Needs Based Sales & Customer Service

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Fostering strong links with your customers and empowering your team to be the best salespeople they can be makes a big difference to your customer experience, as well as your sales numbers.

Relationship building with new customers.

Why, hello there

Always greet customers when they enter. Engage in easy and general conversation with open-ended questions that allow the customer to open up to you on their terms and in their own way.

Encourage exploration

Have an interactive zone in your store - a space with hands-on items that the customer is encouraged to test, sample, and explore. Let them acclimatise to your store and fall in love with your space at their own pace and in their own time.

Selling vs. educating

It is up to you and your staff to know the product and understand how your merchandise can best meet your customer’s needs. It’s important to create an environment that people want to come back to time and time again.

Creating a comfortable shopping environment includes being aware of the space in the store and how people to move through it. This can include accommodating people with strollers, the physical aesthetic of the store, and the music you play. It also includes how you speak with the customer and make that first impression.

Fact-finding with your customers.

Get to know your customers

Ask questions and listen for keywords in the customer's’ responses; get to know their needs, likes and dislikes, what they enjoy outside of what you sell. It is the retailer’s job to break down the conversation and discover the reason why the customer is in your store and what they need.


Always have your customers leave with something, be it a sample of a certain product or a smile from a fantastic retail experience.

Or, leave your customers with a recommendation of a great restaurant or great blog to check out, so they have something positive that they’ve taken away from their experience with you.

Takeaways are memorable and powerful “back-pocket” tools.

Understanding your products and educating your customers.

Product knowledge

A comprehensive knowledge of all of your products is key - it is the best representation of you and your brand. Customers will always want to know about the product, such as who designed it, where it was made, and how it should be used.

Educating the customer

Sharing your knowledge and expertise on your store’s products with your Customers allows them to understand the value of their purchase. Storytelling is a great tool, so being able to tell stories about the brand, or success stories of other customers using the products, will make it more memorable.

Speak to the key features of the product that will interest your customer. Sampling is also a key tactic; sampling opens the doors for further conversation, and allows the customer to see the benefits for themselves without the commitment.

Needs-based selling techniques.


Listening to the customer - who they are and what they are looking for - allows you the opportunity to open them up to different options and possible products they may not have been aware of.

Value vs. function

Every customer has a budget; it is the retailer's job to work within their customer’s budget. And, they will automatically feel suspicious if you start trying to sell them more expensive items. Offer your customer options that suggest higher and lower price points, and remember that what’s most important is that they love their final choice.

Suggestion selling techniques.

Setting the stage

Create a look and the setting in your store that lets the customer visualise the product in their own space, such as home furnishings and decor that the customer can move and arrange, or skin care products the client can test and smell.

Utilize displays

Take advantage of the display spaces in your store, especially a front window if available. These spaces are your biggest tools to build and display your collections. Change them often as they are the first point of focus for customers passing by your store.

Take care

When making product suggestions to your customers, ensure your suggestions demonstrate that you have their best interests at heart, and not only the value of the sale. This demonstrates integrity that your customers will appreciate.

Training staff for needs-based selling.


Those who are personable, open, and have a love for education are often a great fit for needs-based selling. It is important not to have a fear of approaching and engaging with customers.

Getting your hands dirty

Don’t be afraid to let your staff test, try, and ask about the products in the store. Encourage your team to explore the products, as it helps them to understand why the product is here - why you’ve chosen it and how it can help customers.

Build confidence

A well-informed sales team is essential for creating a positive shopping experience and driving increased sales. When your team is knowledgeable about your products, it builds their confidence in their capacity to sell.

Give ownership

Encourage your team to ask questions and let them take ownership of their ideas for displays or offers so they feel more empowered and invested in the store.