Australian retailers miss out on $1 billion through poor sales skills

A mystery shopper survey has highlighted a major problem in the Australian retail sector, uncovering that due to poor sales skills, over $1 billion in sales have walked out the door.

These findings have come from a recent survey carried out by performance improvement company, Grass Roots Group, the statistics have shown that many salespeople are lacking the basic, fundamental skill of selling.

The survey is called ‘Are you Being Sold’ and comprised 1,400 mystery shoppers visiting consumer electronics and IT retailers in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

The main purpose of the survey was to highlight how effective salespeople are in selling certain products to shoppers, the findings were quite alarming.

The results showed that 30 per cent of salespeople did not attempt to close the sale, 77 per cent did not attempt to cross-sell complementary products and 20 per cent of customers were not even approached by sales staff at all.

Steve Hibberd, regional director Asia for Grass Roots Group, commented on how these results should ring some alarm bells for retailers.

“What we are seeing is a lack in fundamental sales skills that is resulting in millions of dollars of lost sales,” he said.

“For many brands, the retail environment represents the missing link in the sales cycle. In a lot of cases, the sale is won or lost in the last three feet where, generally speaking, brands have little ability to influence the outcome.”

Hibberd commented that this result is concerning for both suppliers and retailers.

“As much as I’d be concerned if I were Canon, LG or Sony, I’d probably be a lot more concerned if I were one of the major electronics retailers,” he said.

“Millions of dollars are literally walking out of their stores due to the lack of some really basic sales skills.  Even in a fast food restaurant I get asked if I want fries, but these relatively big ticket sales aren’t attracting anywhere near the same level of discipline.”

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