The Four Points of Every Sale


Many of us often wonder why the “other guy” gets the sale. In today’s high volume, price oriented consumer driven market; we tend to forget the basics of selling. Sometimes we wrongfully assume that every customer knows exactly what he or she wants and needs. We also erroneously feel that most of our customers are only looking for the lowest price. When asked, most retail salespeople will state that their competition is “same industry” retail outlets.

The real competition is . . . . .?

EVERYBODY!!!

Anyone who has goods and/or services to trade (sell) is absolutely in competition with us!

Tere is a provable postulate stated in just about every economics and marketing book called OPPORTUNITY COST. This is a law that we deal with daily, but really sometimes ignore during a sale. Your grandparents might have referred to it as “YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO”. This law simply states that if an individual or company spends one specific unit of their trading power on item x, they absolutely can NOT spend the same unit on item y. WHAT IS TRADING POWER? It can be cash, checks, or immediately available credit line. At any given time every individual, or individual company (corporation) has a definable amount of trading power.

More often than not we are mostly concerned with other music stores. We view them as our competition. Well . . . . .they are really only a very small part of our real competition. If the computer, motorcycle, consumer electronics, automobile, furniture, appliance, “and the list goes on” salesperson does a better job of convincing a potential music industry customer to trade and closes the sale, at least for the time being, WE LOST!

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

We first need to understand what takes place in every sale (trade) so we can then develop strategies and procedures for success. The following four stages always occur to some degree every time someone buys something.

POINT ONE - THE INTEREST PHASE

This is something that initiates thought by a consumer relating to a product or group of products. It can be a display, advertisement, TV program, or maybe just a comment by an acquaintance. As professional salespeople, we can stimulate interest by mentioning “new” products, creatively displaying our products, and utilizing “point of purchase” or “product presentation” materials available to us.

POINT TWO - THE QUALIFICATION PHASE

This is basically the customer’s turn to talk and our chance to learn. Listening is the key to this part of the sale. There is an old country adage that proves to be absolutely true during this part of a sale (trade): YOU CAN’T LEARN A DARN THING WHEN YOUR MOUTH IS OPEN! The only time we should speak during this phase is to ask questions, whose answers will give us the necessary information to best help our client. At the end of this phase we should have the answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the customer’s idea of the products which best satisfy his perceived needs and wants?
  2. What is the amount of trading power he wants to utilize?
  3. What isWhat is the customer’s idea of the products which best satisfy his perceived the amount of trading power he has available?
  4. Who or what are we competing against? (Don’t forget “outside” opportunity costs)

POINT THREE - PRODUCT PRESENTATION/ CASE BUILDING

This is when you can “tell your side of the story”. Now it is your turn to present the features of the product or products you feel best match up to the customer’s needs, wants, and ability to buy. At this point we must, as professionals, demonstrate enthusiasm for our products, and thoroughly present them as viable answers to the customers stated and implied needs and wants.

WARNING! REMEMBER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AVERAGE PERSON AND A PROFESSIONAL SALESPERSON. One way to do this is to consider a parallel comparison; THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AVERAGE PERSON AND A PROFESSIONAL COMEDIAN. When an average person tells a new joke for the first time, he enjoys the joke along with his listener. As he tells the joke over and over to different people, somehow the joke loses it’s humor and eventually he will stop telling it.

A professional comedian will instead, refine the structure and timing of the story so the hundredth telling will seem much funnier than the first time he presented the joke. THE SAME CONCEPT IS MANDATORY FOR THE PROFESSIONAL SALESPERSON! Just because you’ve heard yourself present a particular product many times, please remember that this is brand new information for your client. As professionals we should always strive to refine our presentations and maintain our enthusiasm for the products we offer.

FEATURE SELLING AND THE 30 SECOND RULE

Many sales trainers feel that the average person has been conditioned by media to accept information in 30 second segments. Try to keep your initial product presentation within this time frame. As soon as your customer reacts, (asks a question, looks confused, etc.) you have another 30 second time frame to work with. If your client shows no reaction ask him a question. This technique helps prevent “sermonizing” and also encourages participation and interaction for both parties.

Your United Sales Associates representative will do his best to provide you with product information specific to his product lines. This will, in turn, give you the appropriate selling features for a specific product or group of products. It is difficult for anyone to remember every feature for every product, however, you should be able to recall and present at least five features during your initial product presentation.

“COMPLETING THE SENTENCE”

While you are presenting features watch for and/or listen for reactions from your client. Many times he will let you know when he is unsure or confused. This is when you must “complete the sentence” by explaining the relating advantage and benefit a specific features offers. Here is an example: The DM10 has a bound fingerboard, which gives the guitar’s neck a more comfortable feel and ads value to the instrument (it costs more to add the binding).

FEATURE SELLING IS MERELY GIVING THE CONSUMER REAL INFORMATION TO CONSIDER WHEN CONTEMPLATING A TRADE. FEATURE SELLING MOST IMPORTANTLY DILUTES THE “PRICE ONLY” MENTALITY WHICH PERVADES THE MARKETPLACE AND ENCOURAGES INTELLIGENT DECISION-MAKING.

POINT FOUR - CLOSING THE SALE

This is the final segment of a trade. Many volumes have been written about closing a sale. It really just comes down to asking the client to commit to the trade. Closing doesn’t have to be accomplished with trickery or baloney. One important factor to remember is once you ask for a decision, don’t say a word until your client answers with a yes or a question. This is generally the point of a sale when you may have to restate the features and relating benefits of particular models and/or brands, so be prepared. Don’t be afraid to refer to your sales and product manuals! If you don’t know, say so and then look it up.

IF THERE IS A FIFTH POINT OF A SALE, IT SHOULD BE CALLED THE CONGRATULATORY PHASE. Everyone wants to feel that he traded wisely. You and the client worked together to find the right product for his or her needs and wants. It is always a good practice to reassure your client of his positive decision to trade. Emphasize the value and benefits that he will enjoy.

I sincerely hope that this article proves to be of some positive use to you. Please let us know how the United Sales Associates team can be of further help to you in your sales efforts. GOOD SELLING!

Contributed by the late Jim Matthews of JCBE Marketing - Greencastle, IN.

8/08/2003
USA REPS and Tacoma Guitar Company to part ways effective September 1, 2003.

8/01/2003
B-Band Ltd. Appoints United Sales Associates representatives for the Southeastern USA.

7/17/2003
USA REPS is awarded The Presidents Award from Audio Techinca for outstanding commitment and dedication.

Ed and Wendel accept the Presidents Award from Philip Cajka, Audio-Technica President and C.E.O. and Kal Mullens, Director, Strategic Account Sales

5/01/2003
USA Reps Carolina secures 11,000 square foot office and distribution center.

2/01/2003
Josh Early appointed Systems Contractor representative for the Carolinas.

1/01/2003
Chris Flatt appointed MI representative for Western Tennessee and Mississippi.

1/01/2003
Ed Rider awarded Tacoma Guitar Rep of the Year.

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