Each month, Alan Sipe, a contributing editor for Professional Distributor magazine, writes a sales skill article targeted to the independent business people who own and operate the various branded tool trucks you see parked at automotive repair shops everywhere. Although this article is written for the automotive repair industry, the sales skills are applicable to everyone.
Practice feature, advantage, benefit selling … and create some videos.
All the cool stuff you ordered at your recent major jobber show or from your recent promotions is in and your mobile store is filled to the top. Your credit line is stretched to, or even past, its limit. Adding to this situation is the fact that COVID-19 is giving everyone good reason to keep their distance and be conservative with their purchases. Additionally, since most of us are not driving our vehicles very
much, our cars are not breaking down and the rate of collisions has decreased.
If you are still making your calls, each one must be more productive than ever. And if you are working from home, getting those sales is more difficult than ever. So, what’s a mobile jobber to do? The answer is to demonstrate your products better than ever. Remember: a presentation without demonstration is a wasted conversation. As a wagon jobber, you offer the technicians several benefits that other merchants can’t or won’t. Things like on-the-spot sales/service, repair or replacement of broken products, specialty products that are very hard to find elsewhere, a wide variety of products, excellent credit terms, and the knowledge to present the right tool for the job to be done.
What you cannot do is compete on price. Therefore, you must be a better salesperson than any online picture or description, and significantly better than the next mobile jobber coming through the door.
Let’s get to the point. If you want to sell more stuff, make your calls, give great demonstrations and ask for the order. Do that enough times and you will sell something. Do it better and better each time and you will make more sales.
It is very important for you to know the product features, advantages, and benefits before you start your presentation. The feature simply is what it is: “This unit has a USB port.” The advantage is what it does: “This USB port will power and charge your phone, tablet, and other electronics.” The benefit describes how it impacts the user: “This handy feature will help you keep your electronics ready for use at any time and stop those annoying dead battery delays.”
Again, the feature is simply what it is. The advantage is what it does. To you, the benefit may be so logical that you may feel silly mentioning it. Present it anyway! You are not selling to yourself; you are selling a product to your prospect. Don’t assume what they do or do not know. In fact, presume they know nothing and you will be better off. Think of it this way: your demonstration is no different than singing a song or performing in a play. Every time AC/DC performs “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” they sing every word. They leave out nothing, even though their fans know every word. Performing a demo is no different. Leave out nothing. That one little feature or benefit that you omit may be exactly the one that convinces your prospect to buy.
I always found it easiest to do a tool demo from end to end so I wouldn’t forget anything. For example, when presenting a screwdriver, demonstrate the features starting at the tip and end at the handle; present all the important features the tool has in that order.
Bring your presentation logic home to the prospect. Make it meaningful to the person you are speaking to. Explain what the benefit to them is. Tell the BMW technician how your tool will help them do their specific job better and faster. “You know how hard it is to get way down into a BMW steering column to turn the fasteners? This 24” screwdriver will make that task a breeze.” Or, “You know how easy it is for a drill bit to skid when it starts and gives you an off-center hole, or worse, it scratches your customer’s paint? This CatsPaw automatic center punch easily produces an indentation that will position the hole correctly every time.”
Feature, Advantage, Benefit Selling
Both of these statements are logical and personal to any customer who works on BMWs or drills holes. Feature, advantage, benefit (FAB) selling is easy once you get accustomed to presenting this way. The following is a sample screwdriver presentation to help you get the feel for FAB selling.
F: The tip of this screwdriver is profilated (machined), not simply stamped.
A: Profilating ensures that each tip is perfect and fits each screw precisely.
B: This will really help you hold tight on the screws you are turning and eliminate stripping their heads.
F: You will notice the tip is black oxide and not chrome.
A: Black oxide will not chip off like a chrome tip can.
B: This will eliminate the possibility of chrome chips getting into any electronics, which will cause you and your customer all kinds of problems.
F: The blade is made from high alloy German steel.
A: High alloy German steel is light and very strong.
B: This steel makes it almost impossible to break the blade and really reduces the possibility
of chipping the tip, which is very annoying when it happens.
F: Notice that on the end of the blade that goes into the handle there is a wide wing about the size of your thumbnail.
A: This wide wing is molded into the handle, not inserted as with some screwdrivers.
B: Molded in, this blade is impossible to turn in the handle. You will never be able to pull the blade out or drive it through the handle no matter how many times you whack it.
F: The handle is manufactured using a propylene material. This material is very similar to what they make skateboard wheels out of.
A: As we all know, skateboard wheels will take a heck of a beating.
B: This means your screwdriver is designed to take the hard use a professional like you demands.
F: This screwdriver has microfiber fused into the handle. It feels a bit like Velcro.
A: This microfiber gives you a great grip, even when your hands are slippery with grease, oil, or perspiration.
B: This feature gives you the advantage of working faster and safer, since you will not need to get another tool to remove a fastener.
F: And finally, the butt end of the handle has tip identification stamped into it.
A: This marking lets you see exactly which screwdriver you are reaching for, even if you can’t see the tip.
B: This feature helps you work faster and eliminates the frustration of getting to the vehicle and having the wrong tipped
Show It With Video
Here’s an idea that initially may sound a bit silly, but if you ponder it for a while, I know you can pull it off … and selling something is much better than selling nothing. Produce your very own demonstration sales videos using your phone’s camera. I know, I know … you are not a video producer; you don’t own an expensive video camera; you don’t have a studio; and you are afraid you will not sound professional in the video. Well I know that, you know that, and your customers know that … but don’t let that stop you.
This does not need to be a Stephen Spielberg high-tech production. Just get your phone out, get in the back of your mobile store or in your shop, have someone hold the camera, and record a one- to two-minute presentation. Email or message the demo to your customers and follow-up by phone the next day to close the deal. The video won’t be perfect, but it will accomplish several things: It will get your good-looking, smiling face in front of your customers (okay, scratch the good-looking part). Your customers will know you are still around and thinking of them. You will be educating your customers on some part of your product line, or maybe showing them something they haven’t seen before. You could simply review the latest promo brochure highlighting the great deals and use that material in your video. Sure, this is new to you, but you will sell more than if you just do nothing.
Some Final Thoughts On Demonstrations
Do not hand the tool you are demonstrating to the prospect until you are done with your demo. Sometimes when you hand the tool to the prospect, they go deaf and will not hear anything you are saying. When they reach for the tool, just say, “Let me show you a few more things first.” Whenever possible, use a physical prop to help your demo. Some companies offer demonstration tubes with their screwdrivers so the prospect and the jobber can test the tool’s features.
If you want to learn more about selling benefits, go to YouTube and type in: “To Sell More, Sell Benefits Not Just Features.” This video is from a group named “edurepublic” and is an excellent video. Finally, don’t forget to trial close between several of the features and ask for the order when you are done. Now, go sell something … and be safe.