Action Furniture Store Marketing Challenge Case
Jean Mead has a challenge in driving her sales up and one of the central issues she feels is the sales approach of the sales team. The prime market target at the outskirts of the city where her business is located are the blue-collar workers. However, despite having the flexible payment terms, her sales have not been increasing over the last two years. She feels changing the sales approach or even changing the employees and bringing in new sales team is one of the sure ways of bringing change to her business. She also thinks of cutting down the payment of the employees to compensate for the lack of sales.
The problem within this organization can be seen from a multifaceted approach, the communication angle and the human behavior angle. These are the two approaches that need to be carefully addressed within the organization in order to ensure that the sales go back to their initial high levels.
The employees need to be sensitized on the importance of interactive communication in sales. They first need to understand that making sale is not an instance but a process that a customer and the sales person need to go through together. In the sales process, the customers cannot be presumed to know the products, hence know what they want to buy. Even he is a repeat client, he needs to be reintroduced to the product variety and possibly be told the new features that may be and any new product that may have been added after their previous visit. The customers could be seeing the products, but it does not mean they know the minor details, like the kind of wood used, the quality of leather and the origin, the popularity of the brand and such like smaller details. The employees need to learn how to open up to the customers, make enquiry, give suggestions, help the customers make decisions to buy. Without communication it would be impossible to know what the customer is looking for and also to learn if this particular client can change his mind in the event that whatever he needed is not in stock.
Communication also helps the employees to do up-selling. This is the art of sales where the sales person implicitly urges the customer to spend more in the store than they initially intended to spend. This can be achieved through listening keenly to the needs of the customer and suggesting better solutions than they initially wanted. Giving the customer more details and why the suggested solutions are the best gives the potential buyer the urge a reason to stretch their budget and buy more or spend more. Without proper communication and interaction between the sales person and the customer, this cannot be achieved. In this regard, Mrs. Mead was right in encouraging the employees to interact more with customers rather than merely waiting for their questions.
Behaviorally, the organization needed to teach the employees to not compare themselves with the customers, but to see customers as king, take them as a priority and not to treat the customers as they would like to be treated. Most of the buying decisions are not made on a rational manner but at the emotional level. The customer could choose to go elsewhere and buy the item, but it is the emotional attachment that they make with the store that makes them decide to buy and become repeat buyers in the store. This emotional attachment can be created through the pleasing of the ego of the customers. Human behavior is such that they will be attracted to what pleases their ego, people are egoistic, selfish in a way. This is a good thing for the sales and marketing profession since it is easy to have a long lasting customer loyalty by simply playing to their selfish or egoistic needs. Mrs. Mead was right in this as well since the employees wanted to elevate themselves to the level of the customers and in a way compete with the customers, instead of holding them high as they are the ones who hold up the business.
The way forward for the store is to first train the employees in the marketing and sales process that should include these two above as the pillar of that particular training. There needs to be an organizational culture that promotes the welfare of the customer in the store first, ensuring the customer does not spend more than ten seconds in the store before being talked to. One that will ensure the customer is given all the necessary details from the time they step into the store to the very last moment they will be leaving.
The final thin g that needs to be clear within the organization is that there is need for all to have a common vision of ensuring the organization satisfies the customers regardless of personal beliefs and perspectives. The employees need to feel part of the organization and endeavor to make it stronger. It is only when such a common approach will be achieved and instilled among all the staff of the organization, from the managerial to the least of them, that significant growth will be achieved.
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