Customers Ride the Be Back Bus in Retail

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Every retail store seems to have one of these bus stops directly in front of it. You know the one, it's for that customer who says they will "be back." Not the Arnold Schwarzenegger "I'll Be Back" from the Terminator, but the elusive excuse to get out of the store without buying anything. 

The truth is that today's customer is well-educated when they come into a store. Research shows that over 2/3rds of them do some online searching before they come into the store. As much as customers would like to believe they can do it all on their own, the truth is that technology and Google have made life more complicated for shoppers versus less. Too much information can do as much harm as too little when it comes to making a buying decision. 

If they have done some research before coming in the store, and you have listened carefully, asked great questions to understand their wants interested needs, concerns, and desires, then the solution you are showing them is most lily the right one . Yet they still wait and choose to ride the be back bus. 

One way to avoid this issue is the use atie-down. This is a tool that is "hung" on the end of a sentence that confirms agreement with the customer that the product you are talking about is the right one for them. Too many salespeople develop feature diarrhea and just spout feature after feature to a customer. This person's theory is that the more I stack up the better the deal. Unfortunately, for the customer, the more you "stack up" - the more the cost. So, slow down and use a tie down. 

Second, keep in mind that you yourself as a customer in another store have opted to ride the bus as well. Did you go into the store with the intention of buying or not buying? Studies show that people come into the store with the intention of buying. However, customers have been burned so many times before that they are dealing with a few fears when they come into your store

The first one is the fear of making a mistake. All of us have bought something at some time or another that turned about to be a bad investment. So a tendency towards caution is natural. The second fear is the fear of looking stupid. Whether it's feeling stupid about the product itself or looking stupid to others for not knowing more, it can paralyze a shopper and send them to the bus. 

Each of these fears are rational and shared by us all. However, as retailers, we sometimes forget about them. When you ask a customer to buy and they object, if you have followed proper professional selling techniques like the ones from the Retail Sales Bible, then it's probably just a reaction to these fears. However, if you have not done a professional job, then it's more likely a response to you. 

In any case when a customer objects, what he or she is really saying is "I have a question" or "I need more information." This is why you do not "overcome" an objection, but rather "answer" it. An objection is really nothing more than a question. If you handle it this way, the customer may not need to "be back" - in fact, they may need you to help them load it in their car. 

The bottom line is that when a customer say they will "be back," it's often more of an issue with the salesperson than the product. Weaker salespeople tend to believe that all customers need to be back. But sales professionals know that serving a customer well the first time is actually a better service to the customer - after all, you just saved them a ton of time at the bus stop.