I had a masterclass in selling when my wife and I visited Ellie Dickins Shoes in Hungerford.

The sales performance, given by Leslie was superb. Of course, she has nearly 15 years’ experience of working in the shop, but the most significant factor that underpins her ability is the training that she and the other employees have received.

The key suppliers to the business provide a high level of training to the people that sell their shoes and it is this high level of product knowledge that enables Leslie to match her customers’ needs to the products that they stock.

Here is her eight-step strategy:

leslie dickensStep one: Information collection. Listen to the customer: give them time to fully explain what their needs are and what they may want to buy.

Step two: Ask questions that will gain more information to help select the correct products to offer the customer.

Step three: Select products that meet the customer’s needs.

Step four: Allow the customer time to consider if the product meets their needs.

Step five: Repeat steps two, three and four as required ensuring that the customer is given enough time to make a balanced decision.

Step six: Close the sale, help the customer come to a buying decision.

Step seven: Offer reassurance. Leslie told my wife to wear the shoes for a few days around the house and come back if she has any problems.

Step eight: “Thank you and see you again”

It really was brilliant to see her in action and my wife came away with two pairs of shoes and a third pair on order.

Convenience stores and newsagents do have categories that demand higher levels of knowledge and selling skills to make the most of the opportunities that are offered. Magazines, groceries, greetings cards or alcohol for instance all offer selling opportunities for knowledgeable and confident retailers and their employees.

How does your business preform?

Understanding the steps of a sale will help grow sales.