Retail Sales Strategy | I’m Just Looking

sales strategyBy: Sean McPheat

If you work in the retail industry then this tip is just for you!

No doubt, if you have worked on the shop floor, hearing those three dreaded words “I’m Just Looking” have annoyed you, aggravated you and made you damn right angry at times.
Well, many customers will say this as a stimulus response to get you off their back and to give them a “breather” whether they are actually buying or not. Some customers will say it because your greeting is the 12th one they have heard that day and they are fed up with being approached by sales people.

No matter what their reasons are for saying it, just appreciated that it is an automatic response.
So how can you overcome the “I’m just looking” response?
Well, Here are two tips to help you.


Think about the most common greetings you say to your customers on a regular basis.
You might even find out that you use same greeting every time.
Well, if you are using common openings like “How may I help you?” or “Do you need any help?” you are leaving yourself wide open for a “I’m just looking” response

Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t use those openings but you should vary them throughout the day depending upon the circumstances and the customer. You really do need to make yourself different to the rest.

Just think about it – your customer may have been in 7 different shops before yours and has received the same opening from every sales person! They will be really wracked off if they hear “How can I help?” one more time!

Make yourself different from your competition. Make the customer say to themselves “That was different” or “That was not the norm”.

So what sort of greetings can you use?

Well, look at the circumstances in your shop and then tailor your approach.

For example, you are selling mobile phones and someone is looking at a top of the range brand new model – you could say something like “They make them more smaller and more stylish all of the time don’t they?” or “That’s a real stylish design isn’t it?”

If the customer is young, looks hip and trendy you could say something like “That’s a real cool design isn’t it?”. If the customer is wearing an expensive suit, looks business like and formal you could try “XYZ supplier keep on pushing the boundaries with their models – it looks amazing doesn’t it?”
Think about what you currently use today and then write down some openings that you could use in the future for different types of people and then use the circumstances in the shop to tailor them and adapt them accordingly


People buy from people that they know, like and trust.
By creating an opening based on humour you will break down some of the buying barriers that may already exist with your customer.
It is also a great way to build up some rapport right from the word go.
It will also be something that your competitors will most likely not have done so it will put you at a distinct advantage over them.

So how can you inject humour into your opening?

Well, there is a great opportunity to use humour when you get the “I’m just looking” response so you could actually set that up if you wanted to.

“Hi, can I help you with anything?”

“Oh, I’m just looking”

“That’s fine, please feel free as it’s the only thing that the Prime Minister has not managed to tax yet”


“Hi, how may I help you?”

“I’m just looking thanks”

“That’s fine, It’s a lot warmer in here than it is out there! When you see something that you like, look for me and I’ll let you know whether it qualifies for the special offers that we have go on today. Was there anything that you were looking for in particular?”

Creating an effective opening can make or break a sale and you need to practice what we preach, also when, for example, you are exhibiting at a conference or at a show.
You should challenge yourselves never to use the “How may I help you” “How can I help you” opening line.
If we do, we have to put a fiver into the kitty for the post-show beers!

I know those tips will help you to overcome the “I’m just looking response?” but remember they will only help you if you actually implement them.

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