On Data: Customer Outreach You Can Do Now

ColumnistsDec 08, 2020

On Data: Customer Outreach You Can Do Now

It’s not too late to call your best customers and find out who they still need to shop for this holiday season, Sherry Smith writes.

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at
Is it too late to implement initiatives that can help you this month? Absolutely not.

The primary focus of our conversations with our retailers in December is driving sales.

Those conversations are even more critical this year with COVID-19 numbers surging and some customers reluctant to venture into retail stores.

We encourage our retailers to implement specific client outreach strategies. That means getting actionable information into the hands of salespeople and setting clear daily targets.

According to consulting firm BRP, three-fourths of shoppers say personalized service is a significant factor in helping them decide where to shop.

I also recently read that 47 percent of women would like jewelry for Christmas
Leveraging your relationships by offering private appointments, either virtually or in person, as well as finding cross-selling and upselling opportunities should be a top priority now.

I spoke to one of my retail clients last week to check on her progress from a recent conversation we’d had about her client outreach. 

She shared with me that she and her team had started reaching out and one such call resulted in a $70,000 purchase. 

Yet another retailer shared with me that their clienteling efforts resulted in $20,000 and $30,000 sales.

If you have a robust outreach strategy, you won’t be surprised at successes like these. If you do not, know that these kinds of results are not unusual. 

Research shows that you have a 70 to 90 percent likelihood of selling an existing customer and they spend, on average, 33 percent more than a new customer. 

What we cannot afford to do is to deploy hope as a strategy. We need to get out of our comfort zones and make the calls.

“When people are in shopping mode, they’re more inclined to continue purchasing. Let them know you want to make their holiday shopping as easy and safe as possible.”
 There are many reasons why your team might not want to call customers. 

They might, for example, see unsolicited outreach as an invasion of the customer’s privacy, they might not know what to say, or they might fear the rejection that invariably comes with prospecting, even among qualified customers. 

What should your salespeople say when they call? That depends on the extent of their relationship with each customer, but if we assume there is a relationship, here are four ideas. 

(Note: Your salespeople should always prepare by researching the customer’s profile 
in advance, their purchasing history, potential wish lists, etc.)

1) I know you’re probably crazy busy and I won’t keep you, but I wanted to let you know that we’re currently helping our customers remove some of the stress of shopping in these uncertain times by providing a few options to take care of your shopping needs. We’re offering curbside pickup, in-home delivery, or in-store appointments.

2) I’ll be as brief as possible, but I wanted to remind you that we are continuing to offer virtual appointments, curbside delivery, or can ship directly to your home to help keep you safe this holiday season.

3) I’m not going to take up too much of your time. I know your wife likes Brand A. We just received their newest pieces and it made me think of you. I’ve selected a few items that would go nicely with her collection. I’m happy to show them to you via a Zoom call, or we can schedule a private appointment.

4) I want to help make your holiday shopping as easy and safe as possible, so I selected several items that would complement the beautiful (ring, pendant, bracelet) you gave her last year. I know she would just love it.

These are suggestions and should be modified to align with your personality and style.

Remind the customers that the whole process can be done over the phone and that you’re happy to store their purchase in the vault until they’re ready for curbside delivery or that you’re happy to ship it directly to them.

And don’t stop there.

If they opt to make a purchase, be sure to ask them who else is on their holiday shopping list. Most people have more than one person to shop for and this is a great opportunity for add-on sales.

When people are in shopping mode, they’re more inclined to continue purchasing. Let them know you want to make their holiday shopping as easy and safe as possible.

If this is your first time implementing clienteling calls, I suggest the following.

Give each salesperson a list of their top customers.

2) Have a short morning huddle to set their daily target of phone calls.

3) Have a short evening huddle to discuss the outcome.

4) Confirm that they made their number of calls. If not, what got in the way?

5) Review their successes.

6) Discuss their challenges.

7) Repeat.

Although this might seem oversimplified, it is highly effective.

Be safe and happy selling!
Sherry Smithis director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy.

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