We begin with the Opening Phase in the Three Phases Of Selling.

We need to always be cognizant of how critical the Opening Phase is to sales success. You have between four seconds and four minutes to make a positive first impression. The majority of customers’ first impressions are based on the way your associates look. Their opinions are based on whether their appearance is appropriate for your company and whether they look like someone that can solve their problem.

The way your associates sound is most important to other customers. Do your associates sound credible, articulate and knowledgeable? Less important to your customer during the Opening Phase is what your associates actually say. We know this is hard to believe, but it is true. This means most customers develop trust during the Opening Phase based on emotions and feelings, not on technical expertise.

Make it part of your company culture that it is non negotiable that every customer is greeted with care, enthusiasm and a sense of urgency. Don’t crowd them. Instead, give them some time to familiarize themselves with the store and stay close. Psychologists have found that making conversation about things other than your offering helps build rapport with your customer better than getting right to it. Again, the Opening Phase is about creating a positive first impression and establishing trust. Once you have that, you can get get details on their needs during the Interview Phase.