Science of Selling for 12 Volters

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Marcel Newell and Ben Vollmer

Selling and merchandising to some degree are sciences. They were analyzed at KnowledgeFest this month, with facts that might inspire you to improve your salesfloor.

If you show someone a $2,500 system and they say, “I’ll think about it,” it’s because you are not giving them the in-store experience that makes them say “wow,” said Marcel Newell of Avidworx, leading a seminar on Customer Experience. The point of your showroom is to inspire confidence in you as the retailer.

Tim Parenti, who trains K40 employees in the science of selling, presented similar facts in a separate seminar on Face To Face Selling. He said when a customer walks in the door they are more likely to look for reasons not to buy from you than to buy. It’s an automatic response that in the first 30 seconds of meeting someone, we create a primal impression and after that, we spend the rest of the time rationalizing our initial impression, he said. Consumers are “on hyper alert for thinking they will be ripped off. So don’t give them a reason.”

For Newell, that means providing a great customer experience. Eighty-six percent of customers are willing to pay more for a customer experience, he said. “No one can predict what will happen in the next 5 years in business. It will be wildly different than it is today. But customer experience is here to stay. It’s what we have now. It’s becoming more important—all things being equal, the customer will always choose the cheapest price.”

He suggests you shop in other stores in other product categories, and then rate the customer experience at your own store on a scale of 1 to 10.

“When we survey companies, 80 percent believe they provide a superior customer experience, but when you talk to the customers, 8 percent agree. So are you meeting customer expectations at the level you think you are?”

Newell independently mirrored Parenti’s facts on a first impression.  “Build trust by first impression, you have 30 seconds to do it. When they walk in the store, subconsciously customers are making a decision whether they are going to buy from us. It starts even before they get in the store. Is the front sloppy with cracked pavement? Is the grass mowed? Is the store clean, organized, with good lighting, and merchandising displays? Did you greet the person?”

Take a photo of the store and email it to yourself, he said. “You’ll see clutter, disorganization, dust. You’ll see something that’s not the way you want it. It just works like a free consultation. If your store does not look like it’s worth it, you will never be able to charge more,” said Newell.

Ben Vollmer, of Avidworx, also presenting at the seminar added, “If a guy shows up with a BMW, what’s his BS tolerance? It’s low. He shops at BMW dealers, or Apple stores. The bar in customer experience is being raised and we have to match it the best way we can with the limited funds we have.”

A basic budget to fix up a store includes:

Paint it yourself–$400 – $800

Lighting– $2,000 – $4,000

Flooring  $1,600 – $3,400

Total–$4,000 -$8,200

“You will see a 20 percent lift in revenue. I’ve never seen less,” said Newell. If your sales are $500K a year, that’s an extra $100K. “And once you start, you’ll be inspired to do more,” he added.

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