“Everything is temporary”, this has been my mantra for the past several years. Whether a situation is good or a situation is terrible, it will eventually end and a new situation will begin. This rings true not only for our personal path but also in our careers.
Sometimes I feel some company’s keep things too temporary, brining in only one test shipment of a product, then never reordering it again. While some beat the same old drum of the same old product day after day for years (this normally signifies to me that the company is struggling too much financially to afford research and a new line of product).
- Moving away form old product and introducing new product is how the company keeps the same customers returning for more.
- It is vital to be up to date on the latest technology in particular product focus categories.
Although these changes should be looked at positively I saw the change break many sales associates and managers alike. I know the company I worked for once sold paper lanterns at six dollars a piece. Finally after nearly two decades of selling these same lanterns they decided to cut that department and find something new and fresh to keep with an actual growing trend. I had managers calling me later that month, “I’m falling behind on sales, it’s all because I can’t sell lanterns anymore.”
“You’re telling me that you are 5,000 dollars short of your goal this month because you are fixated on the fact that you no longer have the six dollar lanterns to sell, but instead a newer more trendy model of product?”
“Yes.” Many times we allow change to handicap our growth. Instead of holding onto what is lost, we must focus on what is new.
Presently Apple is prepping their sales associates for an upcoming paradox where for the first time for Apple technology will collide with fashion. The new Apple watch will be released April 24th, and employees are being trained to offer fashion advice. This will be the first actual product that customers will have to wear day in and day out. Unlike a cell phone this device will be on your arm in sight whether you are at work, at the mall, or out partying. This same device must be able to act as a chameleon to your many costume changes a day, so Apple employees must alter their perspectives to offer the most sound and sensible advice beyond the awesome technical features.
At first they will be practicing only with the two personas they were presented with in fashion training, A woman who has not worn a watch in years and the trendy jock like character. This is a great building block, but this will not be where their training stops. A sales associate must take it upon themselves to learn their unique customer categories (that we all have in our heads) and really observe their preferences and trends. They can excitedly and eagerly implore with the customers what should be chosen and have the customer verbalize their rationalities in order to help them with future customers. Our customers are our greatest teachers.
- What is the customer’s intended use for the product?
- What are their definite likes and dislikes about different details of the product?
- What features do they hold to the highest priority and why?
- How will the product fit into their day to day life?
Once again I urge everyone to keep a sales journal of observations made about different products and the customers that purchase them.
Image Courtesy of: HéctorTabaré