How to turn price shoppers into buyers

By Jeremiah Wilson
August 25, 2011
RETAIL

How many phone calls do you take each day from consumers asking for a price quote? They don't ask about the quality of your business, the products you offer or your customer service. They are interested only in price.

My guess is, a lot.

The bigger question is: what do you and your employees do with these calls? And, how often do these price shoppers actually walk through your doors ready to buy?

The problem

After recording and scoring thousands of customer phone calls in various sectors, including glass, we at ContactPoint have learned a few facts:

  • Most employees at most businesses simply quote a price and don't make the sale or set up an appointment.
  • Eighty percent to 85 percent of employees in the glass industry don't ask for the sale. Let me repeat: 80 percent to 85 percent of the time, your employees are not even asking for the caller's business.
  • When you don't specifically ask for the sale, you only close the sale around 13 percent of the time.

No one calls your company unless they truly need glass. People don't randomly price glass for the fun of it. If a customer calls, he or she is ready to buy. When they ask, "How much will a shower door cost?", they are really saying, "I need a new shower door. Please sell me one!"

From now on, think of the price shopper as someone asking to buy from you.

The solution

So, how can you fix the problem? What should a price shopper phone call sound like?

Attitude and tone: first, do not view these calls as a waste of time. Tone of voice is the no. 1 factor in on-the-phone sales success. In fact, 86 percent of our on-the-phone communication is tone of voice. If you view the price shopper as a distraction, your tone will reflect that attitude, and the caller will notice.

Build a relationship: Make the caller feel comfortable. If he or she is comfortable and likes you, they are significantly more likely to buy from you. First, ask for the caller's name and use it. Second, re-state the caller's questions and concerns. You need to understand the caller, but just as important, they need to know that you understand them.

Communication: take the time to learn everything you can about the caller. Ask open-ended questions. Why are they calling today? Why do they need a new shower door? Did it break? What, specifically, are they looking for? This is your opportunity to determine the caller's real needs.

Build value: Remember, you are the expert. You know much more about the products you offer than the caller does. Use that expertise to build trust with the caller. Once you understand what they need and have built trust, you can make a recommendation about what product they should buy.

Ask for the sale: Your chances of closing the sale go up more than 200 percent when you ask for the sale immediately after you quote a price. Remember our statistic from earlier, more than 80 percent of the time employees don't ask for the sale over the phone.

The bottom line is this: If you view each price shopper as a potential customer, you can close 10 out of 10 price shopping calls. 

The author is founder and president of ContactPoint, www.contactpoint.com, a company specializing in sales and customer service. ContactPoint's patented technology records, scores and analyzes customer interactions so businesses hear what their customers hear. The company then provides training that teaches businesses how to optimize customer interactions. Write Wilson at jeremiah@contactpoint.com. 

  • Key points

    Eighty percent to 85 percent of employees in the glass industry don't ask for the sale when 'price shoppers' call.

    Do not view price shopper phone calls as a waste of time. Think of the caller as someone asking to buy from you.

    The chances of closing the sale go up more than 200 percent when you ask for the sale immediately after quoting a price.