|Good things come in small packages. Accessories are often the smallest things you sell in your store, but can often provide the biggest profit margins. But you already knew that. The big challenge is your customers never-with a few exceptions-walk into your store planning to buy accessories. That would be comparable to customers entering a music store planning to buy jewel case holders for their CDs or Star magazine at the supermarket. Accessories are impulse buys. So how do you get customers to buy products they are not looking for? We invited six guests to help us sort this out. They are: D'Addario's John Roderick, Shadow Electronics' Joe Melchiorre, Thomas Lotts of Onori Accessories, David Rosenfeld of Stash Picks, Bill Wenzloff of Sound Enhancement Products, and Stage Magic's Jody Page.
Let's begin with the question we just posed. Your customers are looking for the latest guitar, the hottest drum set, or a cool new mixer. Accessories are the last thing on their minds. How do you get people to buy accessories? "The best approach is sales training," said Roderick. "Many music retail sales staffs are great gear people, but have never sold before and find it uncomfortable. They need to be guided on how to ask key 'trigger' questions. 'That's a great guitar. How will you store it? What type of humidifying system are you using? You've got the best sounding amp on the market and a great guitar. What are you using for cables?' Questions like these will get the consumer thinking beyond the initial purchase."
Lotts said you can use two approaches to attack this issue. "Approach 1: Put together a package deal that may contain a strap, pick or pick holder, a box of strings, case, bag, etc. The price level of the package should be in line with that of the product level. Approach 2: If a package deal is not an option, the sales team member should walk his or her customer over to the strap, string, case displays, etc., after the sale to encourage the purchase of these accessory items. The customer most often buys what is suggested."
"With pickups for acoustic instruments, it is a logical extension of the sale," added Melchiorre. "'Do you plan to play in a group?' is a good question to start with. From there, the salesperson can suggest different amplification alternatives."
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