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A Sale in 30 Seconds? It’s all in the Greeting By Tom Richard

It has been said that a customer makes a decision to buy within the first 30 seconds of their experience at a retail store.

That means that as a salesperson, you must create an environment that is comfortable for your customer and conducive to making a sale, all within 30 seconds of their arrival.

Sound impossible? It’s easier than it seems.

As a salesperson, you have 100% control over the experience that customers have in your store because it is your home turf.

You have the advantage of knowing your store and products inside and out and using that knowledge to prepare yourself for your customer’s arrival.

Establishing a comfortable and engaging environment for your customer is also easy because it does not require any special training or skills.

It means being aware of your customer and having an understanding of their importance to your job and your company.

You can engage your customer immediately by simply interacting with them in a way that shows that you care about their needs and have the knowledge to help them.

Greet your customer

Meeting and greeting your customer from the moment they walk into your store sets the tone for the rest of their shopping experience. By acknowledging their presence, they will feel important and will see that you are friendly and helpful.

In retail, the absolute worst thing you can do is make a customer wait for service or wander aimlessly around your store to search what they came in to find. They may have driven over 15 minutes to get to your store just to find one item.

When they get there, they expect to find exactly what they are looking for and expect that you will help them find it. Without your help they may become frustrated and lost, and may leave empty-handed.

If, for some reason, it is necessary that the customer wait, do not let them feel neglected. Make them comfortable and let them know you will assist them as soon as you can, or give them an alternative resource for their questions.

Establish yourself as their resource

Immediately following your initial greeting you need to establish yourself as the customer’s resource.

Your customer needs to know that you are the index of your store and that their experience will be efficient and pleasant with you as their guide.

Even if the customer is not ready for your help at the present time, it is important that you let them know you are available for questions and assistance when they are ready.

If your customer feels like you are crowding them, they will likely want a few minutes to ‘look around’ before they feel comfortable enough to allow you to help them. Either way, establishing this contact immediately will let them know where to go when they do have a question.


When the customer is ready for your assistance, you must be ready to listen. Listening means discovering the meaning behind their words and the questions they ask.

Too often in retail, salespeople try to find a quick solution, and dive into a speech about the first product a customer mentions. Take the time to allow the customer to reveal their unique needs and desires. Then you will be able to match them with a specific product that is perfect for them.

Listening to the customer will make them feel comfortable talking with you and ultimately, buying from you. They will feel understood and appreciated from your personalized service, and they will remember the experience.

It is amazing how simple these initial steps are when you understand their importance. They are easy to implement and so effective in creating a pleasant and welcoming environment for your customer as soon as they arrive.

So the next time a customer comes in, pay attention to how they are treated within the first 30 seconds. Watch how others greet them and take a hard look at how you typically greet them.

Come up with a few ways to improve your greeting and put them into action. After all, if a sale is determined by the customer’s first impression, don’t you want to make sure it is a good one?
Tom Richard is a sales trainer and author. Visit his website to join his weekly ezine at www.tomrichard.com