Retail is not what it should be…. but why? It’s a lazy, lethargic selling problem!

We hear a lot about flagging retail sales but that is not the problem, it is the result of the problem.

So what is the problem?

Well, there are several things that make up that answer, but from my point of view having hired and trained professional salespeople for over 35 years one of the major problems is that many Australian salespeople just don’t know how to sell.

In years past we have been riding on the wave of some sort of success and now times are tough we just don’t know how to make the best of every sales opportunity.

Simply put, our salespeople have been taking orders, they don’t know how to make orders.

In this economic climate companies, hopefully like ours, that employ ethical selling principals and processes, will make a killing, while others will simply blame the economy, the internet or some other external factor.

Making a major purchase for many of us is a reward for years of hard work.

I get the feeling that the Australian public is increasingly frustrated with the lack of retail service and sales professionalism.

I can assure you that we all love to be sold and want to feel we have made a great purchase.

One truth about sales that has and will always stand the test of time is that, “people buy from people they like and trust.”

Today that can also be said of internet sites, like them, and trust them, then you will buy from them.

The internet certainly has a place in today’s market, but the need for true sales professionals has never been greater than it is today.

One Saturday my son, a 24 year old successful and cashed up carpenter went out to purchase a new truck.

This, as you can imagine, was to be an exciting adventure which unfortunately turned out to be a very disappointing waste of time.

Three dealerships, three brands, three miserable experiences.

The first point of call was a Toyota dealer. The Hilux is a great product, but the salesperson had no idea how to make his buying experience just that, an experience.

 All the salesperson was focused on was giving my son a quote and assuring him they could do a better price if he was serious.

No colour pictures in a beautifully crafted brochure, she didn’t have any left.

No offer to test drive, we don’t know why. She didn’t even show him one in the yard.

No features and benefits, just a statement about they had no stock and that he would have to wait three months to get one!

Wow, we walked out deflated to say the least.

Next the Ford Ranger, “now this one has grunt,” his words.

At least we got to see one, but again no brochure, again out of stock.

No offer to test drive. I just don’t get it!

Isn’t this what sells cars? Getting behind the wheel and feeling the wind in your hair.

In our business, Kleenmaid appliances, we have a saying we live by, “we sell by demonstration, not conversation.”

In other words we let you use the products before you buy.

That’s right, try before you buy.

Novel? I don’t believe so, essential yes!

This sales tool, that of demonstrating the product, is what we can do better than the internet.

We invite our potential customers to cook on the cook plate, or bake in the oven before they make a substantial investment to buy.

It’s not just a fun thing to do; it is the right thing to do.

If we want to be better than our competition and win the business we feel we have to demonstrate our products special features.

Again at Ford we got a quote and an assurance they could do better on the price.

Last stop Nissan.

Now this was exciting.

We got a brochure and they had one model of the Navara on the floor of the showroom.

We could get in it and smell that new car aroma…but no offer to drive.

All the sales staff had matching t-shirts on that day which from memory was a statement to indicate they had some commitment to doing business that weekend, but alas we did not buy, because we were not sold.

What has happened to this vital link in the cycle of our economy, “the sale”?

Until something is sold we don’t need manufacturing or transport, or packaging or accounting or software, and the list goes on.

Selling is the core foundation of the business cycle.

I am so committed to exceeding our customers’ expectations when it comes to providing them a rewarding sales experience that at Kleenmaid we have adopted a European kitchen studio model concept for the retailing of our next generation appliances.

Kleenmaid appliances are exclusively sold through selected Kitchen company showrooms not traditional electrical retailers. In our partners showrooms, Kleenmaid appliances are on show, live and working for you to yes, try before you buy.

In-showroom cooking classes are held regularly and we hope, the experience which reports suggest is a once in a decade event for Aussie consumers, that is, the replacing of their kitchen and appliances is a dream come true experience, not like our a Saturday morning disappointment.

Retail is not what it should be…. but why? It’s a lazy, lethargic selling problem!
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