Welcoming a customer, or the greeting as it is usually called is a very important step in the sales process. While I do believe you can overcome a poor greeting and still make a sale, that’s not the goal you are looking to achieve. You want to set yourself up for success from the beginning of the sale. Even though you can still make up ground and overcome a poor greeting, you will still pay for it in smaller gross profits, fewer sales volume, poor customer satisfaction scores, or all of the above. Clearly, you are aspiring to become a sales pro and have success in all those aspects of your career. So, let’s take a look at and break down how to welcome a customer like a pro!

Point #1 – Quick Attitude Check

Take a few seconds and get your mind right. Before you walk up to a customer and welcome them to your place of business, remind yourself that you are about to make a first impression with this person whom you want to buy your product or service. Shake off any personal things that may be bothering you. Stop thinking about the other customer you need to call back. Focus your attention on the person in front of you.

Point #2 – Never Pre Judge A Customer

Never, ever, judge a book by its cover. No matter what you think of the way someone looks or may act, never prejudge someone. People come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and attitudes. One thing I have learned over my 15 years in sales is that prejudging customers will cost you money and prevent you from becoming a true pro.

Point #3 – Remember To Smile

SMILE! That’s right, a smile goes a long way in sales. As you are walking up to introduce yourself to your customer remember to smile. Welcome the customer into your store, dealership, or wherever your interaction may be. Many times a simple smile can be all you need to get people to drop their walls of defense.

Pointer #4 – Introduce, Welcome, Then Transition

Introduce yourself, extend your hand, and ask their name in return. Seems pretty basic right? Well, even so, many salespeople do not do this simple gesture and it goes a long way. Introduce yourself by saying, “Welcome, my name is…” Extend your hand to shake theirs, and with a firm handshake follow up with, “and yours?”

Pointer #5 – Offer Information

Offer to give them what they came for, Information. Your customer has come to your place of business not for you but for the product you sell and information they need. Since they want information, offer it to them. This is a great way to immediately separate yourself from the competition that makes it hard for the customer to get the info they’re looking for.  It helps you to overcome their innate habit of saying something like “We are just looking” when they are obviously there for a reason. If you ask your customer at this point what brings them in, most likely the response will be “I’m just looking.” However, when you start with “What information can I provide for you today?” you get much more useful and less defensive responses from your customer. Try it!

Pointer #6 – Transition To What They Currently Own

Transition to what your customer currently owns. When the greeting is done well with skill, you make it easier for your customer to begin trusting you, and you are able to transition into the second step of the sales process where we find out about what your customer owns now.

Putting It All Together

Take a look at this basic sample greeting that I have put together for you. This would be a very effective greeting for a sales person who has to normally start the sales process cold. Say you sell automobiles or furniture. When someone is coming to you opposed to you going to them. Here’s how to welcome a customer step by step:

Me: “Welcome to ABC Motors, my name is Scott… and yours?”

Customer: “Hi, Thank you. My Name is John.”

Me: “Thanks for stopping by today John, what information can I provide for you?”

Customer: “Well, I want to take a look at the new Nissan 4×4.”

Me: “Excellent. We’ve had a lot of interest in the new Nissan 4×4. I’d be happy to show it to you and get you all the information you need about it, as well as any other trucks you’d like to look at. Let me ask you, John, do you have a Nissan 4×4 now?”

Customer: “No, I have a Chevy.”

As you can see this method of greeting works very well and is very simple for anyone new to sales to follow. The process is smooth and seamless and in most cases, your customer will naturally just go with the flow. Of course, always check with management wherever you are. But offering information up front will break down the wall of resistance so much faster than trying to hide things from people. People want information and if they know you’re willing to give it to them they are more likely to follow your process. Remember, the offer of information and actually giving information are two different things altogether.

Wrapping it all up!

So to recap, take a few seconds before welcoming your customer to get your mind right. Put a smile on your face, and be mindful of the moment. If you do this, you will usually succeed in making a good first impression on your customer. In today’s world of sales, it is very competitive. Margins are tighter than ever. You have to be great, not good at what you do in order to be massively successful and get results. If your sales process starts with you walking up to and welcoming your customer, remember these points and you will have more success.

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Robin · February 15, 2017 at 2:39 pm

This is a much needed page on sales proceedures. And I do believe a smile does indeed go a long way in getting that sale. A first impression if bad can really hurt. Also one thing you didnt mention is hounding a customer around the store is very bad. I hate that and will leave just to get away from an overly zealous salesman! This is a very good article that reminds us of how to score a sale! Thanks!

    Scott · February 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Thank you, Robin. I hate nothing more than a hounding salesman. But honestly, I hate anyone who hounds or nags, don’t we all? : ) Check back often!

Regina · January 19, 2017 at 10:44 pm

Awesome. Just the information I was looking for–you practice what you preach! If the customer still says “I’m just looking around,” do I politely leave him alone? As a consumer I’d prefer that. What do you do?

Because of your post I’ve been inspired for my online biz. I need to be more open to customer queries.

    Scott · January 20, 2017 at 6:41 am

    Thank you for the comment, Regina!

    Great question, and you will get a lot of people who respond with “I’m just looking.” The thing to remember is that we ALL have reactionary defense responses that we say at times when we don’t even really mean them. Example, have you ever been walking through a store looking for something specific and you don’t know where it is, a sales clerk comes over and ask you if you need help and you immediately respond this way saying, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Then you realize you do indeed need help and either ask that person or grab the next sales associate you see. Sometimes people respond this way and they don’t even know why it’s just a defense mechanism built into us when we get around sales people. I have found that starting your greeting the way I outlined in the post avoids this altogether by offering what the customer has come in for upfront, information! If they do respond with “I’m just looking” you can easily reply with “Great, I would be happy to get you information on anything you may be looking at today, what did you come in for today to just look at?” If the customer is persistent that they are indeed just looking, just let them look. You’ll have another chance to help once they realize it’s hard to just look when you need information and the best source of info is always going to be you!

    Hope that helps : )

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