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4 Ways to Sell More Projects

How often are your employees selling entire projects rather than just single products? Project sales increase your overall transaction size and usually offer larger margins. They can also lead to more satisfied customers, as they will get everything they need for their project at one time, rather than making repeated trips to the store. There are several ways you can encourage and equip your employees to sell more projects.

Increase Project Knowledge

The best way to help employees become more confident in selling the entire project is to give them the appropriate project knowledge. While you likely want your employees to eventually become well-rounded experts in in a wide variety of projects, it might be best to start with just a few. First identify the projects that are the most popular with your customers. Then, use the many resources available to you as an independent retailer to teach them how to do those projects. The Project PRO training series from the North American Retail Hardware Association is an online training program that guides employees through common projects, step-by-step. Click Here for more information. Employees can also gain knowledge from other employees who are experts in a project. In-store project clinics that give employees hands-on experience with a project are one of the best ways to learn.

Use Merchandising Techniques

Good merchandisers are the silent salesmen that stay hard at work all day in your store. But they also help your sales associates. Cross-merchandising, for example, is a way of locating items used together in the same area. It’s a visual reminder for both customers and employees of the add-on items that might be needed to finish a project. Endcaps are another prime place to merchandise projects. While you may not be able to merchandise all of the products used in a project on an endcap, you can include project starters and a few key tools or materials.

Refine Selling Skills

Take time to refresh employees’ basic sales techniques that will help in a project sale. When working with a customer tackling a project, it’s important to listen carefully so you understand fully what they are trying to accomplish. Carry a pad of paper and a pencil so you can write down each item the customer says they need. When they are finished going over their project, review the list of items to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything. When recommending products to use, be sure to show the customer products at different price points, talking about the features and benefits of each so they know all of their options.

Talk About Profits

Employees who understand the profit implications of project sales may be more motivated to sell. First, it’s important to establish that selling add-on items isn’t about trying to sell customers something they don’t need. Rather, it’s a function of customer service, as you’re giving them something they need to finish their project. Also, remind employees that profit is good for everyone. When the store increases its profits, it has the money needed to grow a business, which can include giving employees raises or better benefits. Finally, explain the margin potential of add-on sales. Even low dollar items, such drill bits, can give larger margins than some high dollar items, which has a big impact on overall profitability.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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