I Only Know Enough to Sell It!

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I Only Know Enough to Sell It!

By John Stanley Successful retailers realize you have to have passion for the product and the consumer. In today�s retail environment you would think everyone would be chasing that elusive dollar. But, that is not the case and this should be an opportunity for anyone who wants to grow their business. The best example I can give you of today�s market place is based on the experience we have just had in our business. It was time to upgrade the business computers and the team decided it was time that I purchased a tablet PC computer to enable me to take notes on the road and convert them straight into text on the computer. Now this is new technology, especially to me, I ventured into this development with some trepidation. We decided that the only thing to do was to venture into the computer store with a series of questions prior to purchasing the new toy for the business. We visited one of Perth�s leading retail suppliers of laptop computers and found that they had the model we were looking for. The salesperson was approached and we were ready to buy. Before getting the credit card out though, we had a few questions. The salesmen looked at us and said �I�m sorry I cannot help you, I only know enough to sell the machines� You can imagine the look on our faces. Just analyze what this sales person said, we should be proud of our profession, we should have a passion for our products and we should care about the customer and their needs. This salesperson, who obviously wasn�t, was informing the customer that he did not know the product and was not bothered to find out or help the customer. How often does this occur in business? What an opportunity. The day after the computer fiasco, Linda and I went shopping at our local shopping mall and went to a store called Delish. While Linda was purchasing the bananas and apples etc, I ventured to the cheese counter. There in the centre of the display was Roquefort cheese in all its glory. The salesperson saw me eyeing it up and the conversation went as follows: “Do you like blue cheese� �yes� was my reply.� “this is the best blue cheese in the world and this one was hand made in Roquefort itself. It is the most expensive cheese you can buy in Perth, but in my opinion it�s the best in the world� I was sold; the only family discussion was on how much we should buy, not if we should buy it. Product knowledge is essential to the successes of any business, but it is not learning about a product for the sake of it. It is putting yourself in the customers� shoes and asking yourself what questions would the consumer be likely to ask and what stories would they be interested in. I also recently worked with a hardware group who had a number of stores scattered around their part of the world. The difference in average sale per customer was quite dramatic. When I enquired why, I was informed it was because of the demographic mix in each location, a logical explanation. On further enquiry I discovered that some of the group had programmed product training sessions while others had not. When I talk to the members who did not have training sessions and who, by the way had lower average sales, I was informed that the team members took information home and learnt in their own time …. yeah right! The top performing stores had formal training sessions once a week that were compulsory to all team members. If we are serious about our business we need to be serious about product knowledge training and the value it provides to the business. I was recently with a client and asked if he did product knowledge sessions with his team and the response was no. When I asked why he said that if he trained the team up they would leave and work for his competition, alas he was being serious. Look how much money was being lost to that business. Anyway, this is the first article being typed on my new tablet laptop. A $4000 machine purchased last week from a person who actually said he did not class himself as a sales person, he said that he was not good at selling, but knew everything about the machine and could explain it to me in my language, in anyone�s language …….. now that�s selling! John Stanley is a conference speaker and retail consultant with over 25 years experience in 15 countries. John works with retailers around the world assisting them with their merchandising, staff and management training, customer flow, customer service and image. www.johnstanley.cc