Last week I discussed basic sales techniques that would be helpful to be successful as a sales person. Mindset, product knowledge, factory positioning and the like are first steps but they could apply to any product in any industry. Today let’s explore how to position your products in the marketplace.
There are vendors in the marketplace that are very good in placing their products in every avenue where customers may look for their products or even where they won’t look for it. Do you ever consider that your product might go in a grocery store, because there is furniture sold along with cans of soup? Or how about a garden center right next to the spring tulips?
How does this apply to you? Think outside of the box as they say. Look at the product you sell and figure out every way in which you can try and find an outlet that may be interested in selling your products to the end consumer. If you have a promotional item like a cheap recliner maybe you can convince the local grocery store to run a Fathers Day ad of Buy One Get One Free. Or if you have a high end accessory or accent item, maybe you can convince the garden center to sell it right along with their floral decorations.
There are four things to consider when positioning your products in the marketplace.
1. Know your product better than anyone else. If you don’t know your product and think your product is the best offering in the marketplace, how can you possibly convince someone else to buy it. Find out how your product stacks up against all others and play to those strengths. A cheap recliner is great for promotions. A massage recliner is great for aging baby boomers. A Lift recliner is great for gradually aging folks. How ever you decide to position your product and accentuate its benefits will be one determination of your success or failure in getting the sale.
2. Know your competition. Your customer is looking at every offering they can from all vendors so you have to assume a competitor will have shown your customer what similar offerings they have to yours. Are you a value in comparison? If not, why not? Sometimes the difference is actually better for the retailer. Easy example is out of a domestic warehouse with weekly fulfillment versus containers with 90 day fulfillment. You get the idea. Make sure you are competitive or make sure the buyer understands why the lowest price might not be the best price. And if you can’t get there, then sell them something else that is competitive and don’t waste their time on a product that is not a value in your eyes. Finally, you may find out that a competitor has tied up distribution in a marketplace on a “hot” collection. If you have a similar offering then the other store in town probably would like to see it. Don’t miss those opportunities.
3. Know your customer and why they need what you sell. How many times have you gone into see a buyer without first walking their floor? How can you possibly tell them how your product will work for them if you have not shopped their floor to see why your product will be a better offering than what they currently sell. Do you know what their competitors offer and how your product will be a better offering than what their competitors offer? Do you know the retailer’s mark up and advertising strategy so you can determine how they will price your product on the floor? Will your offering look like a value to the consumer on this floor? If you sell out of a warehouse and the retailer only buys containers, you might be the best option for this retailer. Don’t waste their time or your own if the pricing difference will be large.
4. Know the marketplace you are selling in to. Last furniture market I was in one of my spaces and I worked with a gentleman who I had never met, sold or even tried to sell before because he was a much higher price point than the lines I offer. But I occasionally shopped his floors looking for opportunities. It so happened that at market one of my lines came out with an item that would be good on his floor. When he came in, I introduced myself and told him what I knew about his floors and why this new offering would be a good fit. I apologized for not reaching out to him in the past but I really had nothing I could help his specialty stores sell in my product mix until now. He appreciated the honesty, the fact I knew his stores, and valued his time (as well as my own) by not wasting his time in presentations of products that would never work for him.
Hope this helps you relook at your products, your customers, your competition, and the marketplaces you are selling. Next week I am going to go off script talking about market preparation. As always leave your positive comments below.