Selling on Purpose

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The official blog of The National NeedleArts Association - news and notes of the association, our members and our industry.

By TNNA Blog posted 10-23-2019 00:00


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Selling on Purpose

By Oz Barron

How can I increase my sales? People are buying things, but it seems random. Is there a way I can be more effective? Is there a secret formula to increase my sales?

In the webinar I did for TNNA recently, we talked about the sales process and what sort of roadblocks one can encounter during it. I also shared the 6 steps every sale goes through and the importance of each one. Knowing these 6 steps and how they apply will go a long way to helping you gain more control over your interactions with customers, as well as help you to be more effective in helping customers find the products of their dreams. Finally, we went over a powerful driver of sales, the thing that drives all purchasing decisions: benefits.

Most enthusiasts in any field quickly become obsessed with features. Fans of technology can quote you the speed and processor count of their latest supercharged laptop. Motorcycle riders will go on and on about horsepower, torque or suspension travel. Yarnies can tell you all about the fiber content, stitch gauge and dye technique of their latest fiber obsession.

Features are wonderful things and they're great topics of discussion, but to your guest they are meaningless without focusing on the benefit to them. Remember, everyone has a favorite radio station, WIFM — or, “What's In it For Me.”

The reason people buy or don't buy is value. That's Value with a capital V. It's not the price of the item or service, it's the perceived value of that item. People don't buy a Tesla because it's the cheapest car available. There are lots of cars that cost a lot less than any Tesla. What drives Tesla sales is the value proposition.

Recently, a friend and I went into a Tesla showroom. As we chatted with the knowledgeable, and clearly well-trained salesperson, she was asking us about our driving habits and what we currently drove. She then walked us to a large screen display where she could plug in our current estimated gas expenses per year, then projected that out over a number of years. She then did the same for a Tesla, using average electric costs for our area. In just a few minutes, she demonstrated the cost savings over a number of years that driving an electric car would yield. It was an impressive experience.

We also talked with a gentleman that drives for Lyft who replaced his Hybrid for a Tesla Model 3. He didn't think he could ever afford a Tesla until he finally ran the numbers, and, after buying the car, discovered he was spending less on his car loan than he was on gas and oil for his hybrid. His other benefit was that he truly enjoyed driving the car, far more than his previous car, a luxury hybrid. It wasn't features that drove his purchase and enjoyment of the vehicle, it was the benefit to him.

How can we apply this to yarn? Perhaps, instead of just telling people a project is knitted on U.S. 11s, point out that using larger needles means the project will get done faster, something that's a benefit to many knitters. We have a shawl we design for our shop's 40th anniversary that is based on a simple, triangular pattern but it alternates simple stockinette with stripes of differing stitch patterns. The benefit to the knitter is that they won't get bored out of repetition and, if they're a less experienced knitter, they may get introduced to new, accessible stitch patterns to add to their repertoire. This has proven to be a popular piece.

So, remember: As you're talking to your guests, make sure you’re tuned into their favorite radio station.

What to learn more from Oz? Access his webinar, “Selling on Purpose – Understanding the Sales Process” on-demand.

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