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Posted: May 17, 2015

Providing Expert Advice To Improve Sales

Retailers who don't come off as "experts" can be losing customers

By Dan Sanchez

Truck accessory retailers know they are in competition for where customers will buy and pay for services on their vehicles. So to keep up with competition, retailers need to make sure they are achieving high sell-thru rates on those customers who enter into their store. According to Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle, Author of Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business, retailers often make mistakes that can greatly impact sell-thru rates that can be easily fixed to increase sales and a store's customer base.

One of the most common within the truck accessory retail business is when salespeople don't have the proper knowledge to give a customer an "expert" opinion. According to Reyhle, customers want to feel like they're talking to an expert on the product and/or service. This gives them the insight they need to confirm they are making the right decision or avoid an expensive mistake.

Most truck accessory manufacturers provide in-store displays and manufacturer flyers, but counter people and sales people who have a complete understanding of products on the shelves, will seem like an expert to the customer, and improve the in-store experience for them. According to Reyhle, it's one of the most under-used marketing tools but has the potential to be one of the best a retailer can have in its tool box.

Being recognized as the store with the staff that "knows it all," is extremely valuable, as a majority of new and repeat business comes from word of mouth in this industry. Reyhle also points out that many retailers are likely to have "know-it-all" customers, but a majority of customers need a knowledgeable salesperson who can steer them into making the right purchase. The key is to simply deliver on that expert persona that customers love to discover and return to again and again.

So how does a truck accessory retailer properly educate its sales staff? The key is to work with manufacturers. Most manufacturers provide plenty of marketing materials and videos that describe the features and benefits of their products. The first step is to make sure your sales staff is familiar with most or all of the popular products in the store and have the ability to communicate them properly to customers.

A second level of training can come directly from manufacturers and manufacturers' reps. Most offer short product training sessions that can be held in-store, providing staff with samples and information on current and new products, installation tips, and how the product's features and benefits apply to a variety of truck applications such as work-trucks and lifestyle uses.

The important thing to remember is that truck accessory retail owners need to be able to idenfity where they're lacking in key areas and make adjustments to improve. In the end, retailers will be able to take advantage of a growing truck market and be successful in increasing their customer base.

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