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Selling is tough, we know that and you know that. Selling higher price points — potentially higher than we could afford ourselves — is even tougher. It’s very easy to sell the products that we would buy or that we consider affordable. But if we only find ourselves selling the same few products to everyone that walks in the door of the store, no matter what kind of person or expectations they have, is that fair to the customer, the store or your own paycheck?
This is about breaking the commodity mindset and selling or trying to sell all your customers a product that we truly know is better for them and their health and comfort. This is about selling “value added.”
What is value added
Everyone knows what value added means and that we should sell as high-end of a product as we possibly can. We also know that most customers will pay something more than they expected to pay or told you they expected to pay when
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they walked in the door. Heck, we’ve all done it ourselves — decided to spend $75 more on a refrigerator with a couple of extra features or $1,000 more on a car with added comfort. So what holds us back from asking our customers to consider value added, be it comfort, safety, features, warranty or function?
Selling value added is all about identifying something that is of value to your customers and that they are willing to pay more for. Your job as a salesperson is to determine what is important to them and how much more are they willing to pay. This is not just about peppering with questions to get them to tell you; often customers are not sure themselves what is important to them or what will be important to them six months or a year after purchasing the product.
To determine where you can take a customer and to be successful selling higher price points you have to find answers to two questions:
1. What is important to the customer?
2. How much is he or she willing to pay for it?
How to find the answers
Quite simply, show every customer the most expensive products in the store, every time. Wait a minute, you say, that’s a lot easier said than done since some customers see the price tags, they turn off immediately. The answer is to get their permission to ignore the price tags, in part with what we call a “mini-contract.”
The principle of the mini-contract is to get customers to say “yes” as many times as possible so that when it is time to go for the real contract — the one that counts — they are used to saying “yes!”
1. Get permission from the customer.
2. Enter a mini-contract by asking open-ended questions with “yes” as an answer.
3. Show them the most expensive pieces as a way to determine what is of value to them.
Here are some ideas to put this to work. You will need to practice it and modify it to make it your own.
>> Greet the customer — Typically, you will ask some open-ended question such as “what brings you into the store today?”
>> Build rapport — Take some time (depending on the customer) to get to know them. Talk about something they will want to talk about, such as the model car they are driving, the NFL-branded jacket they have on, or last weekend’s big 5K run if he or she mentions running. This is, of course, more easily done with customers who walk in slowly and look around with eyes wide open as they start to cruise the floor. P.S. Note the direction they initially take since that may say something about values or interest. If someone beelines to you, they are all business and you may just get straight to it with only minor chat.
>> Ask qualifying questions — Now that you have rapport you can start “interviewing” the customer using carefully calculated questions. Use the so-called “Socratic Method” of selling. That’s where the customer does all the talking with the idea being to let the customer close the sale themselves by answering your questions and doing most of the talking.
An example scenario
OK, how does this go? Here’s a short example. Of course, it can ebb and flow in many ways, so take this as a simple example framework:
YOU: It sounds like you’ve been shopping around a bit and have done your homework. Let me ask you, has anyone taken the time to explain to you what to look for in a home gym?
CUST: Not really.
YOU: Can we do that now? (Note: This is one of those mini-contracts — the question should be designed to elicit an easy and non-threatening “yes.”)
YOU: We’ve talked a bit about some of what you would like to accomplish, what you’ve done in the past, what you like and dislike as well as others who will be using your gym (Note: These are all things that should come out in your interview process). I’d like to ask you to do me a favor. Is that OK?
CUST: Depends on what it is, but, OK.
YOU: I’d like to ask you to ignore the price tags for now. This way I can show you some products that are fully featured so we can get an idea of what will best fit your needs. Is that OK?
There you have it! You have now received permission from the customer to take him or her to any product in the store that you choose. More times than not customers will do it because you asked them permission and they gave it to you, which builds trust and you avoid presumptions that may offend them. The product you show them may be way beyond their means, but chances are they will learn something that becomes exciting or motivating to them that they didn’t even realize existed before. This gets them more emotionally involved in the purchase and we all know that most consumers don’t buy unless they are emotionally committed to the purchase.
Nothing to lose
You may already be using some form of this technique. If not, and you are not satisfied with your or your staff’s average ticket, give it a whirl.
Make a pledge to yourself right now to try some variation of this method. Challenge yourself to understand what makes the products you sell, especially the higher end products, different and unique. This will help you build value with features that specifically address the things your customers tell you are important to them or they really like. Challenge yourself to show the highest-end product in the store (getting permission from the customer first to do it) at least once each day this week. You have nothing to lose and, yes, everything to gain.