Confidence/ Body Language In Retail Situations

As a person who has a) been in the retail business for most of my life and is b) a lover of people watching, I notice the little things. One thing that has come to my attention is the message our body language expresses when we say hello to people.

This has just been triggered by a very good looking guy in his late twenties, walking onto my department at work. He didn’t say hello, he didn’t say anything. He winked and smiled, browsed and then left. Now, I’m not one for rugged handsome men with spiked blonde hair and letter jackets, but that wink – that’s confidence all over, and confidence is very attractive.

Confidence has also been something I’ve been discussing lately, and as a writer I have the advantage of confidence on paper, I can argue my side, research, create strong characters, but in person, if someone yells at me, I want to cry.

So, when people say hello to me at work, dependant on my mood, they usually get a polite “Hello, can I help you?” or “Hi, do you need anything? When I meet new people, especially attractive men, I am either flirtatious or quiet. When I talk to my colleague and friend at work, I am friendly and flirtatious.

I notice a lot of customers, don’t like being asked how they are or if they need any help, and I find it’s best to say hello, I’m here if you need any help, and leave them to it. That, gets me more sales.

People don’t like being pestered in shops, and they show it through their body language. Many people, will turn their backs to you or not look at you if they don’t want to engage in conversation. If they want help, they approach you, albeit nervously sometimes. If I am on the computer, customers usually wait until I finish typing, or walk away from my desk, and then they approach me.

I think the most interesting display of confidence, is confidence in purchases. If customers have chosen a product they really like, they are happy. If they have been strong-armed into buying, they pay begrudgingly.

I have developed a technique in retail, a very simple one. “Which do you prefer?” “What do you want?” “Do you travel often?” (I work in luggage). The trick is to personalise the sale. People liked being asked what they like, they like having things to choose from, they like talking about their personal lives.

Middle aged women, are very confident. Most of them stroll in pick up a suitcase, say thanks, and leave. Some, not many but some, will spend a good 45 minutes comparing four or five cases, walking them around, picking them up, opening them. Then they ask for my help. It’s usually, “you look about my daughters age” which I never am. I was eighteen when I got this job, and was usually thought of in my late twenties and engaged. I used it to my advantage: a woman thought I was about 28, as that’s how old her daughter was, and she was buying her a case for a wedding present.

Earlier in the day, I had been informed that a particular case was our best seller, due to it’s bright colours and leg-like appearance. So I used this, “Me and my husband got matching ones, because my favourite colour is blue, and he likes yellow, but we wanted the same case, so we got two of these large ones instead! And they’re on sale! Where are they going on their honeymoon? (woman answered “Hawaii”) Oh it’s lovely there this time of year, I went to Thailand for mine. Who are they flying with, as you have to be careful with weight…” and so on.

I didn’t lie to her exactly, a friend of mine had just got back from Hawaii, and said she loved it. Airlines are fussy about weights. Most couples do like different things from each other.

Telling people what they want to hear, makes them happy. If they are happy, they buy things.

So, to conclude, confidence in yourself equals confidence in life. Confidence in life means confidence in your work, and confidence in your work means more sales and happy customers.


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