Advice on avoiding the “bonehead mistake” in sales

Nov 5, 2020
Written by wpengine

There’s no doubt that retailers are eager to recover lost sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail consultant Bob Phibbs urges managers to discourage pushy sales techniques or turning lose a sales staff with dollars signs in their eyes.

“It is just a creepy process, where the shopper feels like a piece of meat to be consumed,” writes the Retail Doctor Phibbs. “We often associate this approach with used car salesmen, which is corny, cheesy, and honestly, yucky.”

Phibbs advises sales staffs to keep the long term in mind. Your store’s recovery will depend on extending memorable customer service, not pressuring customers to buy.

Here’s how:

  1. Be curious. Ask yourself why is this person in the store right now? So many times we are counting up our goal, bonus, or our needs of closing the sale instead of focusing on the new opportunity.


  1. Serve first. Desperation and anxiety come from feeling you have to MAKE THE SALE. If you follow a process to build rapport first and to serve first, the sale will take care of itself. Any baseball fan will tell you they can see a slugger in a slump trying desperately to get on base. They get out of the slump by letting go and enjoying the game, not feeling they can control many things that are out of their control.


  1. Slow down. Simply allowing the sale to take a bit more time for you to get to know the customer and for you to find some common interests will relax you. At that point, the shopper will often tell you about their entire project, outfit, or gift rather than you needing to ask them specifically what they’re looking for. That allows you to make bigger sales and develop relationships.

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