Is “I’m Just Looking” An Objection In Retail?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Sale, fashion, consumerism and people concept

It is incredible that three mere words from a total stranger will often create fear, frustration and feebleness in some of the most experienced sales people.

The extremely common response of “I’M JUST LOOKING,” from a prospective customer, actually causes some retail sales reps to walk away and WAIT for the prospect to convert him or herself into a buyer.

Is it an Objection?
However, if you think about it, the term, “I’m just looking,” is not an objection. It is also not a stall.  Actually…

“I’m just looking,” is a literal and logical fact that is a clear and decisive step in the sales process.

This step in the sales process also is a good thing for the sales person.

The fact is that people do not LOOK at things they do not like or want. When was the last time you got up and went out to a new car dealership just to look at some cars when you had absolutely no intention of ever buying a new car? If you have went out and looked at some new cars, it is only because you had some desire to eventually purchase a new car.

Even the preverbal window-shopper still has a purchase in the back of their mind, even if that purchase, at the time, is not much more than a dream or a wish. When a prospect says that he or she is just looking, they are telling you that they are looking for something that they desire; something that they want or need.

Instead of assuming that the “I’m just looking,” prospect is not a buyer; assume the opposite.

When a prospect says, “I’m just looking…” understand that
1. The prospect has the purchase of something in mind
2. The prospect may not yet have a set budget for the item or even believe they can afford it
3. The prospect may not yet have a time frame in mind or believe the purchase is even possible.

If you just look at those three points, you will note that they consist of the things you are supposed to do as a professional sales person; and that is to HELP the prospect.

Help the Prospect
Look at the above three points.

#1 – The prospect has the purchase of something in mind
Is it not your job to HELP people get what they want and need?

#2 – The prospect may not have yet a set budget for the item or even believe they can afford it
Is it not your job to HELP the prospect understand the VALUE of the item or service, and how they can afford it?

#3 – The prospect may not yet have a time frame in mind or believe the purchase is even possible
Is it not your job to HELP the buyer understand the urgency, and how and why they need to act quickly?


Instead of…

Sales Person: “Hello, Mrs Looker, how may I help you today?”

Prospect: “No, thank you. I’m just looking.”


Sales Person: “Hello, Mrs Looker and welcome to Heavenly Jewelers. Is there something specific you would like to LOOK at, or you or would you rather just LOOK around?”

(This instantly prevents a DEFENSIVE response from the prospect in regards to just looking.)

Prospect: “Ah, yeah, I’d like to just look around for a while.”

Sales Person: “Excellent! Thank you for choosing Heavenly Jewelers to look around. We encourage people to look as we have the finest collection of jewelry in the area to look at. Please look all you wish.”

(You have avoided defenses and stayed on the same side as the prospect. A little later…)

Sales Person: Is there any particular occasion you are looking around for? I mean, we have special collections with designs specific for certain occasions. Perhaps I can point you to one of those collections where you will have a lot more suitable items and you can take your time and look around there…”

Prospect: “Well…I was thinking of looking at something that I might use for a gift for my granddaughter’s graduation…just thinking about it though.”

Sales Person: “I understand. Take a look in this area…we have many gift items and you won’t waste your time looking at wedding rings and things for which you have no interest…”

Help the looker and remember that most lookers are buyers until a sales person insist that they are not.

Are you looking for retail sales training?

If you want to improve your customer service and selling skills then we have a number of different Retail Sales Training options available to you. These include training for area managers, store managers and sales executives. They can also include train the trainer options if you have a workforce of hundreds or thousands of retail staff.

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 5 September, 2012

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