Sarcastic wrote:Now, be honest. Since (i think) you work in one. How often do salesmen try to provide good advice, especially on cost/need, versus just trying to sell an expensive product? How much of a factor for a customer is plain distrust?
I'm out of it now, but I did work two years and really liked it. If you can't tell home theater is kind of a hobby of mine in general, so it was fun to help people put a new entertainment system together.
Our department had about six or seven sales guys, all between 20 and 30. There was one guy there who was a lot like Dwight Shrute from The Office, and every month him and I were on a numbers basis the two best salespeople (I'll give him the edge because he was full time and maintaining high numbers is harder when you work weekdays). Like Dwight, he was much more likely to use hard selling. I never once saw him act unethically/lie (to a customer) but he would drag out all manner of "used car" tactics on them.
We made next to nothing selling tv's, cameras, bluray players, stereos, or video games/systems. I'd make $1.50 or $3.00 on a $300 tv. So in general we had no real incentive to lie about the base merchandise because we didn't make anything on it anyway.
We would try to upsale to a point. The general idea was for me to ask a few questions to figure out what extra features you'd like, and then show the most fully featured item, and then go down the line. I always had a backup in mind where if you liked the $2000 LED's extra features but couldn't pay that much, I had a $1500 plasma with all the same stuff. But if you're a little old lady or its your kid's bedroom there is no point confusing you about things that are irrelevant. If you were a Netflix subscriber any tv with Netflix built in was in play, or if you frequently used Redbox or bought on demand movies a tv with Vudu or Cinema Now was shown. Fantasy football players were shown tvs with Yahoo widgets.
I'd ask how many components you had - say you were upgrading to your first hdtv and buying a bluray player. I'd want to send you home with one cord for your cable box, one for your bluray player, and one for your Xbox 360. You also didn't have an appropriate stand. So I would suggest wall mounting or various different stands (that could hold all your components of course). Wall mounting would get into a discussion of installation.
I think when guys would tell you that the hdmi cords you got from the cable company were no good that they honestly believed that - like a freebie wearing out was somehow worse than buying a $20 one that is just as likely to "wear out." So thats one place I did definitely hear people trump the value of different cords. Another one I heard was that for a camcorder or dslr you needed a high speed SD card. If your pocket book was open I'd suggest them, but I never tried pushing them.
I'd often tell customers about Monoprice and I think that worked well for me because it was like a Kris Kringle/Miracle on 34th street thing where people appreciated my honesty which helped my receipt surveys.
The extended warranties were where I think we had the worst idea of what was actually covered. We heard so many different things about what exactly they would do. It did include a once a year "preventive maintenance" check up, but how much of that can you do to a tv? You can't oil it or replace a filter. So I didn't want to sell them based on that, lest the customer call for their check up and the guy did nothing. We were told they did "minor calibration" - well what is that? Are they bringing ISF tools and going into the service menu or not? And burn in - is that "normal wear and tear," "customer misuse," or "a defect?" We had the same problems with installs - what happens if they want to hang a 65" plasma on a wall with no studs? How will they hide wiring on a brick fireplace?
I did well I think because #1 I dressed really well. Most of them came in all wrinkled and disheveled, and I was always wearing a tie, sweater vest, and polished shoes. I think that naturally helped people take me more seriously and seek me out when they came in wanting to spend money. #2 I just really like this stuff, so when I'd talk about it with an in depth understanding I think people picked up on that and found me to be more credible when it came to talk about installation and accessories.
There were really two sets of goals. The ones that mattered to us and factored into our monthly bonuses, and the ones that mattered to the store. Management cared that you were doing well sales wise, but the store was much much much more interested in how many receipt surveys customers took, how many credit applications you got, how many rewards card signups you got, how many email addresses you captured, and how many extended warranties you sold. The three goals that factored into my bonus were sales per hour, accessory sales, and extended warranty sales.
My important goals were not fixed numbers to hit; they were a percentage of my overall sales. So if I was there on the last Saturday of the month, my sales per hour were great, my accessories were great, but my extended warranties were just on the line, I had no incentive to sell anything that might come with an extended warranty. Selling a tv without one that day would torpedo a $750 bonus. Once again there is an agency problem where my goals didn't match the store's.
I think when I was telling people real information that was beneficial to them that I got the most "you have to be lying" looks - no cable channels are produced at 1080p, 1080 vs 720 is basically imperceivable below 40" or 46" (depending on your distance sitting away), only hdmi or toslink can carry 5.1 sound, a $10 antenna gets a better quality picture than the cable company, stuff like that.
As a commissioned person, I had no incentive to do anything that would make somebody unhappy with their purchase. The worst scenario would be that they returned the items and filed a negative customer feedback survey. That comes right out of my pay. Surprisingly we got a decent number of repeat and referral business. So if somebody is unhappy that is out the door too. Third its just not in my character. I sold this stuff because I thought it was awesome - if somebody went home unsure of their purchase I felt bad that I didn't help them find exactly what was right for them.
One thing I did a lot of was call back sheets - we had sheets printed with everyone who bought major merchandise from us and were supposed to call them back as a sales follow up. Nobody took them seriously but me. I got my start cold calling ERISA leads in college, so I had no trouble following up on the phone and asking about other items they might need or selling the extended warranty - I'd sell them right on the phone and have it shipped free. Selling warranties without tv's was like a license to print money - it skyrocketed your numbers. I did it any Saturday that my warranty numbers were down.