Very few retail sales professionals receive structured sales training to help them sell into retail. They're often trained in general sales techniques: how to overcome objections and how to close. But very few are trained in the disciplined, productive and logical steps necessary to maximise sales of their products into and out of retail.
This course carefully and simply takes both new and seasoned sales professionals through these proven steps for successful sales to retailers. Three areas are covered: the steps to a classic sales and buying call - a call where you are talking to a retail buyer; the steps to a corporate retail store call - a call where the store is not in a position to buy directly from you but where you can influence the retailer to sell-through more of your products; the final area covered is a call that gives you structure around how to overcome the 5 key objections retailers raise when buying products from you. Following these steps will give the tools to confidently and calmly improve your retail sales and boost your relationships with the retailers you deal with. It will also give you a structure and tools to help you build your reputation as a trusted advisor and shopper marketing expert in the eyes of your retail customers.
In this lecture, Kevin Moore explains that this course is relevant to any sales person that deals with any form of retail. Why? Because the course puts the shopper at the middle of the world so that you can sell the right volume of the right items into the store.
Kevin also points out that the key thing to remember is that, as a salesperson, you are an expert at what you do - your skills, knowledge and experience are of value to a retailer as you can help create solutions and help them sell products through their stores.
Kevin then goes on to explain that this course covers three types of call: a classic sales and buying call where you are selling into a retail buyer; a corporate retail store call - an influencer call - where you can't sell product directly in but you can influence how much of a product the store sells; and finally, the steps to overcoming a retailer's objections.
So why listen to Kevin Moore? He started out in retail sales 28 years ago and received three months of formal sales training. Over the years, he used that training to train thousands of other retail sales people of which these steps are, he believes, the core to successful retail sales. It helped him build a business from 80 to over 2,500 sales and merchandising employees - a business that he is now a Chairman of. Even today, Kevin makes calls on the retailers he services and helps merchandise new products in store so as to keep him in touch with what's going on in the retail world.
In this lecture, Kevin outlines how you can use this course to give you structure to your sales day. He explains the three acronyms that you can apply to your role each day to give your calls structure so that you can explain and communicate with the retailer about your products in a cool, calm and collected way.
In this lecture, Kevin outlines what each of the acronyms stand for:
The Classic Sales and Buying Call: PESTUPMA - Preparation, Evaluation, Settle Account, Take Stock, Unpromoted Lines, Promoted Lines, Merchandising, Administration
The Corporate Retail Store Call - an Influencer call: PEPUSMA - Preparation, Evaluation, Promoted Lines, Unpromoted Lines, Settle Account, Merchandising and Administration
The third acronym applies to a Call for Overcoming Retailer Objections: QPMPS - Quality, Price, Movement, Profit and Service.
Which Acronym do you use for a buyer call?
In this lecture, Kevin explains the first P of PESTUPMA: Preparation. In this sector, you're responsible for selling into a retailer with an "open to buy". By a call, Kevin means a structured sales interaction with a retailer: the call may take place in a head office, a store or the back of the store. Kevin points out that preparation is key - not just knowledge about your products but also what your competitors are up to, what challenges the retailer faces and what their shoppers are after.
Kevin prepares by putting himself in the mind of the buyer and the mind of the shopper that buys from them. He explains why this is a powerful approach.
Evaluation - sounds similar to preparation but it's different. Preparation is about planning for the call, evaluation is about understanding the detail of where your product will fit. Kevin goes onto explain...
Settle Account - is the retailer able to buy from you? If the retailer has a $10k credit limit with you and they're up to their limit, they can't buy from you! If the retailer has returns that need to be shipped back to you that can free up their "open to buy", you need to clear those off straight away. This is where you need to clear up trading relationship questions. Understand the retailer's credit limits, trading terms or any financial issues that need to be addressed in that meeting to make sure you have a clear approach to dealing with the things you're there to do - to sell them new/more product to keep them, and you, in business!
Take Stock - we're halfway through the call. What does "take stock" mean? Basically, it means understanding what the retailer has sold since you last sold them product. What have they sold through well and what hasn't shifted so well? The priority here is to identify and replace the good things that have sold. You can then work out what else you can do - can you increase sales of products that are tracking well, lower supply of products that you don't think they need as much, and create space for those new products. So what does this look like? It's you sitting side-by-side with your buyer looking through inventory reports and looking at volumes being sold through, etc. With this information, you should be able to advice them what to do next in regards to your products.
Unpromoted lines - these are the key brands that sell every single day - these are the backbone of the business. Don't mess with them. Make sure the inventory levels are right so that they don't run out of stock. Recommend an order, prepare it in advance explaining that this is the order you recommend to replace the products they've sold. You're the expert, help them here.
Promoted lines - these are anything that appears new to the shopper: new products, changed pricing, different packaging, different displays, etc. This is the exciting bit as it's a way to re-engage with the shopper. Remember that the retailer will only have a certain amount of money in their "open to buy" after they've signed off on the unpromoted brands so you need to decide carefully what you're looking for. High sales in a small volume of stores, reinforcement of branding, to harness your brand with another brand? Be clear what you're trying to achieve with the shopper via the retailer.
Merchandising - the catch-all phrase for how the shopper sees your product. The merchandising part of the call is about allowing you to help the retailer to sell through. Merchandising is about touching the shopper when they're in the store. This is where you help the retailer turn the dollars that they spend with you into dollars for the retailer.
Administration - okay, the boring bit! Every sales person in the world hates administration! But here's the thing, if you're writing million dollar orders, you need your administration to be pretty tight. You do need to have data, information, to support your sales. You need to communicate the details of what you've sold in. You'll also have all the information at your finger-tips in a few months time when you go back to the retailer for the next order.
So, can you remember the steps?
In these steps, we talk about what we can do to influence sales out of stores. Sometimes it's called a "motivational call" or "non-selling" call. This call is all about your ability to maybe improve a retailer's business and improve the shopper experience. The structure of this call is perfect for a sales person going into a retail outlet that buys from a head office. You can't write an order but you can help them. It's also perfect for a merchandiser - you're going in there to help communicate the best lines for that retailer to sell through and to create the displays to allow it to sell out.
There are seven steps in this call: PEPUSMA
The steps of this call are all about going into a retailer and coming out with a more knowledgeable retailer and more knowledgeable retail staff and a better environment for the shopper to shop.
Preparation - in this case, it's quite short term, maybe five minutes before the call. Glance through what you're going to be talking about in this call: the lines you're going to talk about, what the objectives or this call is. In this call, you're going to be earning the permission and right to physically help the retailer sell-out your product.
Evaluation - in this type of call, your skills as a shopper marketer are absolutely crucial. This evaluation is fast - you're thinking like the shopper. You need to understand what the shopper is being hit with in terms of communication - you need to experience the store as a shopper. From the time you enter the store to the moment you introduce yourself to the decision maker, you may only have been in that store for 15 seconds. In that time, you will have evaluated the store, thought like a shopper and understood what that store format and layout means to the objectives you're trying to achieve in that store. Being a shopper marketing expert is crucial to your success in every call you do.
Promoted brands - you have limited time in this call so the most important thing to do is make sure that the retailer and the retail staff are aware of the promotions you're running on your brands. Remember we're putting money behind these brands to promote them to help them sell through quickly. There's a genuine offer here for the shopper so let's make sure the promoted brand offers are understood by the retail manager and store staff and that we're able to assist them in communicating those promotions to shoppers in-store.
Unpromoted brands - the unpromoted part of the call is your chance to do some house-keeping or it's your chance to do something you've been thinking about for a period of time. Maybe you want to move one of your best selling products to another part of the store because, as an expert, you believe it would improve sales. If you have time in this call after you've discussed the promoted part of the call, talk about it. Talk about what you'd like to try. This is your chance to flex your shopper marketing muscle to improve sales and shine - maybe create displays, put product in the window, put up banners, use point-of-sale that you have to create theming. This is when the merchandising comes alive.
Settle account - now you have a fraction of a moment to help the retailer with any administration issues that they may have that you can help them with. Are there any issues between his retail store and your company that are preventing him providing a great shopper experience? Is stock arriving on time? Is the packaging correct? Is the pricing file correct? Ask if there is anything you can do to assist the relationship between that retail store and your company. This is where you can smooth out any bumps between that retail store and your company to ensure that the product flows to the shopper.
Merchandising - this is the part of the call where you tangibly get to bring things alive. Having obtained agreement to promote the promoted brands, this is where you get to promote it physically in the store. This is where your expertise comes in, where your understanding of the product comes in and where your understanding of the shopper comes in. You now get the chance to build those displays, move that product and to get inside the shopper's mind to make sure the promoted item is the best it can be.
Administration - often in this call, you haven't got an order to write but you do have data to collect. Remember, you're the eyes and ears for your company. They may have asked you to collect pricing information, to take photographs of product, to look at a competitors product. This is your chance to feedback to your head office what's happening at retail.
So do you remember the 7 steps in a non-selling call? The steps that help you sell product out of the store?
QPMPS - in every relationship between a seller and a buyer, there are objections. An objection is just a request for more information. The retailer, the buyer, whoever it is, isn't saying no, they're just asking for more information. If we go into a call with no experience, we have no idea of the types of objections that will come towards us. Through experience, we start to build them up. But let's not spend a year building experience, let's understand the five key objections you're going to face in retail. And then let's understand what we need to do to help overcome those objections - QPMPS
The majority of the objections you are going to hear are going to be around movement but we'll step through five of them.
Quality - this is the relative quality of your product compared to other products in your sector. You don't have to have the highest quality product, you just have to have good quality for the price people are prepared to pay. The most important thing about a quality objection from a retailer is that they just want to see where your quality and price fits. As long as you can explain why the quality and price fit together, you'll be able to overcome that objection.
Price - pricing objections fall into two categories: one is about the price the retailer pays, and the other is about the price the shopper pays. Either way, it's all about too high! You never hear an objection where a retailer says I think your price is too low! The retailers objection may be that the price they're being asked to pay is higher than your competitors are asking. At this point, you're able to talk about the quality of your product against the price of your product, the price relative to other competitor products or the fact that the retailer's shoppers like that price point. You need to be able to discuss with confidence where your price fits against a whole range of products...
Movement - this is just another word for "sales volume". It doesn't matter what the price is, it doesn't matter what the quality is, a retailer will take product from you if it moves, if it sells through. This is the single most important thing that you must be able to evidence to a retailer for them to take your product. A retailer will take a product at a poor price, a poor quality or a poor profit, but what they won't do is take a product that doesn't sell. Movement means selling. You need to be able to evidence that your product moves...
Profit - that's why we're all in business. Every retailer needs to make profit to pay their rent and to pay their people. So a typical profit objection from a retailer might be that "I'm not making enough money from your product." They tend to talk about percentage margins. The key thing here is that every single product that they sell, if it's making margin, and the volume's high enough, represents an overall cash margin. So if your margin is low in terms of percentages but high in terms of volume, you're delivering a good cash margin. So, when a retailer is raising a profit objection, clearly understand the question. The question is "am I raising enough cash profit"?! That's why it's important to understand the volume sales of your products so you can understand the cash margin.
Service - sales people in the front line can make a massive difference to the poor performance of their companies. Great service is delivered by people every single day. No company gets it right all the time. Sometimes we do have problems with stock, we do have problems with pricing, we have all sorts of problems. But the way an individual salesperson or merchandiser, in a store, deals with a problem that's been created by a company makes all the difference.
If companies have good service at store level, it gives them time to solve problems that occur. If they have bad service and problems arise, generally speaking, the retailer stops dealing with that company.
Which step is the most powerful for overcoming objections?
There are 5 key areas (QPMPS) where retailers need information so they can buy from you. These areas come up as objections from the buyer. 4 re are around your product; Quality, Price, Movement (sell through) and Profit. The 5th, Service, is all about and you and your company. Which is the most important area for the retailer?
Congratulations, you've been through the three learning modules - PESTUPMA, PEPUSMA and QPMPS. Download our pdf to remind yourself what they stand for and make sure you follow these steps in your selling day. The structure absolutely matters! Use it, glance through and use it as your checklist and your map for what you need to do. Try and look for the steps of the call when you're doing them. Listen out for the objections. Good luck using this structure! We'd love to hear how you get on. And don't forget to look into our Shopper Marketing course: https://www.udemy.com/the-retail-trifecta/learn/v4/overview
Kevin Moore has spent 28 years working in and around retail for manufacturers, retailers and service providers across 44 countries. He walks at least 2,000 stores around the world each year looking at shopper marketing trends. The need to engage, entertain, and inspire shoppers, and shoppers' hunger for change and innovation, is more important than ever before. He has also managed businesses in over 40 countries.
Kevin is regularly quoted in Australian media as an International Retail Expert and is the Retail Expert on a small business show for one of the main Australian free-to-air networks.
He is also a weekly blog contributor to smartcompany and the founder of theROADtoRETAIL - a website dedicated to the shopper experience.
Chairman CROSSMARK Asia Pac
Director Now Asia (Singapore)
Chairman The Advisory Board
Chairman NowComms Group
Shopper Marketing Director Mirador Retail Technology