Should You Try Mystery Shopping?

While companies have traditionally hired mystery shoppers to determine the effectiveness of a sales or promotional campaign or targeted product release, you can learn a lot more from mystery shopping than whether or not placing that ad during the Super Bowl was a good idea.

Mystery shopping, especially if done with video, can provide you insights on what skills (or liabilities) your entire sales team brings to bear when interacting with customers. 

In a video shop, the shopper will do more than follow a list of customized questions to measure the effectiveness of sales training and level of customer service; they will also provide you full access to the entirety of the sales process.  

How do you know if you need to skip the written shop and move into hiring a video mystery shopper? Here are three key insights you can gain from a video shop to which you might not otherwise have access: 

1. Capture the Nuances of the Sales Interaction


Video mystery shopping offers a “fly on the wall” perspective you can’t achieve with a written shop. You can see firsthand how your sales training is holding up in the real world. Are your team members following your salesmanship standards? Are they creating rapport with customers? What exactly does the face-to-face interaction between sales staff and customer look like? Video mystery shops can show you. 

2. Add a Powerful Training Mechanism to Your Tool Chest 

Not unlike a race car driver in training whose coach talks him or her through the entire series of laps around the track with the use of video taken while the student was in the driver’s seat, a video mystery shop enables sales managers to evaluate a team member’s performance (and coach him or her) step-by-step, as they can review the video together and readily see what went well and what didn’t.

3. Understand Your Competitors 

If you feel like you’re getting shown up by the competition, there could be a lot more going on than lower prices or tantalizing free product offers. Find out what that competing company’s sales team is doing that yours isn’t. A few video shops can be one of the quickest routes to observing a competitor’s sales team in action and observing the special sauce they use to get customers salivating and buying. Maybe they have a low pressure sales approach that helps relax customers, or maybe the sales team has a special method for getting clients to closing. Whatever it is, you can probably find it with a few video mystery shops. 

Before you take the leap into hiring a video mystery shop, however, perform some due diligence, and make sure you hire a professional. Video mystery shopping is a lot more difficult than doing a regular shop with a camera strapped on. Make sure the firm you hire to do the video mystery shop has substantial experience in this arena, so that you actually gain the added value of a video shop. 

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