Fridges and freezers are a necessity, aren’t they? Yes there’s a luxury aspect to them at the top end but it’s a mature market driven largely by replacement. Either way, people need fridges! So why isn't easier to sell them?
According to the Office for National Statistics, household penetration for refrigeration products in the UK is around 97% (which makes me wonder what the other 3% use to keep their beers chilled on a sunny day). And in today’s market, where austerity and economic uncertainty loom fearfully large, it’s price as much as anything else which plays a key role in the buying decision, meaning that a majority of customers want something as quickly as possible as cheaply as possible.
Which means it’s all too easy to commit any one or all of the following crimes:
1: Ask how much the customer wants to spend, show them something which fits the budget, take the order and collect the cash.
2: Forget about selling unique benefits of certain brands and models.
3: Give something away for a discount or even for free, such as delivery, installation or removal of the old appliance.
If this is happening to you then here are Five Top Tips to help you take back control of the sale, keep your margin and gain a happy customer.
Tip 1: Don’t just ‘take the order’. That’s not selling. Break the ice and find out what is driving the customer’s buying decision. Has their old fridge broken down? Are they redesigning their kitchen? Is it a secondary fridge? The insight you gain from simple sales questions will help you bond with your customer, see how much ‘pain’ they’re in and get you thinking about which products will best match their needs.
Tip 2. DO NOT TALK ABOUT PRICE! At least not at first. Price is all about loss, so chill out and talk about benefits first. Take the time to show the customer what they gain from buying from you. You won’t know which benefits to sell unless you have all the info from Tip 1, so leave price out of it until much later in the conversation. Try it. It’s easier than you think.
Tip 3. I mentioned ‘pain’ above, by which I mean the stress the customer is under by having a faulty fridge, no fridge at all or a kitchen redesign that’s going on forever. Cool things down by showing your customer how quickly you can relieve their pain by making it as easy for them as possible to have what they want. This is a great opportunity to showcase not just your range but all the other things you do too, such as local delivery, friendly service, aftersales etc etc.
Tip 4. When it comes to wine coolers, ice dispensers, American-style fridge-freezers etc, there’s an element of ‘desire’ involved. It’s the opposite of ‘pain’ so play on it; raise the temperature, increase their desire for the luxury goods. Get them to touch, feel and imagine this beautiful thing in their beautiful kitchen and make it easy for them to have it. Find a delivery date that works for everyone and perhaps mention finance as a payment option.
Tip 5. Don’t give away extras for free. Delivery, installation, removal of an old appliance – these things cost the business money, so if you charge for them don’t just let them go in your scramble to seal the deal. If the customer pushes for discount, what do they give you in return? What else will they buy from you right now that minimises your loss? Remember that a successful negotiation is one where everybody wins.
Of course you will get customers who seem focused entirely on cost, on what they lose, and they’ll want to minimise their loss. But that’s selling. Customers are devious, the buying power is theirs because they can shop around on their phones and delight in telling you how much more expensive you are than the internet. But the threat of their milk turning sour in 24 hours or (God forbid!) having to serve prosecco at room temperature, plus the savings they can make on their energy bills by replacing an ancient appliance, can be enough to turn that around and balance the conversation.
So stand your ground, find out what’s motivating your customers and use that info to show them what they gain, show them what improves their situation and relieves their pain. And give them every reason to buy from you by showcasing your expertise, your company values, the brilliance of your service and the value of your product knowledge. Don’t give anything away for free but make buying from you easy and pleasurable. Keep at it and not only will you get that sale and keep the customer cool, the chances are you’ll have gained an advocate who’ll review and recommend you too.
This article was first published in IER Magazine May 2019