Doesn’t the old, “How can I help you?” line get old when you walk into a store? What are you going to say? Come on, you know it as well as I do, you’re going to respond with something like, “I’m just looking”…just like every other customer.
If you own or work in a retail location, try starting off with something a bit more sophisticated, funny, catchy, or whatever just to get your customers away from the “I’m just looking” mentality. After all, you want…no, you need to engage your customers to properly sell your products and services to them. Oh, and you only have a few seconds to impress them before they turn you off and think of any excuse to get out of there!
Here are a few non-typical type of openings that you could try (you’ll have to come up with the wording yourself). When I worked in a retail location I challenged all my sales associates to try a new opening with each customer just to get them out of that “How can I help you” mentality.
Sports – if the guy /girl is wearing or carrying something sports related (and you know about that particular sport / team) then start up the conversation about that team / sport. If you don’t know about sports, then don’t even bring it up…you’ll probably end up doing more harm than good.
Cars – if you happened to see your customer pull up in a sweet ride, compliment them on their ride. Talking about cars, especially asking about theirs will get you off on the right foot.
Fashion – if you know about fashion and your customer walks in wearing an expensive designer, compliment them on the fabric, the designer, the color, and how it compliments their skin tone or eyes. Compliments are always welcome!
Technology – does your customer have the newest, latest, and greatest cell phone / tablet exposed where you can see it? Ask them about it! Ask their opinion on the product and / or service. This will help them understand that you think their opinion is valuable.
Weather – if the weather is extreme (super hot, cold, rainy, etc.), mention it and welcome the customer to get out of the heat, the cold, the rain. If possible, offer a refreshment that pertains to the weather (i.e. a cold bottle of water, a cup of hot coffee, etc.).
If all else fails (or your mind goes blank because none of the above – or anything else you thought of before the customer walked through the door – applies), then simply say, “Thanks for coming in!” After all, that customer chose to come into your store.
What’s your most unique opening / greeting you’ve used on a customer?