If you have ever worked in a sales position, it is inevitable that you have found yourself in such a situation, and you understand how morale-sapping it can be.

A customer walks into the store, and in a bid to help them find what they are looking for and hopefully make a sale, you quickly approach them.

With a bright smile on your face, you politely greet the customer, “Good afternoon ma’am, how can I help you?” To your dismay, the customer deflects you offer to help and your hopes of making a sale with a mindless “I’m just looking.” With those three words, your morale and spirits take a nosedive. Your mind kicks of an internal monologue that goes something like this:

“Dammit! What the hell is wrong today? Is everyone coming to the store to just look? How am I supposed to make a sale if everyone is coming here to waste my time with no interest in buying?”

Well, that is a pretty good example of the most common reaction when a customer says they are just looking. When they hear these words, most sales people leave the customer alone and retreat to their spot, which unfortunately means they are not going to make the sale.

Clever sales people, on the other hand, are unfazed when a customer says they are just looking.

They handle the situation with tact and end up making a sale, despite the customer having stated they are just looking.

To be able to turn the ‘I’m just looking” to a sale, you first need to understand the hidden meaning behind the phrase.

WHAT DO CUSTOMERS MEAN BY “I’M JUST LOOKING?”

Contrary to what many sales people believe, the phrase “I’m just looking” is not a sales objection. It does not mean that the customer is not interested in buying. Instead, it is a deflection that which the customer uses as a polite way of saying they want to be left alone.

Many customers are very wary of sales people. They know that, given the time, a sales person whose only concern is making a sale can convince them to buy something they don’t even need, or something that is not right for them.

Therefore, they use the phrase “I’m not looking”, or its variants, “just killing time”, or “just browsing” to avoid a sales pitch. T

he customers know what they are looking for, they just don’t want someone trying to upsell them or recommend a different product.

In this case, insisting on giving your advice to the customer or pushing your store’s special sales will only annoy them, and they might even walk out and go shopping elsewhere.

Customers might also say they are ‘just looking’ because they don’t want to interact with anyone as they shop.

Sure, they might not know what exactly they want, but they want to figure things out for themselves rather than having someone guide them.

Having someone engage them as they figure things out and make their decision can feel like an intrusion.

Of course, sometimes a customer will say they are ‘just looking’ because that is what they are actually doing – just looking. But even in this case, this is a good sign. The fact that they are looking means that they are interested in buying. They might not buy today, but they will buy, eventually.

It means that they are trying to gather some more information about the product before making the buying decision, or they are trying to figure out the best place to buy it. If you handle them correctly, you can convince them to buy from you once they are ready to buy.

Next time a customer says they are just looking, no need to feel gloomy and start cursing the stars for sending you customers who are not interested in buying.

Instead, below are 10 brilliant responses you can use to handle the customer who is ‘just looking’ and hopefully make the sale.

1. Are you looking for anything in particular?

Instead of walking away once the customer says they are just looking, responding with this question gets the conversation started.

It also allows you to gather more information about the customer and the product they might be interested in.

If the customer responds to this question with a ‘no’, then it means they are really want to be left alone.

It also shows that they have no intention of buying at the moment.

A customer who is interested in buying something, on the other hand, will most likely respond by telling you what exactly they are looking for, which creates a chance for you to engage with them more deeply and show them the different types of that product that you have in stock.

For instance, here is how the conversation would go.

You: Good morning sir, welcome to our store. How may I help?

Customer: Thank you, but I’m just browsing.

You: Great! Are you looking for something in particular?

Customer: Yeah, I’m looking for a gift for my daughter’s birthday.

You: Ah, nice. Happy birthday to your daughter. How old is she?

Customer: She is turning five.

You: That’s great. We have a great collection of gifts that would be awesome for a five year old girl. Would you like me to show you?

Customer: Yeah, sure.

By asking the customer if they are looking for something in particular, you get a chance to engage the customer and eventually make the sale, even if they tried to brush you off earlier by saying they were just browsing.

2. Automatically agree with the customer.

Sometimes, it might be a great idea to leave the customer alone when they say they are just looking.

The best way of doing this is to agree with the customer and show them that you don’t consider them to be a nuisance even if they end up not buying.

This can be a huge draw to your customers and might contribute to them buying from you.

Before giving this response, it is best to read the customer’s body language to determine whether you should push it further or simply allow them to browse on their own.

If it looks like the customer knows what exactly they are looking for, it might be a good idea to leave them to look for it on their own.

Agreeing with the customer and leaving them alone is also a great option when they look preoccupied and might not welcome the intrusion.

Below is an example of how you can automatically agree with a customer in a casual and conversational manner:

You: Welcome to our store, sir. May I help you with anything?

Customer: No, thanks. Just looking.

You: Of course, I understand. I’m glad you decided to look at our store. 

3. Let me know what you are looking for so I can get more information for you.

I mentioned that one of the reasons a customer may be browsing through your store is that they might be gathering more information about a product before making the buying decision.

By offering to provide them with information about what they are looking for, it shows that you actually care about making the shopping process easier for them.

This makes the customer more willing to engage with you and opens up an opportunity for you to get the customer more interested in your products and hopefully convince them to buy.

Below is an example of how such a conversation might go.

You: Hello ma’am. Need help with anything?

Customer: Not really, I’m just looking.

You: I see. Let me know what you are looking for so I can get more information for you.

Customer: I actually wanted to know which is better between an electric and a gas powered lawn mower. 

You: Sure, let me get you a brochure showing the advantages and disadvantages of each and the most suitable use for each.

Customer: Okay, thanks.

In this example, the customer might have looked at all the lawn mowers but still leave the store without knowing which is best for them.

By offering to provide them with more information, you make it easier for them to compare the products and make a buying decision right there, instead of leaving them to make the decision later when they can purchase the product elsewhere.

4. Would you be interested seeing some pricing options for the product?

This question is a great way of separating tire kickers from serious customers. If a customer is not interested in seeing pricing options, this is a sign that they are not ready to buy, and it’s best to give them the time to look.

If, on the other hand, a customer says that they are ‘just looking’ but is still interested in seeing the pricing options, then this is a sign that they are at an advanced stage in their buyer’s journey and are almost making the decision to buy.

Asking this question can be a great way of separating the wheat from the chaff. Once you determine the serious customers, you can then put more focus in selling to them.

5. Offer to help in case they need you.

When some customers walk into a store, they want to be given the time to figure things out by themselves, with the option of asking for help in case they need it.

If you approach such a customer and they say they are just looking, it is good to let them know that you are available to help them if they require any assistance. Below is an example of how you can do this.

You: Good afternoon madam. Do you need any help?

Customer: No, thanks. I’m just killing time.

You: Of course, no problem. I’ll be right there in case you need me.

Customer: Sure, thanks!

Below is another example of how you can do this even more tactfully.

You: Welcome sir. Can I help you find anything?

Customer: No, thanks. I’m just looking.

You: Oh, sure, that’s fine. My name is Kelvin, just in case you need anything. I’ll pass by in a little bit in case you need any help.

Customer: Okay, thanks!

The best part about the second example is that it allows you to leave the customer alone to figure things out on their own, while at the same time giving you the chance to come back later and engage meaningfully with the customer.

Once you use this response, don’t forget to re-approach the customer after some time, since they will be expecting it.

There is no right time to re-approach the customer. It will depend on your ability to read the customer’s body language.

Once you re-approach them, don’t go in with a sales pitch or anything pushy. Instead, you should do what you promised to do, which is to check whether they need any assistance. You can easily do this by saying:

“Hey, just came back to see how you are doing.”

With this line, the customer won’t hesitate to let you know in case they have any questions or need any assistance.

6. Provide your contact information.

Remember, customers who are just looking might not be ready to buy at the moment, but they intend to buy later.

Providing them with your contact information allows you to establish a relationship and shows you are willing to help in case they need any further information.

Once they are ready to buy, they are also more likely to buy from you since they can easily get in touch with you. Below is an example of how to share your contact information with a customer who says he is just looking:

You: Hello sir, welcome to our dealership. What car are you interested in?

Customer: Thanks, but I’m just looking at the moment. 

You: Sure, you can look around, we have a nice collection of cars. Here’s my card, you can reach out in case you need any information or want to compare options.

Customer: Great, thanks a lot. I will definitely get in touch.

Once this customer is ready to commit, there is a high chance they will reach out and buy from you. If you simply left them alone once they said they were only looking, that would be a lost sale.

7. So, what features are you looking for?

This question is another great way of getting the customer to start talking about what exactly they want without sounding pushy.

It also helps you to determine whether the customer is ready to buy. If a customer is seriously considering buying something, they will have thought about what features they want or what they want to do with the product.

Therefore, when you ask what features they are looking for, they will probably mention some of the features they want, which creates an opportunity for you show them products with their preferred features and hopefully make a sale. It’s good to note that is tactic works only when you sell one specific kind of product.

For instance, if you sell vehicles only, both you and the client will be sure that you are talking about car features. But if you sell multiple products, it does not make sense to ask what features a customer is looking for when you don’t even know what product they are interested in.

If a customer is simply looking or killing time, they might not have thought about any specific features, so they might not have a very good answer to this question. However, don’t ignore a customer just because they don’t have a solid idea of what features they want.

Some clients might be interested in the product, but they might not have enough information about the product to know what features would suit them best. Before giving up on them, ask a few more questions to find out if the customer is seeking more information about the product or simply just looking.

Below is a great example of how to use this technique to handle a customer who is just looking at a car dealership.

You: Good morning sir. What brings you in today?

Customer: Good morning to you. Actually, I’m just looking.

You: Wonderful! So, what features are you looking for?

Customer: I’m looking for a spacious car since I have a big family. I would also like a vehicle with good fuel consumption for city driving.

You: Excellent. Have you considered the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen? It is very spacious, has above average cargo capacity and has a mileage of 25 miles per gallon in city conditions. I have a black and silver one over there, come check it out.

See how easily this tactic moves a customer from just looking to actually letting you show them something they might be interested in buying?

8. Follow up with a non-threatening question.

When a client says they are just looking, they probably don’t want to hear a sales pitch or to be pressured to buy. Therefore, when they say they are just looking, following it up with an innocent question that does not pressure them in any way. This could go like this:

You: Welcome to our store. How may I be of help?

Customer: Thanks. I’m just looking.

You: Fantastic. Have you shopped with us before?

Such a question lowers a customer’s defenses because you are not trying to sell them anything, and allows you to start a conversation. You can later steer them round to what you have on offer or find out what they are looking for.

For instance, if the customer says that they have shopped with you before, you can thank them for coming back and then mention what new offers you have.

If it’s the customer’s first time in your store, you can thank them for choosing your store and then give them a quick overview of what you sell.

9. Perhaps I could point you in the right direction if I know what you are looking for.

This is another way of gathering information from a customer. If you run a big store, it might be hard for them to find what they are looking for.

If the customer is looking for a particular product, they will most likely mention it, and you can then guide them to the right section and try engaging them in a conversation regarding the product.

If they reply with something like, “I’m okay, thanks!” then it means that they actually want to be left alone, so tell them where to find you in case they need assistance and then leave them to look by themselves.

10. Cheerfully begin assisting them right away.

If the customer is just looking, why not make the looking easier for them? Once they say they are just looking, encourage them to look and give them a lay of the land. As you do this, you should make sure you sound cheerful and sincere.

Below is an example of how to use this tactic.

You: Hello, welcome. What are you looking for today?

Customer: Thanks, but I’m just browsing.

You: Ah, that’s great. Feel free to look around. You will find the sedans in that section, the SUVs over there towards the right, the sports cars are over here, while you will find the wagons over there, towards the back. 

After giving the customer a description, how you proceed will depend on the customer’s reaction. If they simply thank you for giving them a lay of the land, it could be a sign that they want to be left alone.

Let them know where they will find you in case they need assistance and leave them to it. If they are interested in something in particular, they might ask you to show them where it is, which then creates a chance for you to start selling the product and hopefully make the sale.

WRAPPING UP

If you work in a sales role, it is inevitable that you will hear the phrase “I’m just looking” severally. However, there is no need to get demoralized by the phrase. Most times, customers throw out this phrase without even thinking about.

Armed with the right responses to the phrase, you can easily turn customers who are just looking into paying customers.

It’s also good to note that sometimes, the client really wants to be left alone, so you should learn how to read a customer’s body language and determine whether to continue engaging them or to leave them alone.

10 Brilliant Responses to the Customer Who is 'Just Looking'

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2 comments

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1

I disagree partially i a few places or at least I offer suggestions of additional things to consider. First, a visitor to a business may use "I'm just looking" simply because it is a casual standard phrase and the person has no knowledge of a more suitable phrase to communicate a specific intention. A person can have their own agenda or be highly somatically sensitive, or be internally processing in a special way and need to focus on that and maybe an interruption could distort whatever they needed to do, maybe they are there to gather intel for a project like a fictional story and they need something about the business for it, maybe the color scheme of certain products, or they have their own marketplace and wanted a different perspective, or something is personally amusing to them and they would feel uncomfortable sharing it, maybe they are conducting an experiment, maybe their aunt just died, in such cases they need space and their wishes respected, their composure will have the right shift and it will feel okay to talk to them at some point (if they stay long enough) and it can be helpful to break the ice with humor, making someone laugh takes them to their comfort level very well. Lastly, #5; this could be a personal gripe and I've not bothered to psychoanalyze it in me, but I feel grossly disturbed when someone does this to me and I hated doing it to customers when I worked in retail or other businesses. It's like the rep is giving a desperate beg of "please accept me" and in addition "I now create a platform so I get to be all up in your business figuratively which keeps you all up in mine literally" I hated saying a #5 line to someone because it felt disingenuous and as though I was projecting a lack mentality "I need this sale. I need this customer." It was only after I empowered myself to stop forcing phrases that I began really achieving more success. My projection was trending towards abundance "I do not need this particular sale or this particular customer to gain success in this industry. I need customers/sales and to help them to gain success in some area of their life."
You have a wonderful and exceptional site here and I'm sure you will continue to become more successful Haroshaya rabota!

2

Thank you so much for your thoughts. 🙂