Let’s Improve Your Demonstration Skills

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. (more…)

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What part of selling is the “Human Factor?”

I know everyone is so focused on social media and content creation, but that’s only the beginning of the sales cycle. When people identify themselves, who makes the sale – the internet or a person? I’d say unless you’re selling a commodity or selling on price, there needs to be interaction with a person(s) along the way. In other words, the Human Factor takes over.

I’ve been in the sales game for over 40 years and I’m here to tell you times have changed and if you don’t adapt, you’re going to be working harder, not smarter. More importantly, we all need to try to improve ourselves and those around us.


I just finished a great book by Daniel H. Pink titled To Sell is Human. It goes into who is selling now, how they should approach it and great tips on being more effective.

Here are some highlights that I got out of it:

  • The A,B,C’s of selling no longer apply – You can’t be always closing because folks will turn you off. You need honesty, fairness and transparency. No longer is it a buyer’s beware, instead it’s a seller’s beware landscape.
  • 25% of our waking hours are spent listening – That’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth. We need to learn how to ask better questions and then listen.
  • We spend 41% of our time trying to persuade someone to do something we want – that pretty much makes us all salesmen of one sort or another.
  • Non-selling is the key to success – instead of trying to upsell someone, try upserving them and see what happens. It will transform the mundane into something memorable, and guess who they are going to buy from?

The key to selling is being able to move others to your way of thinking and times have changed. The book is a good read. Enjoy.

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