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Posts Tagged ‘Sales’

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The simple answer is you don’t.

Imagine the following retail scenario. You discover beautiful piece of furniture only to find that it is a “one of a kind”. You discover where you can order one only to find out that it could take 4 to 6 months to receive your order. So, how does this retailer manage to survive in the age of free two day shipping? Salt Creek Farmhouse is an example of a vertical furniture retail shop that has found ways to develop customer relationships to thrive in an omnichannel world. Retail survival requires transformation to new paradigms. Lesson 1 starts with focusing on doing what the giants are not doing.

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And what are they doing right?

An extract (lightly edited for brevity) from Chris Peterson’s take on SCF’s success story interspersed with an occasional comment from me within <..>:

 Five lessons from Salt Creek Farmhouse

  1. Telling your story is as important as the products you sell

In the age of mass merchants, much of retail lost its “soul”. Stores merely became places to sell products. SCF is a small business and retail shop with a great story that creates a unique brand identity and differentiation for their products <though “Our Story” could do with more romance in there, I thought>

  1. Engage your customers to help tell your story

Far too many retailers use social media as another way to advertise products and promote sales. One of the most powerful aspects of visual social media like Instagram the new word-of-mouth   is having customers posting photos of how they are using products in their homes…To quote SCF’s Instagram page: “Lovely pieces should come with a lovely story.

  1. When you can’t compete on price, compete on value and personalization

…SCF competes on quality art and workmanship that people still value. They also create personal relevance by designing things for customers, and pieces that you cannot purchase everywhere…<Just imagine what a draw these pieces would be in your rooms>

  1. Know your customers and go where they are shopping

For SCF’s products that would get lost and never be found in the millions of SKUs of an retail giant, Etsy was a perfect digital place in the company of other similar artisan style stores therein…core customers could organically search for products like theirs on Etsy. It is more important to be where your customers are, than to be on sites or in stores with the most traffic.

       5. Lack of inventory can be managed as an asset

…SCF literally carries almost no inventory. In order to sell pieces as they build them, they focus on other value propositions of customization and exclusivity as opposed to the old paradigm of “mass merchandising”. It also requires developing an intimate relationship with customers who appreciate quality and service beyond the expected and are quite willing to wait for months to get what they want!…

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Source: Chris’s article appears here.

 

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small-term-investment-plans

 

My passion of collecting anecdotes and experiences was unexpectedly rewarded today with a very unusual story. Here it goes:

Amit works for an old, respectable and conservative financial-services organization, helping people with investment counselling and management in certain parts of Mumbai city as well as rural Maharashtra.

On one of his cold-calling visits, he meets up with a prospect in one of the smaller towns.

Whatever else, rural folks, you’d know if you’ve dealt with them, are quite sharp in their assessment of whom they’re interacting with.  So, when Amit introduces himself and his org and explains the purpose of his visit, this man hears him out patiently, asks a few questions and finally says:

‘Look young man, all this is fine. I have heard about your org. No issues there. But I don’t know you at all. You pop up suddenly before me from nowhere and expect me to discuss my finances with you? You’ve no references that I know of, to recommend you.’

Amit digs into his bag.

‘Don’t bother showing me your customer letters. Unless it’s from some one I know, I trust…’

Amit pitches all that he has learnt in his training and all that he had collected from the field over the years.

From the look on the man’s face and the body language, he knows he isn’t making any headway.

And finally:

He pulls out his cell-phone, not one of those fancy ones, and says: ‘Sir, take this. Pls call these people and check,’ reeling out a few names. ‘And ask them how long I’ve been calling them…from this phone.’

The man shakes his head, almost sympathizing with the youngster: ‘How does it help?’

‘Sir, they’ll confirm it to you – for the last 7-8 years, I’ve been calling them from this phone, from the very same number.’

The man says: ‘I’m not sure where you’re going with this, my friend.’

‘Could I be holding onto the same number for so long, Sir, without doing right by my customers? Doesn’t happen with most guys in our profession; they change their numbers often and perhaps jobs too – like they’re erasing and escaping from their past…’

Amit waits for his words to sink in.

They find their mark at last.

The man’s gaze is fixed on Amit as he rests his case. Well, maybe the lad has a point…

With some more effort, he becomes Amit’s customer and remains one till this date.

 

I’ve no problem confessing it would have never occurred to me…

I hope this is now added to the org’s lore to be shared with its employees.

 

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PS: So, what’s it with your investment advisor?

As a man out on the field meeting people and people, I’m sure he has many more stories under his belt. Let me see…if I can tease a few more out of him.

  

Source: besttermplan.in/short-term-investment-plans/

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From Steven S Reeves in here:

Magic Pen

(lightly edited for readability and conciseness)

Stories from the frontline selling are often are counter intuitive and funny, or at least ironic. They entertain, and educate, but aren’t always true. This one is true, and it goes like this. This story about the salesman’s magic pen illustrates how the smallest detail, or idea, can make a big difference in any sale.

John was intrigued. At this first meeting with Steve, he noticed the pen in his shirt pocket. A pen wasn’t unusual, of course, but this one was. John recognised the logo on the pen clip. He had one just like it himself. Those pens were gifted to prospects and customers by Steve’s fiercest competitor.

Steve represented one of the two hardware companies dominating the Unix server market. John was in the process of choosing a hardware supplier for the new database project. He’d already met with, and been impressed by, the other company. That was how he’d been given his pen. He didn’t understand how Steve would get hold of one, and especially couldn’t figure why he’d be advertising his competition.

The question had to be asked.  Why was Steve showing that pen?

Steve smiled, shyly.  He’d need to tell the story of how he came by it.

John already knew the competitor was eating Steve’s company’s lunch, winning just about every deal in the market. The business had professional sales people, a strong product line, and management refusing to lose new opportunities under any circumstances.

But that wasn’t the story of how Steve got the pen.

He’d been one side of the usual punch up over a new server sale, and in trouble. Despite proving his hardware was superior, and persuading management to let him offer an eye watering price, he still wasn’t winning. The other side was determined not to lose, and offered to supply it’s server for free, just to stop Steve’s company winning a deal, any deal.

Instead of giving up, He decided to stay in the game and fight. Cutting a long story short, Steve won the deal based on functionality, service, and a reasonable price, against the opposition’s free of charge.

At the meeting scheduled to finalise the contract, Steve’s new customer used the pen, given to him by the competitor, to sign the paper.  This was too big an opportunity to miss.  Steve wanted that pen as a trophy.  He offered to exchange his own gold-plated pen for the cheap plastic logo pen which had been used to sign the contract.  His customer readily agreed, happily joining in the joke.

Steve left the meeting with a signed contract, and what was to become his magic pen.

John chuckled at the story. Later he’d find out why that buyer had chosen to pay for a server when the alternative was available for free. Right now he still didn’t know why Steve was displaying the pen in his pocket. So he asked again.

This time the response was a broad smile. Steve carried the logo pen in his shirt pocket because, at every first meeting, his new prospects would ask why he was displaying the pen. Then he’d get to tell the story, of how his customer preferred to pay for Steve’s server, rather than have the competitors product for free.

Showing the pen in his shirt pocket caught the attention of potential customers.  They asked the question, and, as a result of hearing the story, realised they needed to seriously consider what Steve was saying about the strengths of his company and product.

The small detail of a plastic pen made a very big difference, bringing Steve more business his way and job promotions.

Do we need to add the competitor tried to recruit Steve several times?  Maybe it wanted it’s pen back?

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to make it as easy and pleasant for the folks.

KRBlog A T and T Transaction

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Tom Fisfburne, a career marketer, a coach and a consultant has a lot of interesting things to say on his subject. Excerpted from his blog post here.

hate-selling

Rafat Ali of Skift described how travel brands market to customers as “hate-selling”:

“Delta’s lowest fare seats comes with tons of restrictions, and its ecommerce team thought it would be a great idea to hate-sell it,  implying: “Here’s is what you don’t get, you cheap shit!” Passive-aggressive selling at its best. Or worst.”

hate-selling-2
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The post attracted an interesting comment from a reader seeing nothing wrong though…:

Steve Willson says

I’m actually pleased to see that Delta is explicitly laying out what you DON’T get if you book their lowest price fares. We so often see news reports and travel site posts after the fact with folks complaining that they didn’t know that they might not get seated with their companion, or that they didn’t get a meal. Those of us who travel a lot understand the lunacy of “modern” air travel, but those who are infrequent travellers may still be stuck in the romantic era. So maybe we just need to frame the conversation a bit differently…

“At Delta we look forward to having you onboard, but here are a few reminders before you complete your ticket purchase…”

Maybe I’m jaded, but I go for transparency whenever possible:)

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