Why you should never ask customers how much they're looking to spend
You go shopping. You're looking for a gift. A salesperson, trying to determine what merchandise to show you, asks, "How much do you want to spend?" You say, "Around $300." He shows you an item, and you eventually leave, because you just started shopping and want to check a couple of other stores. At the next store, the salesperson asks a few questions to get an idea of what the perfect gift would be and immediately shows you a $500 item. You love it. You hesitate. You try to remember how much your balance is on your only credit card. You cringe, but you love it. You buy it.
Does this scenario sound familiar? We've all stretched ourselves a bit for something we've really wanted. We start out with an idea of what we feel is a reasonable amount to spend when we begin shopping for anything. That is, until we happen upon an item that's beyond that reasonable amount, and we go for it. Your customers are no different.
Yet many salespeople limit the potential amount of their sales by asking customers how much they want to spend too early in their presentations. When a customer says she wants to spend $300, you're trapped. If you show a $500 item, you may be perceived as pushy. After all, the customer just said she wanted to spend $300. So eliminate that question from your probing vocabulary. Listen to your customers, evaluate their reactions and sell the best merchandise you can. The law of gravity suggests that it is always easier to come down in price than to push the customer up in price.
Your customer may be willing to stretch their budget for a purchase if given the opportunity to do so. Don't take that opportunity away from them.
Harry Friedman Harry J. Friedman is an internationally acclaimed retail authority, consultant, trainer, speaker, and author. Since founding The Friedman Group in 1980, his high-performance sales and management training systems have been used by over 500,000 retailers worldwide. www