Retail Observer

September 2014

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM SEPTEMBER 2014 56 H ow many times have you seen a potential sale disappear because a salesperson scares away the customer, or worse, doesn't capture their attention to begin with? This happens quite a bit in the independent retail and consumer- electronics channels. Either the salesperson is overenthusiastic and begins to spout technical jargon, or they aren't skilled at the art of engaging the customer, which in itself can be intimidating to those who don't feel comfortable buying technology in the first place. Know Your Customer—Take, for example, a guy who wants to upgrade to a bigger TV in time for fall football. He's made the effort to seek out your particular store, so it's clear that he is looking for more than a typical big-box store might be able to offer. A salesperson ascertains that he is looking for a 65-inch TV, and shows them to a wall of displays. He blinks up at the wall, overwhelmed with the impending decision in front of him. Which is best? Which looks better? What's the difference in price and is it worth it? This is a critical moment for the salesperson in the process, where the sale can go one of two ways—your way or the highway. If the salesperson simply routinely answers questions rather than explores possibilities and lifestyle, the sale is essentially dead. If the salesperson puts the customer at ease and gets to the heart of what matters most to them, the sale is much more likely to materialize. Salespeople need to remember that they are selling a solution to a problem, not product. If the salesperson doesn't ask the right questions, the problem itself is never ascertained. What do you like to watch on TV? Any particular reason you are wanting to upgrade today? Do you have a family? Where will the TV be located? Are you going to hang the set on a wall? Do you listen to a lot of music at home? How do you get your content currently? These are all great conversation starters that show you are interested in the customer and finding the right solution, rather than talking tech or showing off. Approaching it this way will pull the customer in using lifestyle, rather than technology. Show Don't Tell—Telling someone how incredible a product is rather than showing him or her is akin to telling someone about the game-winning SuperBowl touchdown versus them being at the stadium and seeing for themselves. The best way to get a customer excited about the potential of a product is to show them what it can do and what benefits it can offer. How is this going to make the customers life better, more entertaining, and more convenient? Just take the mystery enshrouding UltraH HD TV for example. Explaining the difference between HDTV and Ultra HD on a big screen can be tedious, confusing, and boring. Showing a customer a side-by-side comparison demo of two screens, however, is fun, exciting, and the technology will essentially sell itself. Lay Off the Pressure—Finally, one of the biggest turn-offs about the independent electronics retailer (often but not always a misconception) is that they apply too much pressure on the shopper, making them feel obligated to buy or to spend more than they intended. While we are firm believers in the up-sell when the benefits are clear to the customer, buyer remorse equals a dissatisfied customer, and dissatisfied customers don't offer referrals, tend to write bad reviews, or end up returning equipment, which costs you a lot of time and money. RO Jim Ristow Consumer Electronics Trends Jim Ristow is the executive vice president of consumer electronics for BrandSource, helping to establish it as one of the largest and most influential CE merchandising groups in the United States. WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW CAN HURT YOU Overcoming technophobia to make the sale

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