Retail industry goes through rapid transformation phases, and so do the retailer's sales strategies. They realize that it is time to earn the customer's confidence, trust, and loyalty to build long term relationship, and this is possible by only by bidding farewell to aggressive sales techniques.

Retail sector is undergoing a new transformation time and again. Big box retailers come up with big and bright stores. It is common for small retailers to watch their sales decreasing, and their customer base being eroded. Creative and timely strategies are needed to stop the bleeding, and to start gaining sales and profitable customers. Sales should happen in a way that the customer does not feel he is dominated or manipulated. If the salesman makes the customer feel that way, the latter might do into a defensive position, causing the retailer to lose his business. Along with the inspiring trends in retail business, there are many changes in the ways salesmen approach the customer.

Selling is a concept which believes that the customer would not buy, or buy less if left alone. Accordingly, salesmanship was an art of persuasion. So, if the customer show buying inertia, the salesman needs coax them into buying. But, if the same concept is practiced more aggressively, the retailer might not only end losing sales, but might also lose his long-term customer, or damage the customers loyalty.

Today, customers remain updated about products and services through various media. When they are interested in buying a specific product, they search out for even the smallest regarding the same. Internet has reduced the time and energy spent in searching for options, and customers are able to read reviews, and compare products. Hence, retailers should follow an apparent approach in response to the growing consumer power.

Tell-tale signs of aggressive selling:


Aggressive selling is most of the times accompanied by a freebie, which is only for a limited period of time. The product comes bundled with an irresistible gift to win the customer over. During the sales process, the risks and additional charges are only briefly mentioned, while the benefits are highly emphasized. The aggressive salesman always uses the majority is right concept to persuade the customer. He would explain how too many people are going for this product, giving a feeling to the customer that he is left behind. The aggressive selling concept generally manipulates the consumer's fear of missing things out. Salesman would explain how their special rates are only for a limited time.

Aggressive Vs Smart selling:

There is only a thin line of differentiation between smart selling and aggressive selling. Smart selling beyond a certain limit turns to be aggressive. Aggressive selling starts straight to the point without any finesse. This hard-core approach might not work is some instances. Today's customers hate being sold. Aggressive sales attempts will make the customer also aggressive, and make them to act negatively. Ultimately, the sale is completely lost.

On the contrary, a smart salesman never assumes. He reads the prospect, and ensures the confidence in him that he is taking a good decision. He allows the prospect to show what he wants, and then the salesman sells him everything which the customer thinks he needs, thus making the sale successful. He delivers the message with authority, not arrogance.

A successful retailer needs to build rapport with the buyers so as to create a long term relationship. Retailer's act of bringing clarity to the environment develops trust between the salesman and the customer. When the customer starts believing that retailers are their advocates, they will reciprocate with their trust, purchase, and long term loyalty.


1)     Images Retail, June 2011



Image Courtesy: