Exclusive by Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY: Tom DiTerlizzi, the IMC Australasia MPM brand manager who claimed bad sales skills weren’t as important as the perception, has today hit out at CE manufacturers, saying their advertising and marketing is too abstract. He thinks this strategy does little to help retailers sell product. He’s also moderated his stance on sales staff, admitting they do have a part to play.
After yesterday’s story, in which retail pro Behrouz Bolurieh spoke out in defence on good sales skills, DiTerlizzi contacted Current.com.au to once again give his opinion. This time, it was the big brand marketers who cam e in for a spray.
“In general, CE manufacturers have been reluctant to direct as much of their promotional effort into informing consumers of product advantages, that is, the real value proposition a new feature provides to consumers, preferring to focus on brand perception in the message they take to the market,” he said.
DiTerlizzi believes the example set by camera manufacturers, in which they convey features, such as water and shock resistance, is more effective the 30-second branding exercises one often sees on television.
And although DiTerlizzi originally said it was “simplistic to attribute the price people pay for products to a poorly trained shop floor staff,” he has since modified this position, saying that staff training is a key ingredient in the price mix.
“CE sales people, their level of training, the product range and price/margin ratio and too many other business variables including the competitiveness of the marketplace contribute to price erosion and the profitability of the CE industry.”
This revised view is shared by CE consultant and 48-year industry veteran Ed Moran. He thinks that if your store is going to have loss leaders, you absolutely must have good staff.
“The ability of properly trained sales staff to sell up, or off, the loss leader to a better product that also offers better features for the consumer, and some better profit for the retailer, is paramount,” said Moran.
“A combination of product and price, when handled by a skilled and knowledgeable salesperson, is the key dynamic in closing a sale.”
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