How long have you known that you need to lose weight? Quit smoking? Improve your selling skills? If you have known that one or more of these issues are important to your life, why haven’t you done something about it? I’ll tell you why. You have intellectually known things you must do to improve your life of business but you have no emotional ownership in the issue. Where does the emotional ownership come from? It usually comes from a critical life experience that puts in your face that you must confront. You have the intellectual knowledge but must also have the emotional ownership to change your behavior.
The same is true for your customers. They have intellectual knowledge of the stores and services in their area but only do business with the ones that they have an emotional connection. Maybe you’ve experienced this phenomenon but didn’t realize it. It might have been when you said to yourself, “I don’t get it, why didn’t she buy?” Does this sound all too familiar? If so, you could be missing your customer’s emotional need to buy at three different levels before you get to see their purchase order, money or plastic.
At your first selling seminar, you were most likely taught what I share in my entry-level seminars, that people buy on emotion and use logic to justify their buying emotion. I bet you’ve been told, as I tell my clients, that your customers buy benefits and not features. You even understand that the benefit to having your products is the emotional side of the sale and the features are the logical side. “That’s fine but they still are not buying,” you might say.
Help and hope are on the way! Every customer who walks into your store or place of business must make three emotional purchases before you can hear the sound of your cash register. The order of which, is less important yet the three purchases must be made. They are emotional product purchase, emotional store/business purchase and the emotional salesperson purchase. If you look closely at successful businesses, what you’ll find is a continual selling effort at these three levels.
To achieve the Retail Success Triad, you must have an integrated business. This is a business where partnering at all levels is the complete business strategy. When I say partnering, I’m really referring to building QUALITY interpersonal relationships. Relationships with other businesses, with your suppliers, with your customers, with your employees and you becoming the type of person that all others want to be around and do business with. For the Customer Triad Purchase to be made at the three emotional levels, all the persons involved in your business must work in harmony. Additionally, they must tirelessly strive for the same common goal.
Emotional Obstacle 1:
This is your product offering, it’s the area where you usually focus on the features that create benefits. The benefits make your customer’s live better as a result from owning or using your product. This generally is what most of the books and articles on selling cover in great detail. Be careful not to make the mistake of expecting your customers to buy on features alone. Remember, even if your products are fabulous and offer exceptional value, you still have two more sales to make before you can take the cash to the bank.
The elements that affect how your customers view your product mix and quality are important to review regularly. If you look at your store’s offering, not as your product, but as the property of your customers (currently being held in your custody). You most likely will view the following elements differently and hopefully make some improvements.
- Quality/Price, this is always on a sliding scale.
- Selection, is it the selection your customers want?
- Merchandising and Display, the silent killer. Just because it looks good to you, does not mean it looks good to them.
- Product presentation and supporting marketing materials in relationship to outside sales.
Emotional Obstacle 2:
This is your company. This obstacle to selling covers all things from your physical building or plant and location to your company’s reputation in the community and marketplace. An important item to keep in mind is that your customer’s only reality about your business is the conversation they have with them self about your business. At this plane, perception is everything. While you may not have much control over your physical building and location, you surely have some control over how it to your customers.
Contributing elements to success in emotionally selling your business include the following:
- Policies, this is an area in which you have plenty of control.
- Reputation, your years of service to the community or marketplace can be your greatest asset of your worst baggage depending on how you have served.
- Layout, while this has to do with merchandising, more importantly it has to do with flow. How does your place of business FEEL? Does it flow? Can your customers easily find what they need?
- Physical building, its history and location are important aspects of emotional selling. How does your building look? When the outside is awful, the inside will be much weaker, despite your efforts. What about the history of your building? In Camarillo, California, a favorite restaurant of mine is Octtavio’s. They have a copy of the original Spanish land grant for the property on which the restaurant rests. What do you know about the property and building’s history? Have any old photos you can display? Maybe even create a sales event wrapped around a theme of the era in which the building was constructed. Your imagination is your only limit.
Emotional Obstacle 3:
This is the Salesperson. An important question to ask is what can you do to assist your salespeople to improve? While I believe my Sales Training Program to be superior, most sales improvement programs available today are quite good. Despite which you select, select a program and start your training. The element that spells disaster for most training programs is the lack of commitment by the sales staff and that of management. The following elements for success will help you and your organization in getting unstuck. Additionally, you’ll draw on your (and their) unlimited capacity to achieve even higher levels of performance and excellence:
- Find your passion in selling and serving customers.
- Decide what you really want while you are employed by the store.
- Develop a workable improvement plan (suited to your personality).
- Build relationships with those (customers, suppliers, supervisors and colleagues) whom you can create synergy.
- Make an emotional commitment to yourself and your plan.
- Learn to say NO to that which does not serve your plan.
In selling, there are so many elements over which you do not have control. It is crucial that you do your best to master the areas where you do have control. It’s true that occasionally you can have a customer without making all three emotional sales but those are the exception and not the rule. If you earnestly work daily on your Success Triad, a sales increase is assured.
Finally, for you to move on with your life and have substantive improvement you must have more than an intellectual knowledge of how to improve. You must have an emotional ownership in improvement. As you read this article, do more than say to yourself, “Sounds good, I’ll work on it when I have time.” That my friend is intellectual—get past the intellectual to the emotional. Better, say to yourself, “He’s right, I commit to action today to build my Selling Success Triad.”
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.