In part one I wrote about how to become more comfortable with selling equipment to your customers/students. In this blog, I am going to talk about the most important part of any sales, the demonstration. Imagine yourself buying a new or used car. Even though you might know what car you want, the salesman will do a show and tell by basically showing you all the ins and outs of that car. So now you know all about the accessories, colour availability, engine size, engine torque, warranty, safety etc. you are ready for the test drive. The salesman opens the passenger door to let you in and he is taking a seat behind the wheel. Of course, you think, he needs to drive it off the lot and once we are on the main road, I will then drive the car. But no, the salesman stays behind the wheel and while driving tells you all about the car, how it drives, feels, dash etc. After the test drive you return to the dealership and that was ‘your’ test drive.
Would you buy the car? Highly unlikely, as you did not get to do the test drive. Well, now back at the dive center where one of your customers is looking into buying a BCD. After the customer decided on a brand/model, you then take the same steps as that car sales person by showing the customer all the benefits of that BCD. Such as Lift capacity, adjustments, # of pockets, weight intergraded or not, stitching, quality and anything else that you know about that BCD that can and will benefit the customer. Now here comes the part that car salesman missed, letting YOU drive the car!
You assist the customer into the BCD and then you let the CUSTOMER do the driving. You let them fiddle with the waistband and make it fit properly. You let them adjust the shoulder straps and make it comfortable, you let them connect the LPI and inflate the BCD completely and even over inflate it so they feel and hear the over pressure valve work. HINT: have a scuba cylinder with a long LPI hose on the sales floor that you can use. Let them open and close the pockets/zippers and anything else that style BCD has. This will make them feel that the BCD is already theirs and it feels comfortable. Of course you need attach a scuba cylinder as well to make sure it really fits comfortably. Again, let the CUSTOMER put the BCD on the cylinder. In all of this, all you do is assist, and show the features of that particular BCD.
If they are not sure about the brand, style or fit, you assist them and repeat the process above. If you are uncomfortable doing a demo, practice with one of your colleagues or store manager. Also, the best people to show you all the benefits of any dive equipment are the manufacturer reps themselves. The store owner or manager can arrange for a manufacturer representative to come by and conduct a demo evening for the staff.
It’s pretty simple, all you need to do is put yourself in the shoes of your customer and think of what you would like when looking at purchasing dive equipment.