In the retail world, we face third and long situations almost every day.
Are the QBs on your sales floor and service department ready?
We can debate which activity or sport is America’s Favorite Pastime, but
true football fans will tell you that America’s Favorite ‘Pass’ Time is
third down and long! No matter how far back from the next first down or goal
line, that long pass gracefully landing in the arms of a waiting receiver
can make up for ground losses and penalties. Offensive coaches know the
power that the pass play brings.
Defensive coaches know that too! You can bet the farm they are prepared to
stop that long pass, whether by sacking the quarterback or intercepting the
ball on the fly. It’s up to the QB to assess the situation and adjust the
game plan, sometimes moments before the play starts.
That new plan or play called at the line of scrimmage is called an
“audible.” Well-trained offensive players are drilled and coached on how to
adapt to an unplanned defensive environment.
Third and Long at Retail
In the retail world, we face third and long situations almost every day. Are
the QBs on your sales floor and service department able to effectively call
an audible? More importantly, do they have the power to do so?
Every shopper, a paid-in-advance asset (by advertising), is important and
precious. Your sales team’s goal is to convert that shopper into a buyer.
Before that shopper leaves your shop, you need to provide your team with the
tools and the authority to call an audible.
No-Walk Products: I believe in always having a few no-walk
products on your floor. We always want to provide the best home furnishings
solution for the shopper, but in most cases, almost any item in your store
will be an improvement over what they currently have. Be sure to include a
few remarkable items on your floor at a price that will WOW them. In short,
something they can’t walk away from.
No-Walk Availability: Sometimes, price is not the issue,
it’s availability. Be sure that your Operations Team can squeeze one more
delivery on the truck every day. Same-day delivery instantly takes your
shopper out of the market and sends them home to wait for your truck. Sure,
that means keeping more inventory on hand, so limit your stock to your best
sellers and No-Walk models.
Overcome Other Objections: If the objection is neither
price nor availability, it may be payment plans, security (what if I don’t
like it?), or even a concern about merchandise size. Your store can win when
your In-Store Quarterbacks can call an audible on that too.
These days financing plans can be expensive, but they cost you nothing until
you make the sale. Often, it’s worth paying the price. You may not love
those second or third-chance credit providers—but it’s worth having them as
an option for shoppers with less-than-stellar credit ratings. That way, you
can keep the sale in your store and not ring the register down the street.
“Before that shopper leaves your shop, you need to provide your team with
the tools and the authority to call an audible.”
Mattress Sales Audibles are Different
Comfort Warranties: You almost certainly carry mattress sets covered by
Manufacturer’s Comfort Warranties. What about those mattresses that aren’t
covered? You’ll need to have a plan for those beds as well. It’s up to you
to take back everything or declare “All Sales Final.” Prepare to change your
game plan at a moment’s notice or you may hemorrhage sales. If you believe
your sales team will abuse the policy, you’ll probably need to change your
King/Queen Confusion: What about that shopper who can’t
decide between a king or queen-size bed? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could
bring out both and let them decide? I’ll bet the shop down the street can’t
or won’t do that. The fact is, you could offer to bring out ANY King or
Queen Model just so they can see it in their room, and then finish the order
with the right size. That computes to risking $50 in operations costs to
create a $1,500 or more sale.
British biologist Charles Darwin had some thoughts on survival. Whether it’s
football, the animal kingdom, or our World of Retail, it’s not the strong or
the smart that survive, it’s the ones with the greatest ability to adapt
that flourish in difficult times. Train your teams and empower them to be
like Patrick Mahomes in last season’s Super Bowl: assess the situation and
adjust at the point of opportunity to win!