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Retail Sales: There Are No Rules

I credit my education to two men.  They taught me more than the graduate professors in college.  One was a self-made man, the other a hard core business man.  The later was involved in retail and it’s his principles of business that this section of the website is dedicated.  Thank you Crosby.

First rule:  THERE ARE NO RULES!

Second rule:  WHEN IN DOUBT, REFER TO THE FIRST RULE.

Every new retail operation pretty much starts off the same.  How much do I charge my customer for my product?  What’s my competition charging?

The answer is straight forward, get the customer to want to buy it, but also, get him to believe that you are the best source for the product.  How do you do that?

First, know the product well, understand its history, current technology associated with the product, be aware of the manufacturing process and how it is shipped.  You need be fully engrossed in the product you sell.  There should not be a question you can’t answer.  Even your staff needs to know the product inside and out.  I’ll give you an example.  I had to buy a dozen baseballs for a Little League team.  One of my clients sold sporting gear.  So I went to him, while there I asked the question, ‘Why is this leather ball $2.99 and those leather covered balls $5.99 each?’  He went on to explain how each is made and the material used to make the ball.  It turns out the more expensive baseballs use a different type of center and winding to withstand the strike force of high school students and they have to comply with the National Federation of High School standards to be used in high school games.  Wow, he knows his stuff.   I had no idea that there needed to be a difference in baseballs and before this, I didn’t really care.  But, now I do care and it makes sense that baseballs meet certain standards to be used at the various levels of the sport.

Why would I want to go somewhere else to save $.25 a baseball when this guy can answer my questions?

Secondly, become the expert in the product.  My client not only knew about his baseballs, he purposely went out to teach others about the sport.  Within his marketing area, there were seven Little League systems or chapters.  He knew each President and the assigned Equipment Manager for the league.  He made contact with those managers and set up a teaching clinic for the respective team managers.  There he would teach the coaches about the respective bat rules, catcher’s gear, and even the umpire gear.  He became the expert on the subject matter.  Because the coaching staff changed every year, he made it a part of his marketing plan to educate at the same time each year and receive his orders for equipment.  From baseballs to landscaping equipment to uniforms, he got the orders.  He was able to pitch his sales to not only get the customer to want to buy it, but that he was the best source.

The coaches got it right away.  They also realized that his price was a little more than that national sports retailer; but the deal was much better because my client came with the package.  They knew that if they went to the local national sports chain that the 19 year old kid in the baseball section did not have a clue.  Worse yet, the clerk has never played the sport!  So why would you want to buy your baseball equipment there?

Remember, THERE ARE NO RULES!  Act on Knowledge.

 

If you have any comments or questions, e-mail me at dave (insert the usual ‘at’ symbol) businessecon.org.  I would love to hear from you. If interested in my services as an accountant/consultant; click on My Services in the footer of this article.

 

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About David J Hoare (405 Articles)
I spent 12 Years as a Certified Public Accountant, Over 20 Years of Practice in Accounting and Consulting, Controller in Management of Closely Held Operations, Masters of Science in Accounting, Prepared over 1,000 Business Tax Returns and Hundreds of Individual Returns

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