Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Retail Sales Training - Selling Extended Warranties

If your retail store sells extended warranties you already know how challenging it can be to capture sales. could get even more difficult.

A recent Internet article published by stated that Consumer Reports has announced that shoppers should stay away from these programs. They state that profit margins are high (without reporting the costs associated) on these programs. That could make your job that much harder.

Here are a few tips that can improve your results:

1. Rather than present the extended warranty as a separate presentation, integrate it into your overall product discussion. Mention just one feature and benefit at a time instead of rattling off everything that your program offers.

2. Be prepared for objections. Plan responses for the most common objections you hear and practise these rebuttals until they flow smoothly and comfortably.

3. Mention the program to EVERY customer. Most front-line retail staff make assumptions about their customers and do not present the information about their extended warranty program to all of their customers. Instead, they pick and choose who they think will be interested and present the info to those customers.

4. Ask for the sale. If you have taken the time to present and discuss your extended warranty program to your customer in a professional manner, you have earned the right to ask them for the sale.

We know that most consumers either love or hate extended warranty programs. The key to successfully selling them is to believe in them yourself.

Check out my book, Stop, Ask & Listen for more information on selling extended warranties.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Retail Sales Training-Dealing with Refunds

A national newspaper (Globe and Mail) recently reported that refunds in the retail industry on are the rise, citing that 5-30% of all purchases end up being returned to the store. The article also went on to say that refunds are increasing by as much 50% in some categories.

One of the way you can reduce the number of returns is to invest more time uncovering your customers' needs and wants. When you learn more about how the customer will be using the product they are planning to purchase, you can make recommendations. And these recommendations often help your customer see how one particular product would be more appropriate for their situation. If you sell electronics or computers, it is critical to help people understand how to use their new toy, due to the complexity of newer technology.

However, you can still turn a refund into a sales opportunity. Instead of simply processing the refund find out why the customer is returning the item. And when appropriate, make suggestions for different items or products that may be more suitable for that particular customer.

Plus, your refund policy can make a difference whether people buy from your store versus a competitor. My youngest daughter once asked a particular store if they would refund her money if the blouse she was buying did not match her pants. Unfortunately, the store said 'no' and my daughter took her business to a competitor because she didn't want to be stuck with a blouse that she wouldn't wear.

Refunds are a fact of life in retail. How you deal with them makes a difference.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Retail Sales Training - Don't Fall Short

I received this advice from a retail consultant and thought you would appreciate it.

The demands of the holiday season can occasionally keep us from performing some of the services and elements of the customer experience that are standard operating procedure during the rest of the year. Maybe the store traffic is too high or the holiday customer just isn’t interested in a particular element. Take serving warm cider. A store that serves its customers warm cider throughout the winter may choose to not do so on last two weekends before Christmas. The store may find that the especially heavy traffic resulted in too many spilled drinks.

But there could be even a more important reason to stop offering the free cider. If the store was unable to keep up with the demand for the cider, the empty cider container would result in disappointed customers. Remember: Failing to fully execute a key element of your customer experience is worse than not offering it all. It’s true. Falling short is worse than not offering it all.

Here’s an example. I recently brought my car to one of those speedy oil change places. In the corner of the waiting room was a nice fixture with a sign above it that read “Complimentary gourmet coffee.” Unfortunately the fixture was bare except for some cups. Having a cup of coffee wouldn’t have even crossed my mind if the sign and fixture wasn’t there. But because there were visual cues that I should have gotten a free cup of coffee, I felt that I hadn’t received the full value of doing business with this company. And if they couldn’t keep up with a coffeepot, might they also be missing a few steps while working on my car? Falling short of executing a key element of your customer experience is worse than not offering it all.

A greeter who ignores customers is worse than no greeter at all. Having big rolls of wrapping paper in full view of the customer but not offering to gift wrap a customer’s purchase is worse than not offering gift wrapping at all. An empty candy dish is worse than never giving out candy. I think one could most definitely make a case that under-trained sales associates are worse than leaving customers on their own and just having cashiers to ring up purchases. Falling short of executing a key element of your customer experience is worse than not offering it all.

This isn’t just a seasonal issue, either. You see it in stores all of the time. You’ll see an empty brochure rack, or signs that read “No tipping for carryout service” but no one offers to carry out your purchase. Falling short of executing a key element of your customer experience is worse than not offering it all.

So let me ask, are there any changes you need to make to your store this holiday or going forward to ensure that you’re delivering on all of the elements of the customer experience?

Source: Doug Fleener


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Retail Sales Training - Types of Shoppers

In this weekends newspaper, I read an interesting article about 6 different types of shoppers. Here is a quick overview of them:

The Return Artist
This person buys things to feel good. When she gets home she realizes she doesn't need the items so she brings them back.

The Ditherer
This individual has a difficult time making up his mind for a variety of reasons. Sometimes he is concerned he is paying too much, or he is afraid of making a poor buying decision.

The Impulsive
As the name suggests, this person makes impulse buying decisions, and not only for minor purchases. They may not need the item but they have a difficult time saying no.

The Tire Kicker
We've all experienced this person. Shopping is the hobby for this person, not the act of buying. She will try on designer clothes and test drive a luxury vehicle but have no intention of making a buying decision.

The Anti-Shopper
This person thinks shopping is trivial, frivolous and a waste of time. They typically enter a store with the intent to buy a specific item(s) and will not usually buy additional products.

The Junk Junkie
This individual is obsessed with sales and love the art of the deal. . They often shop in secondhand stores, seldoming pay full price for items.

As retailers, it is important to recognize each type of shopper and adapt your approach accordingly in order to get the most from each shopper. I haven't done much research in this area yet, but I have learned a thing or two about selling to different genders and have outlined these strategies in my book.

Source: Toronto Star, Saturday November 11, 2006