Successfully Using Assumptive Language on the Sales Floor

“Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”  – Samuel Johnson

One of the differences between good and Extraordinary retail associates is that Extraordinary associates use assumptive language.  Extraordinary retail associates know that their store is full of wonderful products and that a customer who walks in the door is likely there to shop, not just kill a few minutes.  They’re not cocky or obnoxious or out to unload products on people who don’t need them, they’re confident.

Another difference between good and Extraordinary is the ability to help the customer visualize owning the product.  Visualizing helps the customer to make a purchase, which is one of our primary responsibilities.  And last but not least, it increases their conversion rate.

Here are some examples of how to use assumptive language.

Okay: All of our furniture is special order and takes eight weeks.
Good: If you see something you like we can order it.  It takes eight weeks.
Extraordinary: We’ll have your furniture delivered and set-up in just eight weeks.

Okay: You might checkout the new sundresses we just got in.
Good: One of these sundresses would be nice for your vacation.
Extraordinary: I have the perfect sundress for your trip to the Outer Banks. Which of these colors do you prefer?

Okay:  If you buy this necklace you might want to look at the matching earrings.
Good:  When you buy the necklace you might also want to consider the matching earrings.
Extraordinary:  When you buy the necklace you’re likely to want the matching earrings. Here, let me hold them up to your ear.

Okay: You might think about one of these mowers.
: I’d consider this mower or that mower.
Extraordinary: Based on what your needs are I recommend that you purchase one of these two mowers.

The stronger the connection you make with your customer, the easier it is to use assumptive language.  Maybe that’s another reason Extraordinary sales associate use assumptive language so often.

Here’s my challenge to you.  Listen to the language you and your colleagues are using with your customers and decide if your assumptive language is okay, good, or Extraordinary.

About the author: Doug Fleener is founder of the Dynamic Experiences Group. He is a veteran retailer with more than 25 years of hands-on retail experience with world-class retailers including Bose Corporation and The Sharper Image. He has also owned and operated his own specialty stores. His new book, The Profitable Retailer: 56 surprisingly simple and effective lessons to boost your sales and profits published by Acanthus Publishing.

Doug is now president and managing partner of Dynamic Experiences Group LLC, a Lexington based retail consulting firm dedicated to helping retailers create unique customer experiences that results in higher sales and profits.  Learn more at or call Doug at 866-535-6331.

Fleener also shares his knowledge of experience based retailing in a series of custom key notes and workshops designed for stores, businesses, corporations, non-profits, and trade associations of all sizes. His casual style and quick wit make him not just a crowd pleaser but also an incredible motivator, encouraging people to take action and deliver extraordinary experiences to customers and employees alike.  Learn more at

About the Author

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