You may have heard the saying, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something,” but if you don’t know what kind of sale your business is making, those sales will be few and far between. (For more information on the characteristics of the Major Sale and the Minor sale, check out Improving Advertising Performance.)
Understanding how the buying process works can mean the difference between relentlessly throwing money at your “marketing problem” or successfully creating a powerful marketing strategy that ultimately improves your bottom line.
I’d like to share how our family moved through a major sale purchase and how one business owner’s ability to understand the type of sale his business was making allowed him to not only make the sale – but to sell the item at a 20% premium.
It all began innocently enough. I was dropping off paperwork to an office in a strip mall when I saw the sign which read, “Exotic Birds”. A few weeks later, the kids were in the car and we had time to kill between sporting event practices so we stopped by the exotic bird store for entertainment purposes.
I should note here that we are not totally inexperienced with birds. About 8 years ago we purchased a cockatiel for my daughter from a friend of a friend. This person owned a male and a female bird and had allowed nature to take its course. We didn’t research our decision, and we received no direction from the “breeder” and as a result, we had a brief but unhappy bird ownership experience.
In other words, as a result of our first experience, we learned that we didn’t know anything about buying or keeping birds.
Much to my surprise, despite our previous “foul” experience with bird ownership, our visit to the exotic bird store rekindled my daughter’s love of birds. She was joined by my youngest (who was too young to remember the initial bird experience)who also declared that he too desperately wanted a bird for a pet. This set into motion the purchase of an exotic bird (cost $1600 plus another $1000 for cage and supplies). It provides an excellent example of what is going on from the buyer’s point of view during the major sale.
All the criteria for a major sale were present in our decision.
- There was more than one decision maker.
The entire family had to be “on board” for this to happen. My children and my husband spent weeks petitioning me to get me to agree.
- There is significant financial/emotional investment on the part of the buyer.
Not only was the financial investment significant (I should have known that “exotic” = $$$$$) but the emotional investment level was high as well. This bird would become a part of our family. We had loved a pet bird only to watch it die years before and I definitely did NOT want a repeat of that experience.
- The purchase warrants significant time and research into alternatives.
I’ll admit that I looked into adopting a special needs orphan refugee as an alternative. While it appeared that decision would cost less and be less disruptive than adding an exotic bird to our family, the kids and my husband insisted upon the bird instead.
- There is the potential of a long-term relationship between you and your customer.
I had no idea coming in how much “relationship” would be involved in this transaction. We were constantly returning to the store for supplies and much needed advice on owning an exotic bird.
- The consequences of making a purchasing mistake are high.
The consequences to making a purchasing mistake here were literally SKY HIGH. My children’s hearts would be broken if something went wrong here. Not only will my children be emotionally distraught, but I knew that I’d never be able to recoup the initial investment.
I recognized that we were descending down the path to the major sale from the second visit to the bird store, so I made it a point to keep a record of what was going on during the process.
Since my husband had to be included in the decision, we tried to stop by the store front one evening only to discover the store was closed. However, the web site address was painted on the store window so we visited the website.
The store’s website is not superbly designed by any means. Images were missing and the design was crappy, but the information contained within was EXACTLY what we needed. Not only was there a list of the birds available but there were also descriptions of each type of bird.
The store’s decision to fill their website rich with educational and informational content helped to quell our fears that we might make a purchasing mistake. Remember, we recognized that we didn’t know all we needed to know – and this store’s website did a great job of educating us on what we needed to know to make a wise purchasing decision.
Over the next few weeks, we made several visits to the store and even more visits to the web site. We searched and we read and most importantly, we talked. We talked to the breeders at the store. We talked to friends and neighbors. In the end, we bought a bird from these breeders because of their extensive knowledge and experience… which they first relayed to us via their website.
It took us almost a month to put down a deposit on our hatchling. Even then, it would be more than two more months for little Beldar to be ready to come home with us. To say I was petrified wouldn’t describe the level of terror I felt. I would have felt more comfortable bringing home the special needs orphan refugee.
In the end, the store’s web site was the most influential factor on our decision to purchase the bird from this breeder. We visited several other websites before we made our final purchasing decision, but none of the other stores’ web sites showcased their “expertise.” As a result, we didn’t even try to visit any other pet stores. One of the other bird breeder websites stood out from the rest because they actually listed the birds which were available as well as their prices. However, there wasn’t the other essential information we felt we needed to trust them with our purchase. By the way, the breed of bird we chose was listed on that site as costing 20% LESS than we paid for our bird.
The wealth of information available at the store’s website played a significant role in our decision to purchase a bird, cage and supplies from this particular store. Remember, we spent HUNDREDS of dollars above the price for the same breed of bird advertised by another pet store in the area.
If you’re in the business of making a ‘major’ sale, don’t underestimate the power information plays in making the sale.
Your web site is a great way to showcase your expertise by sharing information potential buyers need. Filling your site with articles, how to’s and top 10 lists really do help to convince visitors to take the next step and walk into your store or pick up the phone to schedule an appointment.