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 . . . . .?
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
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
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
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:
- What is the customer’s idea of the products which
best satisfy his perceived needs and wants?
- What is the amount of trading power he wants to utilize?
- What isWhat is the customer’s idea of the products
which best satisfy his perceived the amount of trading power
he has available?
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
POINT FOUR - CLOSING
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.