Let’s step outside for just a few minutes. One of the best places to learn about your strengths and weaknesses is through your competition. Far too often salespeople don’t see beyond the four walls they work inside for hours every week. This can cause a salesperson to sell with blinders on.
The customers are shopping from place to place and see all of the differences between jewelry stores. For you to not have the same information (or more) as your potential customers is simply foolish. From the outside looking in, I would guess that everyone looks pretty much the same. The real differences become apparent once the door has been opened. Shop your competition as the customer does, with the intent to buy something. Ask questions to learn what the hot sellers are, observe the pricing structure, and see when they offer a discount. Take notice of whether the presentation is customer-driven or if the salesperson is trying to sell you on why they like the jewelry. Note the questions that they ask. See if they try to proactively close the sale or attempt to get your name address and phone number. Make an active effort to determine your competitive advantages against the competition, or the competitions against your own company.
The name of the game is to stay six months to a year ahead of anything the competition is doing. If you are now the “top dog” in the marketplace, I assure you someone at some point will be trying to knock you to second place. I also assure you that your competition is probably shopping you. Great businesspeople know and understand that the business must be in a constant state of change in order to reach the top and to remain on top. I would also encourage you to ask the competition questions about your organization. See what they are saying about you and your company. It may be very enlightening.
There is a wealth of information available to you in the business down the street. There are hundreds if not thousands of things you can learn by keeping an eye ahead of you, behind you, and next to you. Lose sight of the competition and chances are they’ll be so far ahead that you may never see them again. The top dog has the best position and view by far. Be that top dog by stepping outside every now and then! In many cases you will find that the only difference—from a customer’s prospective—is the people working in the store.
Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is president of IAS Training. He publishes a free weekly newsletter called Sales Insight. For a free subscription or more information on training, contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703, firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 303-936-9581, or visit the website at iastraining.com.@jckmagazine
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