Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sales Tip of the Month

Climbing Higher into the Tree of Sales

Last month we discussed the Parable of the Apple Tree. In this article, we discuss how an orchard owner (dealership owner) gathers fruit (sales) when the low hanging fruit is gone.  As we climb the ladder up into the apple tree, looking to gather fruit that is no longer hanging from the lower branches, many business owners (and salespeople) become apprehensive.

Apprehension is common when climbing to new heights or experiencing new ways of approaching sales. Before climbing the metaphoric ladder, let’s discuss exactly what the behavior of picking low hanging fruit would look like on an actual sales floor. To assist us in this task, we traveled to dealerships, ranging from motorcycles to automobiles to boats and yachts, to capture this behavior of “picking the low hanging fruit."  To our surprise, we found changing the product did not change this behavior. It is as if going from picking apples to picking oranges would change how the low hanging fruit was being picked. 

In this video, we will first show what picking low hanging fruit looks like as an actual behavior of the sales floor, then share what it looks like to climb each rung of the sales ladder to reach into the higher  branches of the tree, or in this case into the deeper levels of the sales process. There will be two ladders presented, The Educational Program and Professionals Program. This video identifies Level 1 behavior as the first rung of the ladder. Level 1 is the single most destructive behavior to overall morale in an orchard (or business).

Now that you have seen this video, can you recall seeing your sales staff engage in behaviors similar to the ones depicted in this video?

Recently, we met with a large OEM and their national sales team. They reported that in the last nine months the shift in consumer behavior in their retail locations was significant. The summation of their comments was to this point; the consumer has become more elusive, price conscious and apathetic towards the typical sales approach. One store reported their best closers could no longer use their standard methods of closing – the consumer was becoming more relationship oriented as opposed to “being pushed” towards a decision. 

Climbing the ladder into the tree of sales is about growing the relationship with a customer, an individual. When the sales process focuses upon telling a customer all the facts and why they ought to go ahead (Level 1), or an intensive, interrogative approach (Level 2), the sacrificial element is generally the relationship factor with the consumer.  As a result, apathy and price shopping become more of the result with today’s new consumer.

Again, the question remains, do you prefer to wait for fruit to appear on the lower hanging branches of your retail  tree or are you the type that builds a ladder and climbs in the higher branches of relationship building in your sales process?  While no sales process can fix credit challenges it can ensure a higher probability the customer will at least be willing to investigate the possibilities of ownership with you.

Written by Glenn Roller, founder of The Glenn Roller Institute, with more than 35 years of retail boat sales experience and teaching, Glenn Roller has authored several books defining, for the first time, the seven levels of understanding in the sales process. For live support call 877-884-4862.

More Sales Tips from Glenn Roller:
Using Emotional Motive to Sell
Selling at a Boat Show (Part I)
Selling at a Boat Show (Part II)
Selling After a Boat Show
Selling in a Tough Economy (Part I)