“Where’re the shovels?” I ask the hardware store clerk.
‘”Aisle four.” Now many people use a shovel to dig holes for plants. That means they are buying plants and fertilizer.
The closer these items are to each other the more likely we will go to that place to buy them. How would we know that store has all three?
Three ways: We’ve been to the store before, we say the items in different parts of an ad or we called and asked.
Of course not all products should be displayed by situation. Yet every consumer-serving outlet could benefit from displaying at least one situation-centered product grouping and signage and/or a poster with a picture of the situation.
Reduce the number of motions it takes for someone to buy (more) from you
That’s because most people sell by category of product or service rather than by situation – how that product will be used. The customer must become the collector of information – what to get where. That takes time. And if all the products are not in the same store – or are located in different parts of the store, then the customer has to spend more time on the task.
Sell by Situation
What if the hardware store created large posters on the wall, featuring a situation sale “Fall Garden Fix-Up” with an image of the assembled products one might need? What if that store set aside a small display place where these products were gathered – a place customers would glance at, coming in the door – to see if the current situational display interested them? Per-customer buying might go up.
Give Customers a Picture of the Solved Situation
Some posters might show the products needed to serve the situation. Others might show the successful end result of using them – say a before and after photo of bushes that had been cut back for Fall Fix-Up?
How might this work for you? Here are three other examples to prime the pump of your creative thinking:
1. Offer business start-ups a mix of office support services so they can buy the one that matches their specific situation. That’s what Sunshine Suites does. From a virtual office ( place to meet clients and mail and receive packages) to a co-working space or office space - just for your start-up all located in a building with other start-ups. What “space available”-related situation could you serve frugal-minded people?
The tempting bonus benefit Sunshine Suites offers? Enabling tenants to connect and sometimes partner, as this blog advocates: “They hold regular networking events and panel discussions. They created a database application so Shiners could search for other tenants by industry. There’s even a ski vacation home in Vermont for offsite meetings.”
2. “Plan your post-tax season vacation now so you can daydream about it when your brain is fried from long hours of work.”
That was the headline in an email and mailing sent to tax professionals. Since CPAs and AEs are busiest in tax season yet need a nudge to plan the getaway time. I worked with my travel agency client to launch a situation sale in September – aimed at this market. That’s when tax professionals start feeling the tension of the impending workload. Creating suggested vacation packages that are ideal for that post tax season time and offering them now means we stepped into the shoes of the people we sought to serve and saw the world their way.
3. Travel kit of hair and skin care
That’s the situation sale sign we posted in a hair salon and in a spa. It was above a bag surrounded by travel-size shampoo and other products. Clients saw it, could quickly pick the mix of small items they needed, sometimes including the travel bag and buy it before they headed out the door.
How to start selling situationally
1. Vividly describe and display (on a wall or web site) the situations that your customers face, list and/or show the products they need to serve that situation and enable them to buy the needed items quickly.
2. How can you reduce the number of motions and the time it takes for people to see the situation then buy from you?
3. What other products or services are needed to create that situation - or solve that problem? For example some hardware stores have nursery sections If one didn’t then the store could partner with a nursery, co-create a poster and refer to the products in each other’s outlets.
Many people don’t want to plant their garden more maintain it. Then the store could recruit reputable landscapers and garden maintenance firms, list them on a single sheet that includes the situational sale items and have s counter-top plexiglass stand to display the sheets.
Absolute Paradise is the reason that situational selling method popped into my mind today. I crossed paths with the owner of Absolute Paradise, Joyce Cameron. I love the image she evokes and tinkered with it a tiny bit. (Next task: a list of the dream items for the back yard and perhaps one set of “before and after” photos):
Still a bad economy? Come home to a good vacation every day
Let us help you create an absolute paradise in your back yard - a vacation to come home to every day of your life. Your paradise may have an outdoor spa, gazebo or more. With 15 years of experience in creating such getaway places we know how to build them right the first time. That way you won’t have repair worries and can simply start enjoying great vacation living at home.