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Selling luxury - how to satisfy luxury clientNew way of selling – empathetic selling for better/exclusive luxury shopping experience

  
In my first writing on selling luxury I have drafted the overview of luxury market today with its specificities and their impact on selling methods. Today, I would like to start a new topic: how the changing environment and consuming habits influence luxury selling.
This new way of selling brings into focus the client. More and more often, we use the term ‘experience’ when speaking about the sale. ‘Luxury shopping experience’ is the new service luxury retail brands, hotels, restaurants want to offer to attract and keep customers loyal.
To secure customer’s loyalty, we need to make sure they are satisfied with our service and offer. Generally, satisfied customers have a feeling of being listened to and getting what they came for. Only satisfied customer is willing to come back, unless we provide them something vital (and this is not the case of luxury world) and have no competition (luxury isn’t unique any longer). So, whatever product or ‘creation’ (more convenient term when speaking about luxury) or service we offer, we need to put customers’ satisfaction and their demand in the very first place. Otherwise, we will not see them back in our store / hotel / restaurant / company.
So how to satisfy luxury client?
It is all (or almost) about the empathy. And as far as empathetic selling concerns all the clients in the world, luxury or not, it is less obvious to be empathetic with the first group. The definition of empathetic approach in the sale is clear: ‘Put yourself in your client’s shoes’. But it is not that easy to put into practice.
Let’s imagine a small scenario: You are the salesperson at Hermes, Loro Piana or Chanel.
Your basic salary may cover two Hermes silk scarves, or one Loro Piana dress and not even a half of a Chanel jewel (the examples are randomly chosen from access or medium range products of these brands). Your perception of the value of things you sell has nothing to do with that of your client. And still you need to put yourself in your client’s shoes, think and perceive his way if you want to sell them things you cannot easily afford.
Some of the companies organise for their sales teams events aiming to plunge them in this luxury universe (polo games days, car racing weeks, galas, etc.). One of our clients even gives to his people possibility to win a holiday trip. More and more is done to make it easier for the salespeople to become empathetic with their customers.  Also, more and more consumption data is analysed in hope to better understand who are luxury clients today, how they behave and what they are looking for.  
Experiencing luxury lifestyle helps to understand luxury clients but needs to be associated with some knowledge. Thus, many brands ask us for training modules to help their salespeople get to know better the luxury universe. Since several years now, we have been developing training documents on luxury culture (http://www.espritdeluxe.com/18,Training.htm#luxury). It appears an efficient support for all initiative in the field of improving your teams’ competence.
Enriched with both knowledge and experience, the salesperson has a better insight when observing the client coming to their store, hotel or restaurant. They are more able to be empathetic with the client. They do not limit to ‘assessing client’s look’ but go beyond it, decoding more easily client’s behaviour and adapting their behaviour and proposal.
In following posts, we will analyse differences in clients’ behaviour according to their types. We will give some hints on how to engage conversation (and then sale) with each type.

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