Let me set the scene: Philadelphia airport, F concourse, Friday afternoon and I am heading home after a long week of training. I had an hour to kill until my next flight so I thought I would grab a quick beer before I had to board. I walked into the bar and noticed that they had just completed a remodel. New stools bolted to the floor directly facing tablets that were bolted to the bar. I have experienced tablets in other restaurants and think it’s a great idea. For .99 cents my wife and I could talk while my son and daughter played video games. We could search the web, or if we choose, place our order. Very cool.
Most consumers have a preconceived view about of extended service plans as protection they don’t need. How you train your sales team to present your plan to the consumer can make a huge difference in your success rate and in customer satisfaction levels. Here are just a few tips for successfully selling ESPs:
Unfortunately, retail has experienced some struggles in the last five years, and many companies have stopped training employees to sell extended service plans. Instead, some stores put plans in plastic packaging near the checkout with other impulse purchase items. They hope the customer will take the initiative to read about, understand, and buy the ESP on their own.
This kind of impulse buy may work for gum, but not for an ESP, which requires an explanation of benefits. Customers need help understanding the value of this investment. Depending solely on a point of purchase display to sell the plan is not impossible but more than likely won’t succeed.
As the prices of electronics and appliances continue to fall, it’s critical that you train your team on how to effectively position your extended service plan with the benefits that will provide the best value for the price to your customer.
Extended service plans (ESPs) and accessories are helping many retailers make up the loss of margin they’re experiencing as a result of lower prices on everything from computers to washing machines. While it’s true ESPs provide the much needed margin, more importantly, they provide additional value by helping to improve customer loyalty and reducing product returns.
Most companies face two challenges that prevent them from maximizing ESP sales. One, they don’t know how to balance the benefits of the plan with the price. And two, they don’t know how to train and manage their organization to sell them. Here are a few ways to address both of these challenges.