Prevents Bacon Neck - How Smart Associates Use Fun Benefits To Drive Retail Sales
By Bob Phibbs
You’ve no doubt heard how you should sell the sizzle not the steak when it comes to benefits over features in a sale.
It’s still true today.
No one needs your employees to go over 15 reasons your widget is made better than the other guy’s.
No one needs a lecture about how to properly use the widget.
Worse, no one wants to stand there and politely hold their tongue while a salesperson with low self-esteem drones on and on about things the shopper doesn’t care about.
What a shopper does care about is themselves. What will they get out of a product?
They don’t give a wit about its development journey, or cost, or the backstory. Well, they might after they decide to buy it but not at the crucial point before they’ve decided.
And more importantly, in a jaded environment where shopping at retail can feel like one step up from having to clean lint out of the clothes dryer, how can you make your selling process entertaining?
Enter... showing the fun benefits of products.
Here’s an example…
You are a guy shopping for new t-shirts. There’s a pile of those costing $20 and another costing $45. You ask the salesperson, “Why’s this so much more?” The salesman answers, “This one uses better materials that are sewn and stitched with reinforced cotton tape under the collar so it lays flat.”
A better salesman selling those Tommy John t-shirts could simply say, “Our memory collar prevents bacon neck.”
Any guy can understand bacon neck because we’ve all been embarrassed by that crappy, crooked collar look.
By using this selling technique the customer is the one closing a sale when he makes that connection.
He’ll buy several, all with a smile.
He doesn’t need to know all the steps TJ took to make that t-shirt collar stay straight. TJ understood his pain point and took it away.
This customer didn’t need have to know much else.
Another concern for most guys is there is too much shirt for their body. Tommy John smartly adds theirs are designed “to fit your body, not a box.”
Why don’t more companies train employees to sell the fun of benefits over the facts of features?
Because they’ve either tried to make employees memorize some backstory someone thought was important (usually not something the customer craves) or the retailer has loaded the employee up with all the facts.
Neither engages the creativity of the employee’s brain.
And you need their fun and creativity to sell your merchandise.
Your salespeople have to be trained to mention all the benefits in a fun way and in a way that the customer will find helpful.
If they can’t do that, customers will want to leave without purchasing. And with conversion rates going down steadily, you can’t afford that.
That takes raising the bar of who gets to work at your store, both for newbies during their probationary period and for veterans who may have disengaged long ago.
In this punishing brick and mortar environment, you simply can’t afford to leave benefits like a pile of discards in a fitting room for someone else to figure out...
But you have to make them fun and personal.
Take this sign in Aveda in San Francisco.Who doesn’t understand a shot of espresso for your skin?
Take four of your most popular products. Find the compelling reason they have a premium price: how they’re made, how they make life easier, how lightweight they are - whatever.
Then come up with a fun way to describe the benefits, not in cliched way but in a new way. For an expensive product - say a Capresso espresso machine or an Allen Edmonds shoe, you could say it’s the difference between a steak at Morton’s and a hamburger at a school cafeteria.
What you come up with isn’t nearly as important as engaging your creative mind to restate benefits in a new and fun way. That's what makes these retail sales techniques work.
When you do that, you have shoppers saying, I’ll take it instead of where’s the door?
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