The cross-utility of sales advice


Sales consultancy Associates Interactive has taken note of soft holiday sales in the retail electronics field, and provided some pointers to pick things up in the face of an even tougher economy in the near future. Electronics retailers face a critical task this year, with the DTV conversion looming (which should be a shot in the arm for business). And the points could also apply to broadcast time sales.

AI says as consumers hold more tightly onto their cash, sales associates will require more expertise — "consumers will still pay a premium for a consultative purchasing experience." Technical knowledge must be combined with conversational skills, skills which can be taught for those without the natural gift of gab. Associates should be experts in at least one key part of the business, rather than have limited knowledge of many. Associates should bundle complete solutions. Finally, associate expertise should be a key marketing point for the business as a whole.

RBR/TVBR observation: What you don’t do is lop off the entire top of your sales staff as a cost cutting measure, as Circuit City did last year. Consumer electronics are not our main area of focus (and AI warns us not to worry to much about our areas of limited knowledge), but that move was widely criticized by just about all observers, and we recall that the retailer spent most of the year scrambling to recover.

For retailers, the need for DTV and other digital specialists is utterly obvious.

For broadcasters, the message is to make sure sales associates understand what types of business would be a good fit for the station, and have enough knowledge, with support from the full staff, to get a client’s campaign from conception to customers walking in the door, and every step in between.