too many questions too fast. Always pause after you ask and give her time to think and answer.

Show genuine interest. Be patient. Get her to talk about herself. The more she talks, the more you listen, the higher the closing ratio. And if you let her talk more, she’ll feel like she’s in control and you’re not being pushy.

If you ask a question and the client responds with “You know, I really am just looking,” give her a little more space. Watch her body language and in a few minutes, come back and re-approach.

When you think about it, we’ve all said, “I’m just looking.” And, we’ve all bought something and given them our money afterwards. What made the difference was the experience delivered. Always take “just looking” clients seriously — they’re shopping today.


Shane Decker has provided sales training for more than 3,000 stores worldwide. Contact him at ( 719) 488-4077 or at ex-sell-ence.com.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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