Columnists Brad Huisken The Demonstration

The Demonstration

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This month we will examine the process of showing and demonstrating merchandise. The demonstration phase is your first opportunity to show your customer the features and benefits of the jewelry. During this phase, you will be presenting the jewelry to the customer using the knowledge you gained in the Needs Assessment step. Remember the formula, NA=A/DA, Needs Assessment equals Answers, and then Demonstrate those Answers.

The goals of the demonstration step are:
  1. Establish value
  2. Create desire for ownership
  3. Have your prospects say, "I'll take it."

In order to get your prospect to say, "I'll take it," they must feel that the price they are paying for your product is greater than the value that they hold for their money. I would be willing to bet that 99% of products that are bought and sold are initially perceived as too expensive by the prospects. We must assume that everything is perceived as being too expensive until Value has been established.

Many salespeople don't understand the true meaning of the word value. Some believe that it is the price one has to pay in relationship to the worth of the jewelry. However, this is only half of the answer, value, quite simply, is perception and everyone has a different perception of value. The value that I hold for a one hundred dollar bill is totally different from the value my youngest son has for the same one hundred dollars. As salespeople, we must sell based on the customer's perception of value, not ours. In order for any sale to be completed value has to be established. Once value has been established you will need to establish added value, which can translate to Desire for Ownership.

Desire for ownership is created throughout the entire demonstration process, and in the jewelry business is most likely to be based on the emotional reason that the customer is buying. Some buy jewelry to show love, others commitment, status, adornment, prestige or a number of other emotional reasons. While trust is very important in the selling process, the primary reason that people buy is that they find value in the product.

Trust is the added benefit necessary to create a repeat or referral customer. In many situations, people will trust the brand, the merchant, or the name recognition. However, without value, the chance of a sale being completed is slight.

Look at any mass merchandise store in the country. The clients of these stores find value in the merchandise, and probably trust the retail company. However, I don't necessarily believe that as prospects we trust the people in these stores enough to consider them our personal salesperson. For example, it is rare you will ever see the same salesperson on any two visits to a department store. This is not the type of selling relationship that I am encouraging you to create. What I am suggesting that you create is a selling situation where the client will trust our integrity, and find value in our products based on that trust.

In today's retail environment, we can't depend on the products to sell themselves. If the products sell themselves, as they tend to in a mass merchandise situation, then salespeople wouldn't be needed. The reason most of our positions exist is that as salespeople, our job is to convince our clients that buying our products is of value to them. It is your job to create value in your prospect's view of your products and services, and to sell those products and services. The only way we will successfully fulfill our job responsibility is through creating and establishing value in our products through a successful demonstration.

It is during the demonstration when a salesperson should be at their best. Yet I see lazy, unenthusiastic, unmotivated demonstrations. I see demonstrations that are solely based on the technical aspects of the jewelry, salespeople giving benefit based presentations, and just an overall weakness in the demonstrations. Years ago, I ran across a podiatrist in the shoe business by the name of Dr. William Rossi, who stated in his book, "If you give the shoes a reason for being, you will give your customers a reason for buying". Think about this statement. It holds true with any product or service that is bought and sold on the planet.


Give the jewelry a reason for being, and you will give your customer a reason for buying.
This is what we will concentrate on during the demonstration phase, giving your customers a reason for buying. Creating and establishing the value, based on the customer's perception of value, to establish the desire of ownership and get our prospects to say those three magic words - "I'll take it!"

Features, Benefits, Agreement

The primary strategy to create value in your products is Features, Benefits, and Agreement or FBAs. Since we have already established that we need to use the NA=A/DA formula in our sales presentations, we now explore how to demonstrate the prospect's answers to our Needs Assessment questions.


First, we need to define what features and benefits actually mean in relationship to the demonstration, and then learn how to gain our prospect's agreement. Every piece of jewelry has numerous features. The definition of a Feature is: Something important or outstanding that the manufacturer, provider, or seller has either included with, eliminated from, or made available in our product or services. That is the long definition. The short definition is: What it has. Let's look at some features of various jewelry items:

Diamond Ring - Each of the 4 Cs - Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat Weight, 6 prong head, comfort fit band, 14K gold, channel set, platinum, side stones.
Watch - Two-tone band, white face, water resistant, quartz movement, kinetic, sapphire crystal, second hand, day, and date.
Earrings - Solid gold post, push on backs, screw off backs, 4 - 6 prong setting, the 4 Cs, the large table of the diamonds.

There may be dozens of features that each piece of jewelry may or may not have. The confusion doesn't come in determining what the features of our products are, the confusion comes in finding out what specific features are important to the individual prospect. You can clearly see how vital it is to master the Needs Assessment step.


The definition of a Benefit is: What the feature will do for, or give to, the prospect. We need to understand that prospects don't buy features. What they do buy is the benefit of the feature and what it will do for them. We all want our purchases to do something for us, don't we? This is the reason that we need to discover not only what the prospect's needs are, but also why they need it. In order to demonstrate the appropriate benefit, we need to demonstrate what and why.


Some examples of the difference between features, and benefits are:


Item: Diamond Ring
Feature: Six prong head
Benefit: Will make your diamond very secure
Item: Watch
Feature: Two-tone band
Benefit: Will be versatile to wear with dress and casual
Item: Diamond Earrings
Feature: Screw off back
Benefit: Won't lose them easily


Do you see how features and benefits will merge with the prospect's needs and wants? The importance of presenting your features and benefits based on the Needs Assessment is monumental. If you haven't determined your prospect's needs and wants, the features and benefits you will be presenting will be your own. If they happen to match, it is purely coincidental.


The definition of an Agreement Question is: A question that is asked to gain agreement on the Feature and Benefit. An Agreement Question is simply asking a question or restating the benefit as a question to get a "yes" answer.
In order to clearly define the Agreement segment of the FBA technique, I will repeat the previous scenarios, giving you a sample of an Agreement Question with each example.


Item: Diamond Ring
Feature: Six prong head
Benefit: Will make your diamond very secure
Agreement: Security is an important consideration isn't it?
Item: Watch
Feature: Two-tone band
Benefit: Will be versatile to wear with dress and casual
Agreement: As you mentioned versatility is important, isn't it?
Item: Diamond Earrings
Feature: Screw off back
Benefit: Won't lose them easily
Agreement: Knowing you won't lose your earrings is comforting, don't you think?

While I agree these FBAs look a bit ridiculous written on paper, I guarantee that your prospects will love them, and react to them, when spoken. Again, the trick is to make your FBAs as customized and personally appealing to the prospect as possible. The only way this can happen is through a complete Needs Assessment.

You probably have two questions that now must be answered: "How do I word my FBAs?" "How many FBAs should I give the prospect in the presentation?" To answer the first question, your FBAs should be worded as follows: the phrase prior to the feature of the first FBA that you deliver should start with: "One of the nice things about this ____ is that it has ____ which means ____." OR "One of the great features about this ____ is ____making it ____."

The reason to start your first FBA with "One of the nice things" or "One of the great features" or some variation of these words, is because they imply that there are numerous nice or great things about your product. It then follows that the balance of the FBAs that you deliver to your prospect should start with "another nice feature" or a variation on these words. The words to use before giving the Benefit to your prospect are "which means" or "which will give you." These words will clearly deliver the message of what the benefit will do for them.

A complete FBA may sound something like the following:


"One of the great things about this diamond ring is that the diamond is mounted in a six prong head, which makes the diamond very secure, and as you mentioned, security is important to you, true?"

"One of the great features about this watch is that it has a two-tone band, which makes it very versatile, and being able to wear it for both dress and casual was a consideration, wasn't it?"

"Something you'll love about these earrings is that they have a screw off back, which means you won't lose them nearly as easily as the other earrings you mentioned. Nice, aren't they?"

There is no exact answer as to how many FBAs you should give during your demonstration. It would depend on the technical aspect, or possibly the price point, of your products. The real answer lies in how many FBAs it will take to create enough value in the mind of your prospects for them to be willing to exchange their money for your product.

If you feel you are not getting very good indicators from your prospects during your demonstration, it may be time to go back to the Needs Assessment. You should be able to see the answer in their eyes and tell from their body language once you have gathered enough information about their wants and needs. Remember, the eyes are the windows to the soul, watch for the indicators during your demonstration. Using this FBA strategy, you will create more value in your prospect's eyes.

The professional will fine-tune this strategy to the point where they are giving FBAs on the more in-depth personal or emotional reasons why people buy their products rather than on the superficial or technical features that average salespeople will draw from their prospects. For example: when selling jewelry, you are selling love and romance rather than simply gold and diamonds. The sophisticated professional salesperson sells on the emotional reasons that their customers buy rather than the simple or obvious features and benefits.

Sharpen your skills by working on your features, benefits, and agreement questions. Remember selling is a circle of steps, which will lead your prospects to say "yes," and that is what you want to hear isn't it?

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken authored the books "I'M a salesman! Not a PhD." and "Munchies For Salespeople, Selling Tips That You Can Sink Your Teeth Into," he developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, "The Employee Handbook" and "Policy & Procedures Manual," The Weekly Sales Training Meeting series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers, along with the new Weekly Jewelry Sales Training Series. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called "Sales Insight" For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.iastraining.com or fax 303-936-9581.

 
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