The bane of many a retail floor-worker’s day is the phrase: “No thanks, I’m just looking”

The bane of many a shopper’s life is a pushy salesperson.

But then, the shoppers don’t like to be ignored either, so how is the best way to deal with them?

When I shop it seems to me that about three quarters of retail assistants have a little wind-up mechanism inside them that’s automated when someone walks in. Whiirrr……on goes the fake smile……. Turn the voice up to high and sing-songy…….”hello there, can I help you with anything?”. To which the shopper replies in an equally automated manner “no thanks, just looking”.

Why do they bother? The fake smile and tone of voice is insincere. They both know that the customer won’t give an honest answer and the salesperson probably won’t listen to the answer anyway.

But you aren’t like that in your shop.

If your store policy is to greet a visitor, you treat it as an opportunity to interact with a human being, not just something you have to do.

You devise creative ways to avoid them the dreaded ‘just looking’ answer. You discuss the weather, their clothes, their kids, their day (notice a trend here?) and you build rapport. Each individual in your store is just that – an individual.

But sometimes the worst comes to the worst. You have made every effort to be genuinely personable but you still get slapped in the face with a ‘just looking’.

It hurts. Your charm is swayed. Oh, you think, if only you had an imaginative comeback to give them something to think about. You do, now. They’re below for you to take your pick.

(We can’t guarantee the outcome of these, by the way, but the look on the customer’s face could be worth it smiley. Just make sure you say them politely, not sarcastically)

Idea 1

“Oh, I’m just looking”

“No worries, please feel free – it’s the last thing that the Prime Minister hasn’t managed to tax yet”

Idea 2

“I’m Just Looking, thanks”

“Nice to meet you, Just Looking. My name’s Customer Service, so please ask for any help if you need it!”

Idea 3

“I’m Just Looking, thanks”

“That’s great!! Looking is good! Information is absolutely free on Tuesdays (or whatever day of the week it is)…….so let me know if there’s anything you need answers on”

Idea 4

“I’m Just Looking, thanks”

“No worries… that’s what I spend most of my time here doing – looking at the ! Actually, at the moment I’m specially looking at this one we’ve just got in, …..”

Idea 5

“I’m Just Looking, thanks”

“That’s wonderful, did you know that every happy customer of ours last month started off just looking?”

The secret of these responses? The customer doesn’t hear them in every shop, and suddenly you become a human being instead of a ‘salesperson’. Nobody likes being sold at, not even people buying things. Genuine friendliness; a sense of humour; respect for the customer as a human being: that’s what they will remember and recommend.

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