Why buy a Ferrari? It costs in excess of £120,000 and goes from 0-60 mph in a little under five seconds. For £35,000 you can buy a car that also goes from 0-60 mph in under five seconds and for many is the ultimate expression of speed, power and muscle. So, why buy a Ferrari when you can buy a Mitsubishi EVO for a fraction of the price, but without any dramatic reduction in performance? Why? Because the Ferrari is just that - a Ferrari. It’s a status thing.
Why should the customer buy their home entertainment system from Dealer A when Dealer B or Internet trader C offers something that does the same thing for a fraction of the price? For some reason we’re just not there yet with Hi-Fi - for many customers the EVO argument will prevail – sure it’s a good product, but not the prestigious one. For the Hi-Fi retailer to prosper in the face of price aggressive competition they need to recognise this situation and attract customers to their shop for the prestige of buying from them. Dealers need to become the supplier of choice. The brand.
So how do they do that? First you have to have the intention. Good quality products, excellent customer service, fair pricing, knowledgeable staff… the list goes on and there is no single answer, but let’s look at some of these.
Good quality products are key, but what is your display versus stock balance these days? Dealers must have a portfolio of products that do the job well and know how to sell them. As the dealer needs to become the brand they must stock only the best equipment (for a given price) that is, importantly, reliable (some of it isn’t) and works in the customers best interest. If you were on holiday you wouldn’t keep going to the same wine cellar to drink a bad wine, so why install equipment that is sub-standard. Demand quality and reliability from your suppliers – their product performance reflects on you as the brand. Poor performing or unreliable products make it hard for you to retain your customers. Neither the manufacturer or the dealer is in a Microsoft style monopoly situation – customers have a choice of product and dealer. You can’t go to the customer’s house with your fingers crossed behind your back!
Excellent customer service is another imperative - how’s your footfall lately? Do you exceed your customer’s expectations? You’re only ever as good as your last job. Get it right and you’ll graduate from £5,000 to £50,000 sales. Get it wrong and your sales will go from £5,000 to £500! It’s about building relationships with your cash rich, time challenged customers. Once you’ve become the brand of choice, they will tell their friends that they were advised by and bought a system from Dealer A, not that they bought a XYZ amplifier and CD player. They’ll trust you and will upgrade their products on your recommendation. You’re aiming to become a consultant – the expert to whom the customer will want to turn for trusted advice. Hi-Fi retailing is becoming more and more demo heavy rather than stock heavy – it’s very expensive to be an ‘audio on demand’ retailer when, for instance, a range of speakers comes in seven or eight sizes and four different finishes. The Ferrari customer knows that they need to wait to get their spec of car, so forward planning consultation and quality installation sets you apart. It’s how you handle this situation that will determine whether you’re on the path to giving excellent or poor customer service. And remember; getting the sale is not the end, it is the beginning – of the relationship.
THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE
Naturally you need knowledge to be successful, but are you making the most of yours?
As the consultant, the dealer offers the customer so much more than they can get from the Internet. Dealers have the knowledge, the products and the manufacturers’ support, but often the apathy. It’s all too easy to deal just in your comfort zone; going the extra mile will reap dividends. If you don’t stock the particular product that a customer asks for, don’t just accept that that’s the end of it. You have a consultant’s knowledge about your specialist subject and more often than not will be able to satisfy the customer’s requirement. It does take some effort, but use your knowledge and you’ll be selling £15k systems regularly instead of £1k systems.
Staff need to be enthused (they should be anyway – this stuff is supposed to be their passion) and able to see past the hourly wage. Give them the tools to succeed, train them well and they will work better and more efficiently for your business. It’s a virtuous circle as the manufacturers will be pleased to see a dealer who is going that extra mile and they’ll be more inclined to give the business time and support for mutual benefit.
So how do you actually put these ideas in to practice? This is where BADA can help you. Training courses such as the renowned Demcraft course and the newly launched Salescraft are designed to equip you and your staff with the essential skills to become the consultant dealer. Work smart, shape your business to the new environment and you become the brand. Do it well and you’ll be ordering the Ferrari and not the Mitsubishi.
Before you do anything though, ask yourself these questions. Is your footfall decreasing? Is the value of your sales stagnant or increasing? How do you attract customers to your shop? Using price or quality? What is your product profile? Do you offer product that can be developed? Do your staff know how to develop and build sales – are they bothered? How much is your business worth? If you fail to take a proactive approach, it could be less than you think…
For further information contact: http://www.bada.co.uk