Improve your selling – apply best practices from gift-wrapping

It’s the holiday season, so let’s talk gifts. Or, more specifically … gift-wrapping.  Over the years we have found lessons for improving the art of selling can be derived from a variety of enterprises and gift-wrapping is no exception.  To keep things not only seasonal but also contemporary, let’s relate our discussion to the ever-expanding online retailing.

When it comes to gift-wrapping, buyers except basic packaging when purchasing from online discounters.  Reduced prices – vanilla packaging, fair enough.  But when shopping online from more expensive retailers such as Tiffany or Neiman Marcus customers expect more. A sturdy brown cardboard carton simply just won’t carry the day.

So, after designing packaging to ensure the item arrives unscathed, the focus for upscale retailers turns to replicating the in-store buying experience. That’s why Neiman Marcus carries boxes in 64 different sizes to send purchases that often are wrapped in tissue paper to prevent scuffs.  But beyond the no scuff rule, much care is spent selecting the right ribbon for its decorative theme that changes each year.

Now, while this rather online gift-wrapping may hold some marginal interest only for a select few, does it provide any viable lessons for the many of us interested in B2B selling?  Keeping with the good cheer of the season, the answer is – yes.

Customer gift-wrapping expectations remind us that a solution is more than just the product or solution we sell. It includes everything that has a direct impact on the customer’s perception of value. This can range, for example, from the quality of customer service and on-site support to returns policies, and even terms and conditions.

So, as we sales people begin strategizing how to grow our book of business in 2012 … thinking about your products and solutions from a total, comprehensive customer value expectation perspective will help you determine a better fit between what you offer and what the customer needs … as well as more effectively leveraging internal resources to make it happen!

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©2011 Sales Horizons, LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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