Building a Successful Accessory Sales Culture
The one thing we can all count on in today’s wireless world is that the ground beneath our feet changes faster than the battery meter on a tier three handset. As post-paid and pre-paid worlds collide, not only are we are all fighting for market share, but we’re also all trying to figure out how to maximize the value of each and every door swing.
With rapid door growth and decreasing length of staff tenure, the challenges in building a model that is profitable and sustainable are very real. After working with partners across many carriers and varying geographies, we have found a very consistent set of best practices that most successful organizations implement. In lieu of another tired “Top 10 List”, instead we offer you the 7 Golden Rules of Accessory Sales.
7. Money Talks
It is impossible... Not even a little bit possible... to motivate a group of sales professionals without providing the potential of a sizable carrot. Selling accessories is work and nobody works for “free”.
6. Ducks in a Row
If your organization’s primary success barometer is accessory profit, then your compensation should be aligned on the same axis. Well run organizations have alignment from front line employees all the way up to the executive level. If they don’t, there will be a disconnect regarding what is truly important.
5. Stock What You Need, Need What You Stock
The cardinal sin of most organizations is being either over or under stocked. Understanding appropriate min/max’s, projecting sales trends, and monitoring products approaching end of life takes focus and good partner relationships that go beyond traditional VMI. Empty pegs are sales killers and back rooms overflowing with excess inventory are cash killers. Good organizations have a strong understanding of how to walk the line consistently and build partnerships that help them execute best practices without worry. (more on this later)
4. Wash Rinse Repeat
Walk into any Starbucks across the country and you’ll experience deja vu. From your drink and pastry order to the barista’s winning smile, it all feels familiar whether your order that Latte in Bangor or Baltimore. Walk into many wireless stores, and the way sales, bundles, discounts, etc... are executed vary greatly since protocol is often driven by the discretion of a store manager. The best organizations have a way of doing things that allows them to manage, grow, and measure their organization to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. In organizations like Starbucks, they are always comparing lattes to lattes, which leaves little room for error.
Believe it or not, the largest failure point in accessory sales is not because of price, quality, packaging, etc…. More than 90% of the failure is that the representative neglected to present the accessory in the first place. High powered sales cultures ensure that at the very least every customer that swings a door receives the offer.
3. Training Counts in Large Amounts
Most successful organizations place a huge priority and investment on training. Why? Because it dramatically improves the customer experience as well as profitability. Another welcome side effect: Training enhances employee retention. When organizations invest in their employees, employees feel the love and begin to see a future with the people who have invested in their development. They tend to stay longer when they’re learning, growing, and given opportunity to expand their skill set. Many of the groups we see think about training in the context of product knowledge, which is important, but not nearly as important as providing a consistent training process that the organization follows. Remember, training is a never-ending process, not a singular or annual event. If you want to be healthy, you exercise regularly, not just on the days your pants feel tight.
2. You Get What You Pay For
If you take nothing else away from this article, please remember this: Carrying poor quality items in sub-par packaging is a race to the bottom and a sure-fire way to minimize profitability. The truth is, nobody’s eager to buy junk so don’t create that perception.
Top flight organizations understand that in order to defend MSRP and maximize their customer experience, they must carry a quality product that’s well presented. Things like a lifetime warranty, premium packaging, MFI and Qualcomm certification, are just a few non-negotiables you’ll want to check off of your criteria list when evaluating a product line.
1. Work With Winners
The landscape is littered with all different kinds of organizations. Stop and ask yourself if their practices and policies are in alignment with what is best for your business. Do they sell their products on Amazon or Ebay at prices below MSRP? Do they force you to order in quantities that are not ideal? Do they allow stock balancing so you are not stuck with aging inventory?
Bad partnerships are like bad relationships. Sometimes we stay simply because we’ve been in them for so long that we forget we have other choices. Don’t be afraid to evaluate your partners on a regular basis and be willing to entertain the idea of change if you think it can help your organization become stronger.
Regardless of what products go in or out of favor in the wireless space, the best practices outlined above will serve your organization well in any business climate. A profitable, scalable accessory culture will yield an accessory profit per handset that is 50% to 100% better than the average. So remember, every consumer that purchases a handset will be purchasing accessories. The only question that remains is: Will they will be buying them from you… or someone else?
Lee Terkel is a career sales and marketing professional with a long-standing focus on growing organizations around the belief that if you build a great culture, then anything is possible. With over 20 years of experience in both Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial companies, Lee brings a wealth of passion and vision to his role as VP of Sales and Marketing at cellhelmet. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, Lee is an avid fly fisher and father of four. Visit cellhelmet at www.cellhelmet.com.