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  • Writer's pictureAbhijit Pandya

Not all retail sales opportunities are the same for using the Fed-Up! Formula®

I have never understood why retail sales dialogue is the same every day of the month. There is a massive opportunity missing in this: people get paid at the end of the month. This introduces a new type of buyer behaviour into the usual retail sales situation.

Someone, much like a lot of us, who wants to treat herself on payday. This brings out the prevalence of two buyer types, the Desire buyer who seeking the pleasure of treating herself and the Ego buyer, who may have even got a bonus and wants to spend it on a flash watch.

I was in a luxury watch shop in Lakeside shopping centre in Essex in England. I went there to see the quality of engagement with a mystery shopper who wanted to buy a watch. I was playing the buyer. In reality I needed a watch and wanted one, but I also thought it was a great experience to get information for our current Fed-Up! Formula® clients.

So into the store I go with a broad smile. It’s raining heavily outside. I have omitted to bring my umbrella. A young girl, in her early twenties, walks over to me from behind a display of Omega watches.

The first thing to come out of her mouth is on our list of what not do not to say in retail sales training when we teach the Fed-Up! Formula®. “How can I help you?”. Our Fed!-UP Formula® Master Trainer Andrew Glasby would probably have said: “I’m in a watch shop, so I fancy a kebab”. It’s too broad a question and doesn’t get you anywhere near understanding the buyer’s motivation to buy. This is a fundamental concept we teach to get to increase your sales closure rate.

I looked at her, and she seemed young (probably too young to sell Omegas to older men). So I decided to help. “I have just got a bonus and would like to treat myself”. This I thought should spark her off into a huge amount of enthusiasm. She had a great prospect in her store. Alas she got worse. “Any idea what sort of thing you are looking for?” she responded. What would I have done looking at the rain soaked prospect wanting to spend their bonus in my store? Probably gone and got them a coffee. I would have said: “This will warm you up, get comfortable and I will see how I can help”. She then did exactly what I had seen done in a luxury watch store in Melbourne Australia. She showed me the 007 Omega. Now I could have been horrible here and told her I don’t like James Bond to put her in a corner. That would have been unfair, as I already knew she wouldn’t get herself out of it. So I tried to help again: “I loved the new movie. That seems nice.”

She looked at me and said: “I haven’t seen it, but my boyfriend loves James Bond”. If the manager had told me to push that product to every customer, I would have put the effort to see one or two of the recent movies. Especially as there was a large picture of Daniel Craig gracing the inside of the cabinet. Anyway I told her: “I don’t quite like the colours on that one”. That was a big cue to see if she could find out about my buyer preferences, or do one better, find out more about me.

A great opportunity comes when a buyer says I don’t quite like or I hate that. You can then, obviously, ask them what they do like. To be fair to her, she did have a shot at this: “Would you prefer more of a blue watch-face”. But this is far from working out what gives me a real buzz from a watch, or how I want to feel when I put on the watch everyday, or how I want to feel knowing that I earned my bonus when I see the watch in my draw at home. So I despairingly carried on: “That’s probably too dark for me”.

I had a fairly good idea of what would happen next, and I knew it would lead me to start on my journey to walk out of the store. When badly trained sales people really struggle they go ‘generic’ in dialogue. So she did. She moved over to a totally different brand, in a different price range and showed me a lighter dial of the inside of a Jaeger. So having spent about 10 mins on Omega, and as a buyer got myself to feel some familiarity with that brand she moved me on to something entirely different. She didn’t confirm that I had processed the Omega brand fully or whether there was something else lighter she could have showed me (there was). She was already tired, and annoyed that this was taking this long. I looked at the Jaeger and contemplated saying it was too expensive. I would then be bored to death on just looking at brands with a price in between Jaeger and Omega. When this happens all attempts to understand me as a buyer have been withdrawn by the seller. We would then be in what I call the lazy land of buying and selling: price.

I had to carry on just to confirm what I typically found in this situation. “The Jaeger’s a bit high, it’s a good bonus you know but you know…”. I just paused without completing the sentence. She then did exactly what I assumed she would, she walked me over to the Rolex booth. At this point I decided to call it quits and move on to the next study. So I pretended to be pressed for time and walked to the Apple store to carry out another buyer study for our research.

So the conclusion is that a person walks into a watch store, tells the salesperson he has a bonus, and she lets him walk away empty handed. We will explain another time in detail why this occurred and what should have happened. In any event it’s a great example of the two lazy things people to do to avoid putting in the effort to keep the buyer: move on price and be concerned with the only piece of information (here colour) without using the opportunity, when that information is given, to gather more.

On that note, I have slightly overrun on this blog, still without a watch to tell me the time. But then I have my phone… sigh.

Dr Abhijit Pandya PhD

23 November 2022.

My thanks to Mr. Andrew Glasby for his continuous efforts to improve our Fed-Up! Formula® sales training programme for our amazing clients.

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