Traditionally, retail sales training has focused on how associates can deliver great service and maximize sales face-to-face, after the customer walks in the door. And while clienteling is an important effort as well, success is often defined as driving traffic to the store.
But, what about all the customers that don’t walk through your door (or can’t due to the COVID-19 pandemic)? Your relationship with them doesn’t need to remain on pause until the next time they decide to come in.
Modern tools and technology enable remote sales reps to provide a great experience for the customer, delivering convenience and personalization from the comfort of their own home (or, for your remote sales team, their home office or remote work environment).
For retailers, this sales enablement introduces a more proactive approach to clienteling. It reinforces customer relationships and increases the chances of finding the right time and place to make a sale.
What is Remote Selling?
Remote selling is a sale that happens as the result of an interaction with an associate or retailer that did not take place in a physical store.
This interaction could take place via text message, e-mail, or social media. It might take the form of an impromptu text conversation, a virtual appointment, personalized lookbook, or an outfit-of-the-day post featuring new arrivals. Something as simple as a thank-you message or wishing a customer a happy birthday can also initiate an opportunity for remote selling, simply by reminding them you are there.
Distinct from traditional e-commerce, remote selling is driven by an associate-customer interaction. Whether this starts out as a product recommendation or just a friendly hello, the overall sales process is always relationship-based. This type of interaction not only offers the customer a personalized experience, but is also far more likely to result in repeat business. Despite all the ease and convenience of online shopping, human connection still matters as a point of distinction.
With more and more opportunities to connect and continue a customer relationship, retailers can expand their client base outside of their immediate geographical area and maximize downtime in physical stores.
Perhaps most importantly, remote selling can transform your retail sales force from underutilized staff to brand ambassadors with a focus on relationship-based selling — a key to success in the modern retail landscape.
How to Sell Remotely
So, how can you kickstart a remote selling strategy? Let’s break it down into a few important steps.
1. Provide the right technology.
Retail technology sounds scary and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. At Endear, we have made it our mission to provide easy, out-of-the-box solutions for remotely connecting with your customers.
This includes product-based marketing emails, lookbooks, and centralized text messaging that can transform the level of personalized service your remote sales team provides your customers. Not only can your associates drive sales remotely, but it’s easy for you to track and attribute the effectiveness of this effort.
In fact, our customers see over 100x return on the cost of their subscription!
You might also consider investing in company devices, such as tablets or phones, and video conferencing tools, such as Zoom or Google Meet, that allow your remote teams to hold remote meetings and video calls, conduct styling or coaching sessions in order to easily sell from your e-commerce stock. (Some of these tools can also be used by associates in your store.)
Invest in your success wisely, and it will pay dividends.
2. Provide the right training.
Ensure your associates are trained on clienteling best practices and the tools they have at their disposal. This could include training sessions on how often to contact customers, how to take effective customer notes, and when to follow up after a purchase or shipped order.
Be specific, with actionable and measurable goals, and focus on real success stories associates have had. This is the best way to prepare your team for success.
The Endear blog is a great learning resource and our team is always happy to help with the latest tips, tricks, and success stories.
3. Provide the right incentives.
Once your associates know how to use the technology, make it desirable for them to utilize it. This could be through commission, bonuses, gratis, or other types of incentives. Endear ensures all sales made through the platform are attributable to the right team member, making it easy to properly reward your sales leaders.
Once you are on your way with the steps above, remember:
- Give your associates a say. They are on the front lines every day and are a rich resource about what is and isn’t working when it comes to customer experience and customer success. Don’t forget to include them in your conversations as you develop your remote selling strategy.
- Keep a pulse on how your customers like to communicate. Don’t stay stagnant. Gauge customer interest in different formats such as virtual appointments, personalized recommendations via text message, or social media.
- Be adaptive. Realize that your assessment of customer needs and how you meet them should be flexible. This should be an iterative process.
Remote Selling Tools
Now that you understand the importance of a proactive clienteling strategy and how remote selling can empower your team, here’s a list of resources to get you started on your path to success.
Whether you need CRM capabilities or are looking for an effective and centralized clienteling tool. Endear has you covered. Keep track of your customers’ purchase habits, make notes, set tasks and reminders, or send picture messages and personalized lookbooks. It’s never been a more important time to invest in relationship-based sales.
Calendly is a free web-based appointment scheduling software that makes it easy to communicate a schedule to customers and book in-store or virtual appointments. It saves both customers and associates the hassle of back and forth conversations when trying to find a mutually ideal time!
3. Industry Blogs
Learn from the success of others and stay up to date of what’s driving growth in today’s retail market. You never know what you might learn or what inspiration you might take away. Some of our favorites for industry trends, news, and emerging technology are:
Expand your reach, maximize downtime, and empower your sales team with remote selling — all while providing the best shopping experience possible for your customers. With a focus on relationship-based sales, the selling ceremony can take on many different forms and lead to many more opportunities. Come see what that looks like with Endear.