• Bruce Bjorkman

Grill Selling Success

BRUCE BJORKMANBRUCE BJORKMAN - Director of Sales & Marketing, Mak Grills makgrills.com
In The Movie City Slickers, Jack Palance told Billy Crystal, "it all comes down to one thing." Well, when it comes down to selling grills, I believe there are three things grill retailers must do on a consistent basis. You have to do the following:
     Show It To Sell It. Very few people will purchase invisible goods. This is especially true when selling higher-end merchandise. The consumer wants to see it and touch it before they buy it. If you're not a stocking dealer of the grill lines you sell, you in essence are telling the consumer that you're not serious about being a grill retailer.
     We live in an instant gratification society. We use microwaves because we want to cook food more quickly. We upgrade to faster Internet service because we want our file downloads to be nearly instantaneous. Why would you expect the consumer to wait for an out-of-stock grill to be shipped to your store?
     By not stocking the grill lines that you say you carry, you are running a huge risk of having the customer going elsewhere to purchase a grill, even if it isn't the particular brand they were originally interested in. They have an immediate desire to quench, and it's been my experience that when a consumer makes the decision to buy, they want that product "right now!"
     Know It To Sell It. There are two parts to this axiom, first is product knowledge. You have to intimately know the grills you are selling.
     That includes: how they operate, what functions they do that other brands don't, the types of components and materials used in the construction of the grill, how long is the assembly process, etc.
     Today's consumer comes into your store armed with a tremendous amount of research. They've gone online and done their due diligence long before they set foot into your store. They've visited websites and forums. And the sad thing is, more oft en than not, the consumer knows more about the grill line than the retailer selling it.
     The second part to this point is the fact that if you really want to connect with the buyer, you have to have a working knowledge of the grills you are selling. This means firing one up and cooking on it at home and at the store.
     The retailer who can pass along anecdotes about their adventures cooking on a particular grill will go a long ways to helping you gain credibility in the mind of the consumer. You're able to relate to them by telling them about your experiences of cooking on the grill they are interested in purchasing from you.Grill Selling Success
     Demo It To Sell It. It's a proven fact that grill retailers who demonstrate the grills they carry, in turn sell more of those grills than retailers who do not conduct regular demos. Consumers want to see the grill they are interested in purchasing operating. You can liken grill demos to test drives. Before you buy a car, don't you always take it for a test drive?
     The key to successful demos is consistency. You have to conduct grill demos on a regular and consistent basis, and never stop. If consumers know that every weekend without fail your store is going to be conducting a grill demo, it helps you differentiate your store in the mind of the consumer. Grill demos don't have to be elaborate in order to be successful. Bake some cookies or pizzas, grill up some chicken legs or wings. Smoke pork tenderloin. Let the consumer see how the grill operates and sample the food cooked on it.
     Why not smoke or roast turkeys as we approach Thanksgiving? How about making a big pot of soup using a grill's side burner? Maybe even pop popcorn on the grill or cold smoke cheese or nuts? Each of these foods are not oft en associated with barbecues, grills or smokers. However, you can bet that the "remarkable" factor - showing people what else they can do with the grill will be something they won't easily forget.
     If you don't have someone at your store who you believe can put on a good quality demo show, perhaps you have a loyal grill owner who's purchased from your store that you could have come and run the grill demos for you. I know of a number of grill retailers who do this, and reward the demonstrator with free fuel or merchandise in lieu of monetary payment.
     Have it in stock, know everything there is to know about your grills, and show them in operation on a continual basis. It all comes down to being consistent in these three things.
     Bonus Promotion Idea: A grill retailer passed this idea along to me, and I thought that it was pretty clever and a great example of inexpensive, pinpoint marketing.
     The retailer regularly visits the grilling sections in the book stores in his area. While in the store, he slips a business card into each of the barbecuing and grilling books on the shelf. Not only does the card act as a bookmark, it also points the book reader to a retailer selling products they are certainly interested in.
     The retailer told me that while results weren't immediate, he has, over time, had people come into his store who found his business card in the barbecue book they had purchased. These people have become regular customers of the store, and have ended up purchasing either grills or accessories from him.

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