- Parent Category: Retail Tips
Focus on the Client's Needs for a Return on Investment in Retail
Tip #365 - Great Service, Great Selling
Dear Tip of the Weeker,
This week's Tip is a story from Jack Daly. Jack is a sales guru and exciting public speaker. He primarily focuses on corporate sales, but his ideas certainly apply to the world of retail. If you ever have the chance to go to one of his seminars, take it.
This story, about a bike store, is from Jack's monthly newsletter,The Daly News. It is a perfect example of what we are always preaching at you, "great selling is great customer service" and I guess also the reverse... "great customer service is great selling!"
(Warning: a bit longer than our normal tip, but a quick and easy read!)
More and more companies and sales people are complaining about a drop-off in their sales levels. Whether this is occurring at the CEO level, the Sales Manager level or the Sales person level, the dialogue sounds "scary similar." Lots of chatter about how difficult things are and how hard people are working.Yet, little seeming to show for the efforts.
Today's economy demands that we work harder for business and sales. BUT, and this I believe is key, today's economy demands that we work SMARTER as well.
If your efforts have proven to show little return on investment, then it's time to question whether you are making the correct investments. Are you calling on the right prospects/customers? Are you calling on them in the best way? What are you calling on them with? Whose agenda is the priority? Is the agenda yours or theirs?
In answering the question "What's in it for me?" are you the "me" or is the prospect the "me?" (Clue-it should be the prospect. Make it about the prospect and the fruits will flow to you). Focus your "selling" on high-payoff activities, with the priority on the client's/prospect's needs, not yours.
Let's go with a real-life example/story.
As many of you know, about 4 years ago I entered the world of triathlon racing (OUCH, that's me after a serious bike crash last month where I broke my clavicle amongst lots of body bruises, and a smashed bike as well).
Now, the world of road bikes is certainly a world of discretionary buying, not a necessity. And, in a "depressed" or "recessed" economy, this would be a business one would expect to be "hurting."
Some perspective for those not up to speed on the investments in such a sport is probably appropriate. A decent racing road bike is probably about $4,000-$5,000 fitted out. One can then invest more in computer technology, advanced racing wheels, and a myriad of accessories. In other words, not an inexpensive sport, and again, not a necessity like "food and shelter." So, in today's economic times, one could reasonably expect that business to be off, or "hurting."
The bike shop I rely on is Edge Cyclesports in Laguna Woods, CA. I came to the owner, Hank, clueless as to what I needed and how it all worked. The Edge team took the time and care to educate me and never did I feel they were trying to "sell" me. Note, I had been to a number of bike shops prior to my going to Edge, but felt more like a "number" and someone they were just trying to "sell" something to (What something? Heck, anything, they just needed to sell!) What the Edge team seemed to be was in the education business, trying to help people better understand the biking world and the triathlon sport overall.
So here I am a neophyte, the proverbial lamb ready for slaughter. Instead of channeling me toward that visually spectacular tri racing bike, they instead recommended an entry level road bike that would get the job done until I could see if the sport was for me (and, with 2 bike crashes in the past 7 months, I'm beginning to wonder!)
Well, that deal went down at a price 70% LESS than I was prepared to pay. Happy Customer! Next, I do some riding, enter a few races, and a year later, I am hooked on the sport and am ready for a bike upgrade. Let's see, where should I go? Do you really think there is a question? No haggling, just suit me up with that fine looking state-of-the-art racing bike! Out I go into the triathlon race world, getting better all the time.
From time to time, I stop by the Edge shop, picking up accessories (hey, the bigger, impersonal bike shops have the accessories for less money, but I don't give it a thought). Now, I'm really looking to improve my race performance times, and several competitors are touting the merits of racing wheels (best of class are the Zipps, at an attention getting $2,500 for a set of two wheels!) Just makes sense and I go get them at the Edge from owner Hank.
In speaking with Hank, he asks me a ton of questions about my riding times and capabilities and his recommendation is at the Performance/speed levels I turn in, the wheels will not give me much benefit. (Folks, here I am, ready to fork over $2,500 and the "sales person/owner" is telling me to keep my money as it's not my best investment). How's that for creating trust? Selling is the transfer of trust. People do business with people they trust. What are you doing to create trust with your prospects and customers?
I had a couple races and lost my computer tracking device for speed and cadence, so in I went to Hank and asked for his recommendation. Without hesitation, Hank said the best solution, AND where I would reap a big improvement in my cycling performance would be something called the Powertap (which measures power expended amongst a number of things). I said "Let's do it," never even considering to ask "How much?" So, I pick up the bike with the new Powertap, which requires a special new bike wheel, and comes in at about $1,200. Imagine, you can buy a computer for your bike for $30 and here I am here, with no questions asked. How's that for "selling?"
Disappointing to me, I've crashed and smashed that fine racing machine twice in 7 months, and the Edge team has repaired it on both occasions, ringing up more thousands in sales. My most recent trip to the Edge, I wanted Hank to look at the fit of the bike but had conflicts all over getting in the shop.
So, Hank said come in 2 hours before the store opened, he met me there, made a ton of adjustments to my bike, my shoes, and instructions on the Powertap. When I asked Hank what I owed him, he said "just go out and enjoy the sport," he was glad to see me back at it. Is this service? Or, is this selling? You decide.
All of this prompted me to ask Hank how the Edge was faring in this "down" economy. Wanna guess his response? In this economy, dealing in a business that is totally discretionary, operating at price points generally higher than the competition, his business is thriving. What Hank and the Edge has built is not a bike sales and repair business. Edge has built a Customer Loyalty and referral business. No need for advertising. No need for special sales, coupons and discounts. Just plain old caring about your customers, helping them in the best ways possible, and letting the rest take care of itself.
Go back and re-read the story. Can you identify the "High Payoff" activities? Quit doing what hasn't been working for you. Quit doing what most of your competitors are doing and trying to match that. Quit challenging your competitors to see who can sell at the lowest price. Quit trying to sell people things, and start helping them with their needs, opportunities and problems.
That's the key to succeeding in any economic environment!
P.S. Four years ago I didn't know Hank and the Edge team. Then, they became my bike store. Today, they are my friends, and like so many other of their loyal fans, I recommend them to as many folks that I can. Go reap those rewards and get your "selling" priorities straight.
Wishing you great sales and lots of fun,