The Browsing Customer

 

People in sales-related occupations often encounter customers who really would prefer to be left alone. In retail environments it’s “No thanks, I’m just looking.” In professional sales, it’s “Just send me the information and I’ll get back to you.” Pretty hard to do your job sometimes when the customer seems to be an unwilling participant.

A lot of sales training programs talk about browsing as though it were a Bad Thing – something that salespeople have to ‘overcome.’  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Browsing is simply a part of the natural buying process.  Customers are often at a stage in the process where they simply may not want, or value, your input. If this is the case, then any attempt to impose yourself on them can have quite a detrimental effect, with you being perceived as ‘pushy’ or insensitive.

Your best bet is to offer your help – making sure that your customer understands the added value your assistance brings.  If the customer declines your help, then assure her that you’re available for any questions or guidance she may require and leave her alone! If you continue to try and assist, you’ll just annoy her.

Now, having said this, it is important to realize that, while this customer has asked to be left on her own, she hasn’t told you to go away and die. At some point, she will likely come to a stage where she’ll welcome your input, and it’s critical that you are there for her, and skilled enough to help. You don’t have to overcome her browsing – you just have to understand it, respect it, and be aware when the browsing is finished.

 

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