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Snowblowers or Blowin’ Snow

Small Biz vs Big Box Stores

The well-known David vs Goliath story played out for me this month in the world of snowblowers.  At age 51, I am tired of shoveling snow and my humble abode has a bit more driveway than I prefer.  Time to get a snowblower.

I closely reviewed a well-designed display in a Big Box hardware store (the Goliath) to determine which type of snowblower would be best.  Who knew there were so many options…single stage, double stage, light, medium or heavy duty, pads or tines.  I finally landed on the Toro 21” PowerClear E for $599.  I wanted electric start because I’m not real good with engines.

To honor Small Business Saturday, I called an independent Lawn and Garden store (the David) to see if they offered the Toro PowerClear.  I was even willing to pay more, just to support small business.   I was stunned with the response that I got from the owner.  He said, “We used to carry the PowerClear but stopped.  Toro shipped the manufacturing of the engine overseas and we’ve had a lot of problems with them.  I won’t carry them anymore.”  Then he recommended a comparable model from Ariens that’s 22” with electric start and costs $499. That’s one inch wider and 100 bucks less.  I was sold.

Knowledgeable Sales Person

I stepped back to analyze what happened that made me convinced about my purchase.  The key element was that I was talking to a knowledgeable sales person who provided me valuableinformation during the decision process.  Actually, what I realized was that he helped me avoid making a bad decision.  The sales person at the Big Box store (even if he knows) won’t share the fact that 18,000 units of the PowerClear got recalled in April of 2011 and so the product they are selling on the Big Box floor has been retrofitted with a new engine that hopefully no longer leaks fuel.
That’s Blowin’ Snow!

Pleasure vs Fear

I have seen the term “Knowledgeable Sales Person” bantered around a lot.  As a point-of-difference message, this is really flat.  Consider this…often there is more emotional energy charged fromthe fear of making a bad decision rather than the pleasure of purchasing the product you want.  Instead of just saying you have knowledgeable sales people, talk about the benefits they deliver to the prospect.

“Our sales team knows snowblowers inside and out. We can tell you what to buy and what NOT to buy.”  

Or

“We’ve Got Firsthand Experience.  Ask us our opinion about manufacturers and their warranties.  We’ll tell you which ones back up their product and the ones that don’t.” 

Seed Customer Questions

The snow may start falling soon, but it is never too late to plant seeds that get the prospect to ask you questions that you’d love to answer.  I recommended to that business owner that he place a sign in the snowblower area that says, “Ask me why I don’t recommend the Toro PowerClear Snowblower!”  That will be the start of many conversations the business owner will enjoy having!  Why you don’t carry certain products says almost as much about your business as what you do offer.

Answer these questions to create opportunities to tell your story:

  • What questions would you like your prospects to ask?
  • What statement can you make to get them to ask you that question?

I’m equipped and prepared for this winter season.  2012 is right around the corner.  Does your marketing strategy need a tune up?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Posted in hmt

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