One of the key lessons that Golden Coast learned, as it rose to become one of Britain’s biggest suppliers of water leisure products to the trade, was the importance of building relationships.
Having applied the principles and psychology of relationship building very successfully itself, the company is keen to help its trade customers to use them out in the field.
It would be very surprising if a customer instantly decided to buy something as large as a pool or spa from a complete stranger, but even in the case of a pack of chemicals, there is more chance of a sale if some emotional bond exists between the two people. A customer who likes and trusts the salesperson will be less likely to switch suppliers – even if it means saving money.
The development of such a relationship takes time and, importantly, involves careful listening. You must try to understand the sort of people your customers are, what their needs are, and how they might justify to themselves the purchase of a large item.
For one person the justification might be to show love for his or her family, or to encourage them to spend more time together. Another might be motivated by ambition, self-reward or even a desire to exhibit success. There are many other justifications and combinations of justifying factors.
It may sound like an over-simplification, but if you can first make the customer fall in love with the product, by showing it in the right environment and with the right associations, and then demonstrate that it makes sound sense in relation to the justifications you have established, you will have achieved the all important agreement between the customer’s heart and head.
Starting on a smaller level, when selling chemicals, spares or call outs, you should avoid shouting about the price and instead concentrate on making it clear that you care about your customer and share his values.
A simple example of an approach that works is ‘buy one and I’ll give you another’. This seems generous and caring, as opposed to a half-price deal which can sound desperate or cheap. Another idea is offering a free service visit if the customer agrees to buy all his or her chemicals from you for a year – which effectively creates a partnership between you.
These ideas and many more can be found, in full detail, in Golden Coast’s free e-book, Wet Leisure Guide to Marketing, which can be downloaded from the Golden Coast website.
Tel. +44 (0)1271 378100