The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 09, 2007 • Issue 07:04:01
Who needs the whole enchilada?
Do you use your cell phone to watch video clips or snap pictures? Can you also turn it on and listen to songs, surf the Web, or send text messages and e-mails? Does the phone serve as a walkie-talkie, calculator and alarm clock, too? And can you even use it as a payment device?
My guess is that your answer to at least some of these questions is, "I don't know." And your answer to even more is, "Yes, but I don't use it for that."
The majority of us want our phones to be just that: telephones. We simply want to be able to talk with someone whenever the need arises.
Now think about your PC. It's probably loaded with many powerful software applications.
You may be able to use it to burn CDs, make movies, have video conversations or even compose music. But how often do you do those things? If you are like most people, you use word processing, spreadsheet and e-mail applications, and a Web browser for 95% of your work. All the other features are available, but not accessed frequently.
So, why did you buy a computer or cell phone with all those fancy features you never use? Some common reasons:
- It was cool.
- I might need it one day.
- I don't want to appear out of fashion or behind the times.
- I don't want to look cheap.
- It cost only a few extra pennies, so why not?
- All of the features came with the system, device or contract.
Tailor sales to merchant needs
Merchants might think along the same lines when choosing POS systems. You probably offer some basic products and services, as well as some that are more advanced. Some merchants want all the extras; some don't.
Also, each merchant has different reasons for requesting top-of-the-line equipment or services. This is where your expertise can be of immense value to them. Through probing questions and observation, you can determine the appropriate level of products and services for each merchant.
When you walk into a store, look at what is already in place. Evaluate the phone system and computers. Are they current?
Do they include advanced features, or are they bare-bones models? Observe the customers: Would they appreciate any additional features?
Also, consider the merchant's type of business. A high-end hair salon or boutique, for example, bases its success on being fashionable, cool and trendy. Clients come in to find out what is hot so they can get it for themselves.
Therefore, such businesses need all the bells and whistles to help them project the image they require. Part of what they sell is intangible but very real. They need to assure their customers in every possible way that they are hip.
Alternatively, a local plumbing supply store or neighborhood bar might not need to impress anyone with spiffy equipment.
If you do sell businesses like these unneeded extras, you'll waste their resources. And your clients will likely find out at some point. They may end up resenting you and switching to another provider.
Think before you pitch
But don't assume a less avant-garde business couldn't use some auxiliary services. Don't draw any conclusions about what a business needs until you've done some investigating. Find out how it operates, and make suggestions based on solid observations.
For example, plenty of bars could benefit from automated inventory systems or the ability to run tabs. And most home-service contractors could use mobile payment capability, detailed account management or automated billing.
Each industry is different, and every merchant has unique needs. Work with your customers. Show them a full range of offerings, and help them honestly evaluate the options to determine what they really need.
Don't oversell or undersell. Strike the appropriate balance for each client. As a sales professional, that's your job. It will also boost your business.
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