Retail Sales: 5 Types of Needy Customers & How to Spot Them

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Working in retail sales requires many superpowers, one of which is spotting a customer that needs help – especially those that have said nothing at all. If a customer has to voice the fact that they need help, they’ll usually voice it as a complaint. Don’t leave your customers out in the cold and learn to recognize the five needy customers in your retail department that need help.

The primary difference between retailers and wholesalers is that retailers must deal with the end-user

The end-user is the customer in a retail store, and if they are unsatisfied with the service they are likely to leave. In other words, the end-users’ experience has a direct impact on sales. Without further delay, these are the five needy customer’s commonly found in retail stores.

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The lighthouse

Sometimes finding a customer that needs help in a retail store isn’t hard – because they are looking for you. If you scan your retail department, you’re sure to find a customer (or several) standing still while looking left and right as if they were trying to cross a busy street. These customers are looking for a retail salesperson (like yourself) to help them out.

If you have multiple customers that look as though they are in need of help, these are the first ones to service. The lighthouse customer is on the verge of losing his cool, but if you help them out, they usually have a quick question or want to be pointed in the right direction.

The Frozen

If you see a customer standing still, he’s usually thinking – and the thought is usually “where is all the help in this retail store.” To these customers, the retail store is a bit much, and they are completely lost in your department. These customers have to hit the pause button and collect themselves before carrying through the retail store.

If you’re stuck in a retail department by yourself and have lots of customers to help, I recommend helping this customer last. The frozen customer seems frozen now, but when you attempt to help them out, they’ll put you on freeze as well, while the rest of your department grows visibly agitated

The Shadow

Usually, while helping a customer, your spider-sense will come into full effect, and you’ll feel as though someone was behind you. Your mind is not playing tricks on you – you are, in fact, being watched (very rudely) by the shadow customer. These customers love to stand silently next to you, waiting (not so patiently) for you to wrap up what you’re doing so that you can help them with their retail needs.

When dealing with the shadow customer, you’ll have no choice – you’ll have to help this customer as soon as possible, or he’ll follow you through your entire retail department like your personal shadow. Help this customer as soon as you can because if a few of these shadow customers build upon you, you’ll suffocate and have no escape in your department.

The Tourist

While working in your retail department, you’ll see a customer that you are certain has never been in your department before. They are spotted walking around very slowly, with a puzzled (and somewhat painful) look on their face; they’ll have squinted eyes and will appear to be completely lost. This, my retail friends, is what I like to refer to as the retail store tourist. The retail tourist knows what he’s looking for but doesn’t know what he’s looking at or where he’s at, for that matter.

When responding to the retail tourist, you can help him whenever you feel like it. Unless you’re in the path of a retail tourist, their squinted eyes will prevent them from spotting you. Finish helping the rest of the customers in your department before you help out the retail tourist. He’ll be surprised to find human contact, and no matter how long it takes you to get to them, they’ll always really appreciate it.

The Conductor

If you’ve ever seen an orchestra conductor and how they move their hands, you’ll know exactly where I’m going with this analogy. The retail conductor is the impatient customer in your department that must have your help immediately – and their hand expressions say it all. They’ll gesture you over, put one finger in the air, wave at you, and my least favorite – they’ll snap their fingers.

Exercising urgency is extremely important when dealing with the retail conductor. They are hot-headed, in a rush, and usually pretty rude. It’s not enough to walk over to help the retail conductor; you better run to help with all of their needs. These customers are used to giving orders but are quick, so while it may be painful to help them, it’ll also be over quickly.

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