I recently bought furniture from a regional retailer and worked with a young man named Bryce. He was professional, knowledgeable, and obviously knew that it was his job to offer furniture protection plans with every sale. It was the method that Bryce chose to offer the plan that stood out to me.
During the shopping process, I picked up a tent card promoting the fabric protection aspect of some upholstery. While I was looking it over, Bryce mentioned ‘… and that protects you from what they are going to do to it!” I happened to be shopping with my wife and three children, and Bryce was politely referring to the same kids that, only moments earlier, I had to remind to keep their shoes off the furniture in the showroom.
It was not a pushy sale, but it was evidence that Bryce was paying attention to what was relevant to me at my stage in life.
When any of our trainers associated with Nationwide Marketing Group go in to do a sales training on Product Protection, we always use the word ‘recommend.’ Yes, we are selling protection plans to our customers. But success in Protection Plan selling is all about how you offer it. Regardless of if you are selling a power recliner or a washing machine, the key is to identify what matters the most to your specific customer and recommend coverage as the solution to what might inconvenience them the most.
Had Bryce simply started listing off all the coverages of the protection plan, we would have likely turned him down. Sometimes, selling protection plans sounds like convincing someone that they need to buy coverage by using the fear factor. “What if… your refrigerator breaks?” “What if… you spill coffee on your sofa?” That’s all well and good and true, and for some customers that’s enough to convince them to buy a protection plan. But, in order to have more customers add coverage, try something like:
“We have a protection program that we offer to every customer because we believe it adds value in every situation. For you specifically, I recommend adding coverage because you mentioned (reasons 1, 2, and 3).”
It becomes difficult for a customer to argue against their own situation, and if you truly have identified the customer’s needs, then the decision shifts away from price and moves to risk exposure. A phrase like that sure does sound better than a last-ditch request to add coverage at the payment counter, and it shows the customer that you have been paying attention to their needs and situation.
Remember, as the salesperson, you are the professional. You are the one with the knowledge on product and process, and your recommendation carries significant weight. You’ve likely walked the customer through different features of the product, highlighted the drawbacks of some units and compared them to the benefits of other units in an effort to find the best fit for the customer. Don’t stop your momentum there! Keep going, and use your professional recommendation to help the customer protect themselves from the frustration of a breakdown or damage.
Just like Bryce used my situation to make a subtle recommendation, identify what matters most to your customer, and help them add protection by recommending rather than by selling bullet point coverages.
This article was first published in the July 2021 issue of Retail Observer.
Chad Burris is responsible for product protection program development for Nationwide Marketing Group