Home > Approach > How to combat ... Just Looking

How to combat ... Just Looking

I have listened to Joe Girard and Zig Ziglar's audio tapes yet i am trying to work out my initial ice breaker to a customer who comes in store.

I sell mobile phones for vodafone.
From what i have found is i get a lot of "just looking" even if i say how are you today.
What i am wanting to find out is if a customer says just looking what would you say to get there interest or to break the ice etc.
Cheers - by projectaero
The reason for the response could be many things ranging from a conditioned response to a defense mechanism. I guess until stores start charging just looking fees many consumers will use it as they see fit. I think that if I was in your position I would try to engage the potential customer enough to qualify the opportunity; maybe he/she is doing nothing more than killing time while his/her significant other is in the store next door. Engaging others in conversation is easiest when it centers on "them". You might have to be a bit creative; think on your feet. - by johnboy
Got to get your prospects excited and create an urge. - by Wonderboy
what i meant was this:

a customer comes into store and you say hi how are you today and they say "just looking"

this is a mobile phone retailer sales job that i do.
thanks - by projectaero
I've had those who say they're "just looking", then return later with others to make a group purchase.

I can often tell from tone of voice whether to proceed or attend to other customers. Are you experienced? - by Wonderboy
Its never an easy scenario, Primarily because the nature of most people (sales people included) is to be polite.

So instictively when someone says just looking we immediately feel we should just leave them be.

I am going to venture here to say something that is so basic, but amazingly many people never ask this follow up question.



lol, i guess in your industry the answer will be "for a phone"

then i suppose you might ask if they require a contract or pre paid!

Then you can ask them more exact requirements.

Bear in mind the main reason people say they are just looking, is because they feel if they seek help or assistance they personally will feel obliged to do business. - by adammead26
When I was selling toyotas I just loved this one! I would walk up and the first word out of their mouths were " I am just looking". I am sure other car salespeople can agree with me on this one.

They think it is a magic phrase they can use to keep you from pressuring them into buying. Some people do however, feel uncomfortable around people they don't know and want to look alone.

But usually they use this phrase as bullet to shoot you down, or at least try. But as soon as you walk away and respect their space they will find another salesperson, when they are ready to buy.

So what I did was say "Oh sure I understand, it's my job to be available if you have any questions or would like to have a closer look at something. Then immediately strike up a conversation based on something you notice about them.

Usually, this defuses them and they relax.

In a nutshell, they are saying don't pressure me! So you say,"I won't".
Hope this helps! - by staceylee
You're right on Stacylee. Basically, you're saying to first validate the prospect (to show you're listening), and then follow up with conversation.

A great way to start that conversation after a prospect says they're "just looking" (but after you validate them) is to say "So what is it you're just looking for today?" with a nice smile.

9 out of 10 prospects will happily answer your question, and then you're on your way. Once you get beyond that initial brief moment of feeling uncomfortable, these prospects will open up to you. One in ten prospects will be upset that you're doing your job.

The best to you! - by Skip Anderson
One thing you could say would be, "I understand, well, my name is XXXX and I know what specials are happening and would love to show you when you are ready. Is there anything particular you are looking for?"

1. Establishes common ground because I'm sure you really do understand.
2. Establishes a relationship, they know your name now (will they remember it? Probably not, but at least they "know you now.)
3. Establishes knowledge. How could they not want to hear about the specials?
4. A final open ended question for you to build upon. - by ScotS
Thanks for your response, ScotS.

My concern about "Is there anything particular you are looking for?" is as follows:

1. This question is overused so has been rendered substantially ineffective. Virtually everyone shopping in a retail store is looking for something "in particular", but the challenge is that they don't trust us (sales people) enough to tell us about it;


2. It's a closed question. Closed questions can be fatal when trying to foster conversation. It's just too easy for the prospect to say "no," and if that happens, you've lost your best opportunity for engagement.

In my experience, the best generic opening question for a retail sales scenario is, "What brings you in today?" When used after some initial sincere rapport-building chit-chat, this is--in my opinion--every retail salesperson's best opportunity for engaging their prospects when a generic opening question is called for.

The best to you! - by Skip Anderson
You are 100% correct. I wrote my questions wrong. Don't how I wrote a closed ended question...

I like your "what brings you in today" question. Very non-confrontational yet can yeild great answers.

Thanks for straightening me out Skip! - by ScotS
This is a smoke screen I see in my business all too well. I'm situated in a retail environment surrounded by four televisions with live feeds and a wealth of information and choices for a customer.

Often enough they will be helpful but the common ground between a helpful contact and a "just looking" is that they are needing something... what, well that's our job to figure out.

I've found my own tactic is to approach (as we all do) and greet. "How are you" or "What were you after" are the open kinds of questions I like to ask.

If they do throw up the smoke screen, I happily step back a moment, let them continue what they are doing and observe. I think 80% of a salesmen's job is listening. When an opportunity is presented, I'll use a follow up question. "Do you have a question about ____", "Do you know what you're looking for".

All you can do is offer a carrot to a horse and hope it bites. If it doesn't, I know they were a customer worth my time because they aren't in a buying state (or even close) nor am I convinced they want to buy my product. Your situation is a little different because you're in a saturated market and most or all people have phones.

Perhaps sell yourself more then you sell the phone? Sounds crazy but you can get a phone anywhere, you need to give them a reason to get it from you. - by MrCharisma
When you go into combat you should have mighty weapons, great strength, good intelligence and a killer instinct. Selling is Not War.

Selling much more closely resembles playing poker.
The first rule of poker professionals is:
"Only bet the high probability hands." That means you have to know how to recognize a hand that has a good probability of winning. It also means not trying to maximize every opportunity.

The second rule of poker is:
"If you don't improve a hand, fold it." That means that you should spend your time and resources where you will get the best total return on investment.

Pros win and amateurs talk about how to win as if they actually do.

Except in Texas Holdem poker, real pros seldom bluff. - by JacquesWerth
Selling much more closely resembles playing poker.

Except in Texas Holdem poker, real pros seldom bluff.
Your post contradicts itself and therefore doesn't make sense.

So which is it: Does "sales closely resemble poker" (where pros often bluff) or does sales not resemble poker because "real pros seldom bluff"?

By the way, why are all of your posts are always in all bold? Just curious. Perhaps you'd like to read...

"Designers will tell you that too much bold text or italic text is worse than none at all. Emphasize everything and you emphasize nothing..." at http://www.blinn.com/philosophy/Philosophy018.html

The best to you! - by Skip Anderson
You're right, the way I wrote the poker analogy is confusing.

I have never seen an analogy that works perfectly. However, the game theory of 7-card stud is very similar to the sales strategy of most top sales producers.

I thought it important to point out that pros seldom bluff in that game. The strategy of only betting the high probability hands, and folding hands that don't improve, pretty much negates the need to bluff.

Note: I did not post the above in bold print. Which did you read first? - by JacquesWerth
We've done a lot of retail training over the years & suggest a very quick 3 step process for this...
1) Respond positively - always say terrific! great! rahter than reacting with disappointment
2) Ask a non-threatening question to keep them engaged
3) Provide a 20 second edumercial - what should the customer kow to make shopping easier/better/more fun?
This whole process is fast, and should wind up with the customer trusting you and then sharing what they are truly looking for. Since you know - they know and just don't want to tell you! - by CourageCrafter
From a wannabe salesman and currently just a member of the public I often say "just looking". The times I dont is when someone comes up and pre-empts me by saying "hi, are you looking for something specific or just looking at the moment" Then follows it up with - "let me know if I can help" and walks a short distance away.

Maybe its not pushy enough to get as many sales I dont know but from a personal point of view it relaxes me and I am more likely to go and talk to the salesman after I have looked around. - by steve(notts)
In a nutshell, they are saying don't pressure me! So you say,"I won't".
Hope this helps!
I think this is right on target. Once you've established that you are not going to push I think you can offer some product knowledge like " I noticed you are looking at xxx - did you know it would do xxx". You establish yourself as knowledgeable so that when they are ready - they will come to the expert - you. - by waynelong
You do have to have some product knowledge before this will work. Concentrate on getting the product knowledge because this will give you confidence and the ability to draw clients to you. - by waynelong
Hi there,

"Just looking" means they feel like you are going to sell to them. There is some resistance to you.

Think to yourself - I am helping this prospect - not selling. It does come across in your tone. It is a "back-off" signal. So, make yourself more approachable and don't ask the question EVERY RETAILER ASKS: Can I help you? this is just leading the prospect into the answer!

Instead approach them with a simple Good-morning, how are you? With sincerity and interest. If they are looking at a paticular brand of phone, suggest some benefits that paticular phone has to offer. Lets say they are looking at Nokia's, simply say: "we have just got some great new Nokia phones in this week and you will be absolutely amazed at some of the features" If the prospect doesn't react negatively, you can simply show them the one you think would match the type of person (woman usually like fancy colours and flip phones while men like simple plain colours with more fancy features)
Remember to ask questions - constantly! Ask what type of phoen they currently have, whether they are into technology? how much they know? ask ask ask. THe more you know the more you can sell them!

Also, they wouldn't be in the store if there wasn't something they were interested in! Something made them think: I should walk into this store! Find out what it is and you will make a sale!

Let me know how you go!

Your sales angel

Melissa - by Sales Agent
I agree with the car sales response!

A good conversation usually goes:

Me: Good morning! Welcome to ____. How are you today?

Customer: I'm just looking.

Me: Great! Well you came to the right place. Since you're just looking, I'll show you where everything is. Over here are the ____, and just behind them is ____ which have been really popular. Have you seen the new ____? Are any of those what you're looking at today?

Chances are, you will have gotten them comfortable enough to give you some information about their motivations. - by jamesrobertstclair
Hi, Aero - Of course, you have to be sure you're greeting correctly, i.e., "Welcome in - I'm Aero - and you are? How may I be of assistance?"

"Aw, I'm just looking."

"Great! Who's the lucky one who gets the new phone? And what type of phone do you have now? And, what do you want to be different on your next one?"

Just a couple of questions like these will go a long way toward learning what is most important to your client AND in what direction to point them. Good luck!

Jon Q.
quadequick.com - by quadequick
I still use that response, but have modified it a little to be open ended.

"Just looking."

"Great I have plenty to look at, but what in particular were you looking for?"

the one I run into more often in my business (mobile tool sales) is customers who know they needed something, but can't remember what that was. Trying to jog their memory is a first class pain in the boo-tocks.

Pat - by toolguy_35
I agree, Pat. One of the best ways to overcome the "just looking" response when you get it is to say what you say.

I also like quadequick's handling of it in the previous post. - by Skip Anderson
One thing I've found works for me is to have a product in mind (preferably something new) and tell the "just looking" prospect about it.

In other words, after "I'm just looking", respond with, "Great! Say, have you seen the new XXXX? We just got it in this week!" It's a great conversation starter.

I think that would work great with something like your mobile products situation, where there's always some new gadget with new bells and whistles.

And try to get them excited about something. I've found that when people are excited about the product, your closing rate skyrockets. - by gregbair
And try to get them excited about something. I've found that when people are excited about the product, your closing rate skyrockets.[/quote]

I agree greg, and the best way to get your customers excited about your product is to be excited about it yourself. If you aren't passionate about what you sell how can you expect anyone else to be?

Pat - by toolguy_35
I'm in the furniture business and most all of our shoppers will say "just Lookin". Here's what I do.

Before they get a chance to say, "Just lookin" you should mention the phase first, "would you like to look around?" This gives the shopper a since of relief that it's okay to look. You could follow the phase up with a this or that question such as are you

looking to update your phone or is it just time for something new.

Nine times out of ten, they will answer that question and allow you to get things started. - by Sharon
Im just looking

Response: Awesome! Thats what I do here most the day as well, Look at phones. Allow me to show you the coolest new phone we have. This thing will Mow your lawn for you.... No im just kidding, but It will direct you to the nearest store to buy a new lawn mower!

Kinda what i used when i sold dodges. seems to get people talking, I always like to have fun when im with a customer, make a few tastefull jokes. But that is my personality, May not work for you. - by Jaron Watkins
Hi Stacy

Great answer to the question.As you point out its all about building rapport in a non aggressive way. If they are just looking. It must be for something!!

Always have a positive intention mentally of what you want to achieve. Also avoid the sales "pounce". Be mindful of your body language to. Don't get two close.!

Best Wishes

Sales Managers Coach - by SalesManagersCoach
Hi, a bunch of great responses here.
I've never been in retail sales, always B-2-B.
However, a colleague of mine always says, say something they can't say "no" to. Before someone can say anything to him he will approach with, "looking to make a good decision?" which he says is very hard to say "no" to. Alternatively, he might say, "looking to learn something? ". One of his classics is "I think you're in the wrong isle? All the quality stuff is over here and you look like you want to buy quality."
If the person gets in first and says, "just looking" he can adapt any of the responses above and tack it on, like, 'just looking...to learn something".
I have to admit this guy is more directive than I am, some would call that pushy but he does make a lot of sales.
Greg - by Greg Woodley
Prospect: I'm just looking.
Salesperson: Excellent. For personal use or business use?
Prospect will answer one or the other most of the time.

Once you get the answer:

Well, depending on your exact needs for (personal / business) I may be able to help point you in the right direction and save you alot of time in finding the right solutions, but I would need to ask you just a few quick questions first, would that be OK?

Prospect: Well, ok, sure.

Now you are in! - by sales buzz
First of all, I want to say, Skip is awesome!
I sell cars and so I hear this daily. I like to respond with something they are not expecting, like, "that's great, i'm just selling. what can i help you find today?" or "that's wonderful, did you know that everyone who bought a car from us last month started off just looking. what are you looking for?" or, i'll just ask them what they're driving and then ask questions based on their current car like, "were you looking for something similar or did you want to go with a completely different type of vehicle?" - by wesbound
The amount of "Just looking" responses you get would be in inverse proportion to the amount of quality approaches you initiate.

You combat "Just looking" by exterminating it with a professional, sincere, warm, and welcoming greeting.

Some of the top retail people I have ever experienced opened with "Hello". If you can develop the ability to look at a person and show interest in the person rather than interest in making a sale, you are ahead of the majority. - by Ace Coldiron
Maybe ask... what brings you in today? If the answer is just looking or just burning some time, you might ask.... what could happen while you were here that, when you left, you would say... I am really glad I stopped in that store today? - by jdedwa11
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