By Charles Bonfiglio
We have all similar experiences when attempting to gather some information over the telephone. It happens with the auto technicians, restaurants, sporting goods stores and sadly, with auto accessories and specialty retail stores. You call a company and the person who answers the phone:
- Speaks too quickly and is nearly impossible to understand;
- Expresses very little enthusiasm and sounds disturbed, as if the call has interrupted some activity far more important than a mere consumer who represents potential new business; and
- Uses incomprehensible slang, industry jargon, and even uses a shortcut for the name of the store.
Then you ask questions, and receive answers:
- Question: Do you have the ABC widget in stock? Answer: Yes.
- Question: How much is it? Answer: $399.99 or we’ll beat anybody’s price. (indicating our price is probably too high)
- Question: Can you install it? Answer: Yes.
- Question: How much does installation cost? Answer: $65.
- Thank you. You’re welcome.
This “sales person” just wasted a golden opportunity to increase floor traffic and the chance for increased sales today. The conversation ought to go something like this:
- Question, Do you have ABC Widget…? Answer: Yes we do. Indeed we stock, sell and install the very best widgets in the business.
- Question: How much is it? Answer: I’ll look up the price for you. By the way that is a pretty cool widget. It appears to me that you have done some homework and know a good deal about widgets. How did you hear about us? How long have you been looking for a widget? Answer: My friend told me about you.
- Question, What’s your friend’s name? Do you know where we are located? It would sure be worth your while to come in a see all of the widgets and supporting products we carry. More importantly, you’ll have a chance to learn a little bit about how we do an install and why we are considered the best in town. My name is Bob, what’s your name? We’re open till 6 p.m. Would you like to come in today or tomorrow morning?
The critical point is to interest the consumer in something more than just getting answers to his or her questions. Provide the consumer with a compelling reason to shop in your store. Take control of the conversation.
DO NOT respond with “yes,” or “no” answers. Avoid talking about price and specific products on the phone. Talk about results and reputation. Sell the consumer on your store and visiting your store. Deal with price and product when he arrives.
Take a moment and call your store and learn how your staff performs on the telephone. It will be revealing to learn how well they convert calls to appointments.
Charles Bonfiglio is the founder and CEO of Tint World.