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My Opinion: How to Use Questions to Guarantee a Sale

Maria Musgrove of Pantiles Bride explains how to angle your pitch perfectly to guarantee a sale

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Bride in a bridalwear shop
Bride in a bridalwear shop

‘Buying today?’ ‘Budget?’ ‘Brought the credit card?’ As much as we’d love to ask these questions, they’re more likely to result in a one-star review (read how to deal with a negative review of your business here) than a relaxed and ready-to-buy bride.

Equally ineffective is the inane chat common at the hairdressers about the weather – which will put brides at ease, but won’t help get the sale.

The challenge is to make every question count, without your bride thinking she’s wandered on to the set of Homeland and is being interrogated Carrie vs. Brody style on a matter of national security.

My training course is about developing your sales talk and minimising your sales chatter, unless it elicits key information that moves along the appointment.

Make every question count so that you clinch the sale. In his book ‘Secrets of Question Based Selling’, Tom Freese says: “The questions you ask are more important than the things you could ever say.” Many brides bring their whole congregation with them so my first question is ‘So, where is my bride-to-be?’

Don’t think that’s too basic – you don’t want to risk the embarrassment of identifying the older person in the group as mum when she’s actually the bride. It also shows that she’s special and not just your 2pm appointment.

Next, you should ask ‘Who is here to help you find your dress?’ Find out the names of the bride’s guests and use them as it’s equally important to create a relationship with the entourage as well as with the bride. I once sold a dress purely because the group were so impressed that I had taken the time to ask their names.

‘It looks like we have everyone present to help you find your perfect dress, haven’t we?’ This plants the idea that she could be buying today and teases out if any key person is missing. If she has to bring back her great aunt once removed or a best friend she hasn’t seen since primary school, you could respond later in the appointment with ‘Do you need her approval or do you just want her to see the dress? You could always bring her in at your accessory appointment.’

To find out where she is at in her search for the dress, ask ‘What have you done so far to find your gown?’ This is less interrogatory than ‘What other shops have you been to?’ If she reveals she has been to other boutiques, follow up with ‘How did you get on?’ This can tease out if she’s nervous, had the hard sell from other shops, is confused etc. and can be a great guide as to how to conduct the appointment and win her over.

‘Did you have a favourite?’ If yes, ask about it and hope that she whips out a photo on her phone, or get the dress up on your computer and find out how much she likes it. Follow up with ‘Since you are here with me, it means that you still have some doubts about that dress.’ This can help create more doubt about that gown or give you an insight into how much she likes it.

Whether it’s her first visit anywhere or she’s confused, ask ‘What’s your bridal style and where’s your venue?’ Notice if any of the members of her group start chipping in or if she defers to any of them as this can indicate who is in control.

If she’s finding it hard to answer, take control and say ‘My job is to help you find your style and your job is to relax and enjoy yourself.’ She should now be at ease, you should have all the information you need to help her find ‘the one’ and all you have to do is persuade her to buy it…

If you want to find out more about Maria’s techniques, check out bridalsalestraining.com for more information. If you want more opinions, why not read about how one boutique has banned photography and thinks you should too. You can also read more from Maria in Bridal Buyer magazine - check out the digital edition here.

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