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    The New Rules of Retail

    After a decidedly grim couple of months, it looks like there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel for retailers, reports Sales and Marketing Management. Despite the fact that retail sales are down a sobering 13 percent from where they were a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the numbers have jumped 0.2 percent since January.

    After a decidedly grim couple of months, it looks like there may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel for retailers, reports Sales and Marketing Management. Despite the fact that retail sales are down a sobering 13 percent from where they were a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the numbers have jumped 0.2 percent since January.

    But even if consumers are, in fact, starting to loosen their purse strings again, we’re still far removed from the purchase-happy days of yore. In other words, people are being much choosier about where they spend their dollars … and on what. Which mean the margin of error for your salespeople is pretty much nil.

    Steve Howard, president of Phoenix-based sales consulting firm the ACT Group, offers a list of sales practices that should be avoided like the plague in a recessionary economy:

    --Trying to “guess” how much money consumers have to spend
    --Asking canned questions or working from generic sales scripts
    --Offering limited choices or packages to consumers, thus ensuring they’re stuck paying for an unwanted feature or option
    --Aggressively trying to sell the consumer something they don’t want and/or can’t afford.

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