A Sunglasses Saga: Navigating the Sales Process to Find the Perfect Pair

I recently embarked on a mission—one that would put even the most patient shop assistants to the test. My goal? To find the perfect pair of sunglasses. Aaaagh!

Now, I must confess, I'm a rather fussy shopper. I usually have a vague idea of what I don’t want, but articulating what I do want can be a challenge. My shopping behaviour includes visiting multiple stores, comparing options, becoming overwhelmed and inevitably, leaving without the product I came for and feeling very disappointed. In short, I’m a bit of a nightmare. And what makes this so much worse is I work for RedSeed - a retail training company - could this get any more terrifying for someone trying to sell me something?

This particular shopping journey, however, turned out to be surprisingly positive, thanks to an exceptional sales assistant who skillfully navigated the sales process with me. Let me walk you through the steps that transformed my sunglass mission into a success story.

Upon entering the first store, I was greeted with a warmth that felt genuine. The sales assistant struck the perfect balance, offering just the right amount of engagement for a customer like me. She recognised, probably by observing my body language and receiving my short, one-word responses, that I’m not into small talk, and I certainly see through those off-the-cuff questions like “Are you having a good day?” or “Have you had a busy day?” When I hear those questions, my first thought is, “Do you really want to know that answer, or are you stuck for a way to connect with me?" Yep - told you, I am a bit of a nightmare!

Anyway, this sales assistant was quite the opposite. She saw me lurking inconspicuously in the doorway (because my typical default is to send off the “Don’t bother me!” signals), and she said, “Hi, come on in! I’m guessing you’re on the hunt for some sunnies! How can I help you today?” Nice! She sounded genuine. So, I felt more inclined to talk to her!

And then, she took the time to understand what I was after—my preferences, activities, and past choices in eyewear. Together, we talked through what I liked and didn’t like about various sunglass styles, right down to, “Do I like glitzy, sparkly bits, or am I a plainer type of person?” For me - definitely the latter!

This initial conversation not only broke the ice but also established a connection, which 100% set the tone for a personalised shopping experience. And it was instrumental in transforming my vague desires into concrete preferences.

Armed with insights into my preferences, she grabbed a selection of sunglasses; enough to give me plenty of choice but not too many to be overwhelming. And then what followed saw me trying on pairs, seeking feedback, and, with her assistance, swiftly categorising them into yes, no, and maybe piles. This hands-on approach made the selection process engaging and enjoyable.

As a notoriously picky and indecisive shopper, I expected to find flaws or reasons to dismiss each pair. You know, things like polarised versus not polarised, bendy frames versus non-bendy frames, frame shape and, of course, price! Surprisingly, the sales assistant skillfully addressed any concerns that I threw her way, showcasing a deep understanding of the products and effectively handling any objections I had! She also went that extra mile, suggesting additional options that matched my style. This step demonstrated initiative and a commitment to exceeding customer expectations.

Now, as someone who writes sales training, in my head I was ticking off the sales process steps as she demonstrated them.

  1. Welcome me into the store in a non-business way.
    Well, she did say, “I’m guessing you’re on the hunt for some sunnies, how can I help you today?” Technically, that was a business-related welcome, but hey - I was in a sunglass store, so it would have been weird to say something like, “So, what brings you in-store today?" So, tick!
  2. Find out my needs: tick.
  3. Demonstrate the product: tick.
  4. Handle my objections: tick.
  5. Adding on to my sale: Hmmmm, I wonder how she’ll do that?

I asked myself, “How on earth can you add on to a pair of sunglasses when all you sell is sunglasses?” and then she said, “Hey, look, we have a warranty option ….“
Adding on to my sale: tick!

And to totally clinch that sale she went on to say,  "I’ll fit these for you today, and of course, if you ever need them refitted again in the future, just pop into any of our stores, and one of our team will sort you out!” That was it. Closing and confirming the sale: tick!

Before I knew it, I was handing over my card and paying for those sunnies. The sales assistant's attentive listening and proactive recommendations led to a seamless closing of the sale. I couldn't find a reason not to love the chosen pair—they met all my requirements and more.

And not once did I consider saying, “Thanks, I’ll think about it” and scoot out of that store to scope out the competition’s offerings! I’d successfully chosen a stylish pair of sunglasses that met all my needs and had an incredibly satisfying shopping experience that exceeded my expectations, so, why would I look elsewhere?

What were my takeaways from this? Well, I knew this business was a client of RedSeed and used our sales training to equip their team with the skills they need to provide exceptional sales service to their customers. So, as a developer of training (particularly in the retail space), it showed me that our content supports people to become exceptional! And with the right approach to the sales process, even the most challenging customers, like me, can be won over. It's a reminder that genuine engagement, active listening, and a personalised approach can turn a potential nightmare into a delighted and loyal customer, who will most definitely be recommending that store to all who will listen! So, here's to the sales assistant who turned my sunglass shopping woes into a success story!

And, if you’re wondering, yes, I did eventually tell her I was from RedSeed (the poor girl looked like she was about to faint!) I then told her how amazing she was at her job, and I followed that up by emailing the owner of the business and sharing my experience. I love sharing good news!

Published by:
Karen Gowans
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