For many retail stores, it is common mindset that 80% of sales come from 20% of customers; an effect also known as the Pareto Principle, which was established in the early 1900s by an Italian economist. This figure illustrates just how important sales from high-ticket customers are to overall business prosperity, and why you should shift your focus to this particular customer segment and put extra energy into these sales. Especially smaller businesses can benefit from identifying and catering to high-ticket customers.
But first, what exactly is a high-ticket customer?
This kind of consumer is willing to spend above and beyond what the average customer typically does at your store, and if targeted, can effectively boost profitability. Using the Pareto Principle, let’s look at an example of why this consumer base matters:
- Imagine in a day you have 100 customers shopping in your store. That same day, your sales are $5000. Eighty of your shoppers only spend an average of $12.50 per transaction, but 20 of your shoppers spend $200 at a time.
Using this example, its apparent how important securing high-ticket leads can be. If one of these clients is treated with inadequate customer service, the sale that is lost as a result may not be covered by the sales from the rest of the clients that day, or even that week.
Converting these client interactions into profits is highly dependent on your ability to sell. While we can’t deny that store layout, location, and merchandise are all crucial aspects to consider while converting potential customers into buyers, the selling process is what will make or break a shopper’s experience. Ultimately, your in-store customer service is the main factor that will drive profitability and customer retention. Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can get into 7 practices to raise your conversion rate for high-ticket customers that you may be missing out on.
Let’s take a look at the steps we’ll discuss in this article:
- Greet Customers with Open Arms
- Identify the Characteristics of a High-Ticket Customer
- Forge a Relationship with the Client
- Emphasize Your Products’ Value
- Up-sell as Much as Possible
- Reassure Their Purchase
- Follow-Up with Your Customers Post-Purchase
1. Greet Customers with Open Arms
Although the main focus of this article is to convert high-ticket leads into loyal customers, it is important to note that all shoppers should be treated with the same friendliness and excitement as soon as they arrive in the store. This could mean saying “Welcome” and asking if they can use any specific help.
A part of this step is also to get a feel for the customer’s personality. Take body language clues on if they are more introverted or extroverted and use this information to alter your customer service approach to fit their personality. An introverted personality might look like a customer trying not to make eye contact or avoiding small talk. When trying to serve those customers who appear to be more reserved, try to greet them and back off until they come to an employee for assistance. However, more talkative customers may enjoy direct help and having an outgoing conversation. Whatever the case, have sales associates observing their behaviors from a slight distance when they first arrive, and try to match their energy when approaching them.
2. Identify the Characteristics of High-Ticket Customers
After you’ve greeted your customers, there are a few giveaways a shopper will show if they are about to spend a lot of money at your store. (Just ask any Sephora sales associate about me.) These characteristics can include:
- Asking a lot of questions upon arrival. If a customer does this, it’s likely they are very interested in your products, and they are giving you a chance to build a rapport with them, which we’ll discuss in the next step.
- Stockpiling items to try on in the dressing room. When a customer is carrying more merchandise than they can handle, it’s a good sign that they’ve found items they like before even putting them on.
- Saying they aren’t looking for anything in particular. This statement can go both ways, but if you’ve caught a customer that is in the market to spend money, but they aren’t sure what on, it’s your job to help them find the things they didn’t know they needed.
If your customer does any of these things, know it’s time to bring your A-game when it comes to selling.
3. Forge a Relationship with the Client
The next step after you’ve identified your high-ticket customers is to build rapport with your shoppers. An easy way to do this is to ask more about themselves. Try to get to know a little bit about why they’re out shopping and what kind of lifestyle they lead in order to know what products would best suit them. If possible, share bits about your life as well, and try to relate to them as much as possible.
By building a relationship with your customer, you are ensuring they know that they can trust you. This newfound trust is likely to prove to them that they should value your judgement when it comes to your products. In addition, speaking the truth will get you very far in customer service. Be complimentary, but if you think another shirt would work better to fit what they want, do not be afraid to suggest it. However, the age-old adage, “the customer is always right” still reigns true. So, if they don’t like your suggestion, it’s probably best then to acknowledge that they know what they want better than anyone. Nonetheless, be as attentive as possible and anticipate your customers’ needs. Be accommodating as possible before your customer asks for help – anticipate needing different sizes, suggesting different colours and trying different styles.
4. Emphasize Your Product’s Value
From the rapport you have already begun building in the last step, you know the importance of appearing to know what might work well for the shoppers’ needs. Another aspect that can be beneficial to sell to customers is the value of your products. You want to make each customer that your products are going to fill a need in their life that they did not realize they had. This will be especially beneficial for those high-ticket customers who did not have anything specific in mind to buy or have trouble making decisions. This is the step where the client will most likely be taking note of your body language. Remain confident in yourself by standing straight and with your head up to signal a poised and prepared nature.
If you are dealing with a customer that is looking for something specific, like a dress for a specific event, emphasize the versatility of the dress. This can be achieved by suggesting that while the dress is good for their night out, it can also be dressed down for other occasions. This tactic will lead us right into our next step.
5. Up-sell as Much as Possible
After emphasizing the value of the product at hand, you can begin cross-selling products to your customer. Take our example of the high-ticket customer shopping for a special occasion dress. If your tactic is to market the dress as a piece of clothing that can be dressed down as well as dress up, have them try on different products that will help them do so, like a pair of sneakers or a light jacket.
Another way to up-sell is to keep pushing merchandise into the dressing room. Personally, I can’t tell you how many times a sales representative has brought pieces of clothing to me while I am trying on merchandise to say, “We just got in this new sweater, I think it would great on you!” or something along those lines. If the customer is anything like me, that tactic works about 75% of the time.
6. Reassure the Purchaser
As we’ve briefly touched on, small doses of flattery can go a long way, as long as it’s not overdone. When the customer seems to be wrapping up shopping, emphasize that they are making the right purchasing decisions by ensuring that they look great in the clothes, they are getting the perfect item for a specific occasion, they are buying great basics to build their closet around, and so forth.
By doing so, the customer will feel as though they’ve accomplished something good in their time at your store. And, hopefully, you can avoid any last-minute decision changes where they talk themselves out of buying an item. This step is important to solidify the relationship you built with your customer, as well as the high-ticket sale.
7. Follow Up with Your Customers Post-Purchase
Following up with your customers after they purchase items will help your store stay fresh in their mind. The most effective way to accomplish this step would be to wait about two days and send the customer an email from your store. In this email you will want to do a couple of things, including:
- Say “thank you” for their purchase
- Emphasize that you hope to see them in-store again soon
- Suggest for them to get in touch with any questions
- Point them in the right direction to leave a positive review
Sending a follow-up email can be beneficial for creating another positive impression on the high-ticket customer. Hopefully, this tactic will help increase customer retention by making them feel as if they are important to the business. Also, the shopper may feel more inclined to refer your business to a friend. If the friend has similar interests and consumer behaviour patterns, it is likely that the same tactics will work when trying to convert them as a loyal customer as well.
As we’ve discussed, its crucial to converting high-ticket leads to loyal customers, because this is where the most profitability lies in retail businesses.
The most effective way to do this is to have proficient customer service from the moment shoppers walk through the door.
The first step is to greet all customers with a friendly energy and to begin assessing their needs through their body language. This is important to start personalizing their customer service needs. Second, you’ll want to differentiate a high-ticket customer by looking for attributes that lead you to believe they would like to purchase multiple items. After they’ve been identified, you will thirdly want to build a relationship with your client through finding common ground and learning more about each other’s days and a glimpse into their lives. Fourth, after you’ve learned more about your client’s lives, sell how your products will fit into their lives. Here, you’ll want to embed body language cues that you are confident in your knowledge. Fifth, use this leverage and assurance to upsell and cross-sell other products to the high-ticket customers. This step will help secure a higher check-out price. The sixth step is to reassure their purchase as they are checking out. The seventh and last step is to follow up after their purchase to solidify their loyalty and hopefully increase customer retention rates.
By following these steps, you work towards having a higher conversion rate of high-ticket leads to loyal consumers. Having engaging customer service is one of the strongest ways to build a sustainable competitive advantage, and this method will not only do that but also boost profitability in the process.