I did enjoy coming across the current BBC Worldwide series, Million Dollar Intern.
They take an ailing business and let loose a young buck to revive it.
A neat take on the ‘Troubleshooter’ theme.
One show featured a small amount on selling. Retail sales of lavender infused fayre.
You do raise your eyebrow at how the ‘client’ was chosen. Mainly because the remedies are pretty plain from the off.
At a Yorkshire lavender farm, the boss didn’t delegate, their main asset (a wonderful oil press ‘still’) was being ignored (not even on the tour) and their merchandising was from the darkest corners of the Eighties.
Still credit where it’s due, the 24 year old app designer sussed this out and (no doubt with a hefty production department to guide and advise too) made plans.
Here for instance, is their packaging’s before-and-after.
No contest. And as I always say, don’t be afraid to charge a premium where you deserve it. Most sellers sadly live in fear of this. The delightful trip to York races ladies’ day proved they could command a proper price for their products.
At a local department store, where their original wares were placed on display among the international beauty brands with alarming pennies dropping, an expert in cosmetic sales passed on tips. The section was less than a minute of the show.
Whilst showing up the Intern’s lack of knowledge and experience in this area (he implies that to be a good salesperson you must be an extrovert, which is patently untrue, as shown by Adam Grant and others) the expert, Lydia, made valuable comments.
The pitches of the husband-and-wife owners was typical of first-time efforts. As they held a moisturiser aloft, they included this kind of ‘telling’;
“…we’re a family run firm within the area, we are unique in that we have our own distillery on-site…”
“…I’d like you to try this hand and body lotion my dear, you can smell it…”
Lydia was unimpressed.
“The number one thing you guys need to find out is what do your customers need, what do they want.
So it’s just finding that little bit so you can sell to the benefits.
You’re already telling me them, but why do I need them?”
Lydia loved the product and implored them to go out and sell it to stop doing it an “injustice”.
And surely this is one of the most voracious of selling traps; tell tell tell.
All that each of the owners did was fly headlong into a feature-based punt. According to Lydia, even a simple question – presumably along the lines of what they’re looking for – makes the world of difference. And your subsequent pitch morphs accordingly. All selling is the same in this regard. From retail through b2b.