When trying to figure out how to make more sales in retail, most businesses overcomplicate it.
Stealing a strategy that doesn’t align with their brand just because it seems to have worked for a competitor. Automatically jumping on the latest and most expensive AR technology or a random new craze. Getting their staff to memorise scripts that sound as fake as a £10 Balenciaga bag.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying you shouldn’t look into new tactics and opportunities.
However—like most stores—you might very well be overlooking the simplest yet most powerful tricks.
And one of these involves harnessing the power of YES.
What is the ‘yes set’ technique in retail and customer service?
The ‘yes set’ technique consists of creating a pattern of positive answers by asking questions or making statements with which the other person is extremely likely to agree.
It actually started out in hypnotherapy, but it’s incredibly beneficial as a tactic on how to make more sales in retail, too.
If a customer gets into a habitual response of saying yes to your front-of-house staff, they’ll be much more likely to do the same with the actual sale!
Traditionally, the ‘yes set’ is mainly used by retailers when selling and talking about a product.
I want to encourage YOU to take this one step further, though. For the best results, get your customers to say ‘yes’ to your staff before they’ve even started to look at the actual products.
Why is it so powerful to get your customers to say ‘yes’?
From books to TEDx Talks and coaching programmes, it’s not a coincidence that lots of mindset-related work focuses on this small but mighty word.
When you get your audience to say it, you instantly improve their in-store experience and even facilitate the buying process:
You’ll prime your customers to be open to the actual selling ceremony
The first, small ‘yes’ has the potential to lead to more (and bigger) ‘yeses’
Depending on the question, you’ll make your customer feel like they’ve already accomplished a small task or that they’re headed in the right direction
You’re creating a positive experience for them from the moment they step into your store, making them feel welcome and looked after. This will increase trust and loyalty! It’ll encourage people to return to your brick-and-mortar store even during our digital age of eCommerce
Take it from someone who’s been described as ‘the happiest retailer on the planet’: when you win your customers’ hearts, you win their sales!
“Ok, Kayleigh, but how do I achieve this in practice?”
I’ll show you!
How to make more sales in retail with the ‘yes set’ technique: 4 tips for your store
It’s not that everyone walking through your doors will automatically start saying that magic word.
It’s your job to make it happen.
But, at the same time, it shouldn’t feel forced. You’re not trying to make your customers feel like they’re going through a third-degree interrogation!
So, here’s how to do it right.
1. Make sure all your front-of-house staff are on the same page
Getting your customers to say ‘yes’ more often isn’t just a store manager’s responsibility: everyone should be on board!
So, if you seriously want to learn how to increase store sales through the ‘yes set’ technique, remember that it must be a collective effort, from your assistant manager to the guy who only works weekends.
Share with them what I’m about to teach you, and explain why it’s important.
At the same time, be sure to lead by example, of course.
2. Identify some opportunities to get your customers to say ‘yes’...
Instead of obsessing over how to make more sales in your retail store, try and think: “what problems can I solve for the customer from the moment they walk through the door?”
Obviously, this will change depending on your specific store and what you can actually offer them.
So, take some time to analyse your typical in-store customer’s journey and identify the juiciest opportunities.
Still, here are some general ideas to get you started:
“Are you doing well today?” (YES!)
If it’s a rainy day: “Have you got an umbrella I can store for you?” (YES!) or “Can I store that wet jacket for you so that you can shop more comfortably?” (YES!)
If you provide complimentary champagne, tea, or even water: “Can I pour you a cup/glass?” (YES!)
If your customer has loads of shopping bags: “Can I store these bags safely for you so that you can browse around more freely?” (YES!)
Are their children running around the store, and you noticed the parents getting stressed or overwhelmed? Offer to get a colouring book or an iPad out to entertain the kids, and ask the parents: “Would this be OK?” (YES!)
This will set the right tone and make your customers feel valued from the start. Then, you can proceed to do the same when it’s time to talk about the actual products, too:
When you see them looking at a specific section: “Do you enjoy using/wearing [type of product]?” (YES!)
“Do you know what you’re looking for?” (YES!) and then, once they let you know: “Can I help you find it?” (YES!)
“Can I take this dress to the fitting room/this product to the till for you?” (YES!)
After they’ve tried something on: “Does it feel comfortable?” (YES!)
… and so on.
3. … but don’t rely on scripts!
As you probably noticed, I’m not a fan of parrot-style scripts and improbable ‘what if’s’ scenarios.
They can certainly be handy as a reference or to help your staff practice, but let’s face it: you can’t script life!
So, while it’s helpful if your FOH team members are aware of the most likely scenarios, they shouldn’t use the exact same sentences every time.
Plus, each customer is different. So, there’ll always be new opportunities to get them to answer a question with a confident ‘YES!’
That’s why this technique should be part of your staff’s MINDSET, not something they learn by heart.
So, teach your front-of-house members to be proactive in identifying these opportunities. Why not help them by getting them to practise with the rest of the team?
4. Reinforce it with more yeses from your end
The focus of this trick on how to make more sales in retail is getting the customers to say ‘yes’... but that doesn’t mean your staff shouldn’t do the same, too.
Encourage them to:
Avoid negative language when saying something positive: for example, they could say “yes, I can definitely do that for you” instead of “no problem”
Use positive language when saying something negative: “I can order one for you” sounds a lot more optimistic than “no, we haven’t got it”
Shall I help your store make even more sales in retail?
Now that you’ve learnt the difference that a single syllable can make, think about it: what else has your store been missing out on?
With the eCommerce revolution and the threat of recession, retail is becoming even more of a challenging sector. And yet most stores are still relying on outdated techniques and… hoping for the best.
But yours is not ‘most stores’, right?
With twenty years of experience in this bustling industry, I’ll help it not just survive but thrive.
Are you ready to learn how to make more sales in retail and grow your store sustainably? If the answer is a loud ‘YES!’, book a free chat to find out more about my team workshops and retail consulting services for premium retail brands.