Assessing Consultative Selling through Mystery Shopping

Products & services are sold by way of different approaches. In retail segments where there is significant product, price or service delivery differentiation, sales staff focus more on product-based selling, that is, showcasing features over benefits.

For segments where the product or service is homogeneous and there is high competition intensity, sales staff try to provide solution-based selling, which is often called as consultative selling. Consultative selling believes in establishing a dialogue with the prospective customer, thereby understanding their way of life and then try to fit a solution through their product or service offering.

Channelplay, by way of customer experience mystery shopping evaluates the selling skills of sales staff. Our mystery shoppers specifically look for the following essential elements of effective consultative selling:

  • Research: Initiating a friendly & strictly ‘no product oriented’ dialogue with customer
  • Probing: Asking questions to understand their culture, opinions & attitudes, way of life or simply seek clarifications
  • Listening: Effectively listening to the customer to derive inherent attitudes & motives
  • Solutioning: Fitting the product or service into their usual way of life or lifestyle and presenting a benefit-oriented solution
  • Follow through: Effective follow-through by way of providing more communication (reading material/videos etc.) for a deeper information gathering on product benefits and gathering a convenient time to follow-up

With the huge demand for personalized, tailored solutions and services, consultative selling is taking the central stage. Sales staff across a lot of retail segments have started practicing consultative selling. A few examples of the type of interaction they engage in is as follows:

  • Sportswear:
    • Sports customers play
    • Frequency of playing
    • Duration of play per occasion
  • Food Service:
    • World cuisines customers have tried 
    • Ingredients they are allergic to
    • Foods/drinks which go well together
  • Fashion:
    • Type of occupation
    • Frequency of going to parties after office
    • Sources for fashion trends
  • Financial Services:
    • Overview about economy
    • Implications of government policies
    • Outlook on different investment instruments

Topics: Mystery Shopping & Audits

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