How Do You Handle...

...that awkward silence during a phone shop when the sales associate is not doing their job? (I am trying to buy a phone from you Mr. Salesman, the ball is in your court, explain the phone to me!) But, instead, the sales associate just tells me something short like, "Yeah, uh, It has a good camera and the speakers are good".

I know I can't lead them on to make them really explain the phone in detail so, the conversation becomes extremely awkward and I end up just staring at the phone.

How do you handle this awkward silence? This has happened to me several times.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2018 03:03AM by ArkLaMissshopping.

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Waiting for more information is uncomfortable, sometimes. If nothing else, the associate provided a lead-in for more questions. How does this camera compare with the camera in the [whatever] phone? - I don't know about a good camera. I still use my big ol' camera, and it is difficult to switch without knowing more about the phone cameras.- Can I try the speakers? - Will these speakers ever go on sale? - Is the camera good enough to last if I accidentally drop it on a mountain trail when I am hiking? etc. Some sales persons don't issue an uninterrupted lecture; they will converse with customers. This is how they get cues and feedback from customers.

I neither like nor dislike my post. During a pothole encounter (I was the passenger and not driving), my finger hit the like button instead of the edit button. Oops.

And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.
- Roy Bean


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2018 01:41PM by Shop-et-al.
Thank you. I have asked questions (especially the required ones) and the answers are really short, and they don't lead to other conversations. The conversation just turns blank. What do you do when this happens? I want to say, "Okay, bye!" But, I don't because I am not sure what to do.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
No, no, no, no, no to what he or she said about leading questions. It is not our job to lead a sales associate. Yes, the silence is incredibly awkward. Try it on a video a shop. The standard is to express interest, allow the employee to close the sale, object, then allow another close before concluding the interaction. If the employee does not try to close the sale, most MSCs expect you to end the interaction. Unfortunately, that means allowing that silence to be sure you haven't cut them off too soon.

If anyone would care to argue the point, I have had more than one video shop with a sales associate who was a total dud. The total shop time was ten minutes or less, but I followed the rules. When ample time is given to ask for the sale and the employee does nothing, it is time to say "thanks, I'm going to think about it for awhile." I have also had shops where the employee was perfect and the entire interaction still only lasted 10 or 15 minutes. Sometimes they are that good. They make the presentation, ask for the sale and overcome the objection as if it is all scripted. Those are obviously my favoriteswinking smiley

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@ArkLaMissshopping

I've done a few phone shops..in my case it was for tires...

The person who did well took 3 minutes
and the person who didn't also took 3 minutes...

In my case...if there is an awkward silence I usually give them about 10 seconds and if they don't say anything more I will usually say ok,thanks for your time..in my opinion that gives them one more time to either go into more detail or choose to end the call..in most cases they choose to end the call..

Also all calls have been recorded..and I have been approved and paid for the calls no feedback on ending the phone calls the way I do.

Also in my opinion as someone who used to work retail..if a customer is in the store they are my number one priority and I'm wanting to get the person on the phone off the phone immediately especially if the store is super busy so I can help the customers actually in the store...

I aso don't think you complete a sale in someones mind over the phone who is interested in your product if they were considering purchasing a certain item anyway..

On the flipside...I can see how you could lose sales over the phone if it was a really bad phone call or you were super rude...

Ooops misread the question....ha...not sure what I would do in the store for this scenario..

@LisaSTL thanks

Thought about it more..I have done these in person phone shops and for most part..what I said before still stands..however I might indicate interest in the phone for example..in the case of great speakers I might respond with..oh will I be able to hear a podcast while I'm driving on the highway well? Something like that unless your scenario requires exact wording..that gives them a chance to either go into more detail and could lead to other phone specs or they might just answer yes..lol..if that is the case I might just say okay thanks I'm just going to look aound now and stay in the store for a few more minutes...they might try again and might realize oh I need to go into more detail..not always though..

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2018 04:58AM by dawnhu.
I could be wrong, but I think the OP was referring to shopping for a cell phone in person. While most of what you said still applies, the part about prioritizing a customer in the store would not.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I am 100 percent with Lisa. In my experience, with audio or video recorded shops, if the shopper were to provide leading questions when the SA went silent, the shopper would be reprimanded at best and not paid at worst. If that is what the client want (no helping the SA do their job) that holds when the shop is not recorded as well. When writing a report I say something like, "The SA just stopped after that. I waited to see if they resumed providing information or made a close. When they did not, I thanked them and ended the interaction."

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Thank you for clarifying that. Yes, I was talking about shopping a cell phone store. I've done tons of them, I think I've done every type of phone company and phone brand out there except for Cricket (and I want to do them) and sometimes the conversation ends and I can't lead them to providing me with more information. I'm stuck staring at a cellphone trying to figure out what to do. My question is how do you end the interaction without looking like a shopper? That awkward silence is horrible. A real customer wants to know everything they can about the phone and ask questions.

It's not really just all cell phones. I've run into this problem with tablets and other items.

@LisaSTL wrote:

I could be wrong, but I think the OP was referring to shopping for a cell phone in person. While most of what you said still applies, the part about prioritizing a customer in the store would not.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
It does not make you look like a shopper. If the SA is so dense, they are used to people just walking away. The shopper's job is to document that so that the SA can be spotted as someone who needs more training ! Also, tons of "customers" are really only killing time or window shopping and will not ask follow-up questions. It is easy to over-think things and conclude that you will be outed. Do what the client wants you to do; give the SA a lead and see if it is followed. If it is not, wait and then walk. Simple. Shoppers have been doing it that way for years and many have become "go-to" shoppers for doing so.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Good point!

@walesmaven wrote:

It does not make you look like a shopper. If the SA is so dense, they are used to people just walking away. The shopper's job is to document that so that the SA can be spotted as someone who needs more training ! Also, tons of "customers" are really only killing time or window shopping and will not ask follow-up questions. It is easy to over-think things and conclude that you will be outed. Do what the client wants you to do; give the SA a lead and see if it is followed. If it is not, wait and then walk. Simple. Shoppers have been doing it that way for years and many have become "go-to" shoppers for doing so.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes to this: a lead-in for more questions is not the same as leading with questions. I added a bit to my previous post regarding that.

It is our job to interact. It is not their job to stand and deliver. We get to ask some relevant and some mandated questions. Sometimes, the sales conversations flow. At other times, they are awkward- and lead to the OP's wonderment.


@LisaSTL wrote:

No, no, no, no, no to what he or she said about leading questions. It is not our job to lead a sales associate. Yes, the silence is incredibly awkward. Try it on a video a shop. The standard is to express interest, allow the employee to close the sale, object, then allow another close before concluding the interaction. If the employee does not try to close the sale, most MSCs expect you to end the interaction. Unfortunately, that means allowing that silence to be sure you haven't cut them off too soon.

If anyone would care to argue the point, I have had more than one video shop with a sales associate who was a total dud. The total shop time was ten minutes or less, but I followed the rules. When ample time is given to ask for the sale and the employee does nothing, it is time to say "thanks, I'm going to think about it for awhile." I have also had shops where the employee was perfect and the entire interaction still only lasted 10 or 15 minutes. Sometimes they are that good. They make the presentation, ask for the sale and overcome the objection as if it is all scripted. Those are obviously my favoriteswinking smiley

And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.
- Roy Bean
I hate the awkward silence, too. It is a necessary part of the job in many cases, and gets easier over time. One of the challenges for me and I'm sure others is to avoid leading questions while still appearing interested. Often I will say things suchs as, "Oh," "Really," "That sounds good," "Okay," "Sounds like something I could use," etc., depending on the guidlines of the MSC and shop. But in the end, if they don't do their job or hit a point, I give them the awkward silence and then move on.
Basically, that's about all there is to do. I had another one today; but worse. That's exactly what I did...

@mystery2me wrote:

I give them the awkward silence and then move on.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
@Shop-et-al wrote:

I added a bit to my previous post regarding that.

Yeah, don't tell me I'm wrong after you've tried to edit your original post three times and still didn't get it right.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@ArkLaMissshopping wrote:

...that awkward silence during a phone shop when the sales associate is not doing their job? (I am trying to buy a phone from you Mr. Salesman, the ball is in your court, explain the phone to me!) But, instead, the sales associate just tells me something short like, "Yeah, uh, It has a good camera and the speakers are good".

I know I can't lead them on to make them really explain the phone in detail so, the conversation becomes extremely awkward and I end up just staring at the phone.

How do you handle this awkward silence? This has happened to me several times.

Sounds like 90% of the cellphone shops I have done. I just wing it and get all the required questions I need to, in. Then report accordingly.
The awkward silence wouldn't be so bad if one of the shops didn't ask why the job took less than 15 min. I can usually drag things out 10-13 minutes but struggle to make 15 when the salesperson says practically nothing. Staring blankly at a handful of dummy phones glued to the display or under glass for 10 min. is about my limit.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/08/2018 06:24PM by wwin.
I had a cell phone/plan shop recently that was similar to the OP's. It was a pretty quick shop. When the report asked how I got in and out so quickly I just said the guy didn't want to engage and I didn't press it.

As a general thing, I dislike shops where the employee doesn't do his/her job. It generally makes it harder. I spent nearly an hour on a grocery shop that should have taken half that or less. It took that long just to catch up with employees who didn't run away at the sight of a customer heading their way. In 2 departments I never did get an interaction. Ten-foot pole list for that one now.

Shopping Florida's Space and Treasure Coasts.
My concern is that this MSC has a habit of purging seasoned shoppers without warning. I've been doing quite a few of these shops lately and don't want to find myself deactivated due to poor salespeople and my inability to stare blankly at a dead phone for 13 minutes.
If it is a live phone you can ask why they changed the way you edit pictures. Used to be you take a picture and you could immediately crop it and renamed the cropped picture to something that made sense to you. But no in the rush to make everything better they had to change it to where you cannot rename or crop pictures unless you exit out of the picture taking app and go to the Gallery or the Photo app. But you can add mouse ears and nose with no problem. Oh, wait they have no clue either so nevermind.
Whenever something becomes awkward, I just imagine them naked. Doesn’t help most of the time, but at least it gives me something to do...
Yes, things can get awkward but I just go with the flow. If the associate doesn't do their job well, that's on them. After giving a fair amount of time for them to do their job, I just try to move naturally on to the next part of the shop.
Okay now, Troy Hawkins! I will see this every time I do a shop now. OMG! How funny!

@TroyHawkins wrote:

Whenever something becomes awkward, I just imagine them naked. Doesn’t help most of the time, but at least it gives me something to do...

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
SIlence is actually a tactic. It is very uncomfortable. When I was in business sales, I found by being silent the customer would start asking questions indicating they were ready to buy.

But I think in most cases, salespeople have been trained to direct the call. If they believe they've answered all the questions, they should either be doing trial closes or set up an appointment. Owners don't want to leave money on the table and that conflicts with some salespeople who have determined that the customer is not likely to buy.

When this happens on the phone, try nodding your head 'yes.' As silly as that sounds, your body treats that as part of the conversation and it will be more comfortable. Then there always some non-committals: hmmm or "is that so," or "I see."

We don't know an owner is looking for. As a customer, I enjoy looking at things in the store by myself and asking questions when needed. But most shops want the salesperson in your face (nicely) within a few seconds. The owners know their business and what works best, and I'm probably in the minority. But there si a fine line between being helpful and stalking. winking smiley
And wwin, you might consider timing it. Include the silence. in your response. Give the target a chance to correct the error. Try a 'hmmm' or "hello?" It is possible that the phone system has problems. If you still get no response, you want to include the last bit of dialog end with something like, "After I responded there was an uncomfortable silence. After a full minute, I said "hello?" to see if anyone was listening. The response was disinterested, "I'm here." I thanked the person for their time sand and hung up.
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