`Tis the season to be ringing the register. Ho, ho, hum.

`Tis the season to be ringing the register. Ho, ho, hum.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

‘Tis the season to be ringing the register. Ho, ho, hum.

The season to be jolly is upon us. It is also the season to sell.

But it seems it’s also the season to be slack. The excuse has been — we can never get enough good help. That’s a bunch of fruit cake. There’s plenty of help out there — they just don’t want to come work for you — AND when you get the people, they are not trained to serve in a memorable way.

There is a “Christmas Carol of Retail”. It’s the most beautiful music of the season — the sound of a cash register ringing. Retail music. The object is to make it ring fast and often. It’s busy. Sometimes too busy, and the customer is the victim of poor service rather than the recipient of the joy of the season.

I talk to retailers who are “hoping for a big Christmas.” My challenge to you is: MAKE ONE HAPPEN.

If you’re in retail sales, now is the time to make bacon. And make it in such a way that the customer returns in January for more, and tells others of her pleasant holiday shopping experience.

People have money and will be spending it — the only question is: Will they spend it at your place? Or, more painful: What will cause them to spend it at your place?

ANSWER: Have a holiday sales program in place and train people to execute it in a memorable way.

10.5 ways you can earn more and sell more by helping customers more…
1. Clerks must serve AND sell with a WOW. Let clerks ring sales by taking purchases directly to the register without the customer standing in line. (Nordstrom’s does it all year long, and they seem to be doing OK)
2. Up-sell softly by asking questions — but do it every time. Suggest one co-ordinating or extra item with each customer’s purchase (do you want fries with that sells BILLIONS of fries a year)
3. In sales, it is always the season to be jolly. Be so friendly that the customer likes you and decides to spend more.
4. Give them a gift(wrap). Have the supplies for gift wrapping each purchase, and tell the customer it’s your special “home wrapping plan.” If you make them nice, you can even sell extra “gift packs” for a buck or three apiece for their “other” gifts. Especially to men.
5. Some customers want questions answered. Let some people become “experts” at various items in your store so they can provide information needed by a small percentage of customers.
6. Use (sincere) one-liners that support purchases. Like: “You’ve made a great choice.” Or “I’d like one of those myself.”
7. Ask closing questions about the customer’s choice, rather than the customer’s wallet. Like: “What do you think they’d like best?” Never ask, “How much did you want to spend?” — people NEVER want to spend as much as you want them to spend. Asking what they like best is always a more expensive choice. Also, ask “who else is on the list?” after the initial purchase has been made. ONCE THEIR WALLET IS OPEN…EMPTY IT!
8. Learn to ask for the sale faster. Ask questions like, “Do you think this is the right one?” “OK, we seem to have this one decided, who else on your list?
9. Tell them to buy. Say, “This is PERFECT! — OK, who else is on the list?”
10. Tell each customer that they are getting the “holiday special service” when you greet them. Great gifts, free wrapping materials, personalized payment service, no waiting. The gift of service.
10.5 Give them a reason to return on the 26th. Give each customer a special “after Christmas” first choice at sales items for those who bought from you between November 25th and December 25th.

Post the above 10.5 reasons on the back of a door in the store room, or by the time clock. Print them up in pocket card size. Keep the lessons of sales in plain view every day.

And now for the inside of Santa’s workshop. Here are a few things you can do to make the selling atmosphere jolly:

  • o Welcome everyone everyday.
  • Have coffee and donuts ready when they arrive.
  • Start each day with a short sales lesson.
  • Give them chocolate gold dollars and tell them how sweet it is to have them as employees.
  • Wish them the most successful day ever.
  • Get out on the retail floor and be an example of what you teach.

Jolly is a choice, not a season. If you’re the owner or manager of the store, treat your employees like gold, and they will get your register to ring and your customers to return. If you’re the salesperson in the store — bring this column to your manager.

Free GitBit… There are three options a customer has to talk about you when the transaction is over. Want to know what they are? Go to www.gitomer.com and click free stuff, then click GitBit. Register (if you’re a first time user) and enter the secret word “OPPORTUNITY”

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com