Brookstone Lessons

Brookstone Lessons

Brookstone recently announced that it is closing its 100+ mall stores to focus its energies on 30 brick and mortar airport locations and ecommerce. It’s another sign of a niche brick and mortar retailer seemingly throwing in the towel. For more than 40 years, Brookstone has offered quirky, niche products ranging from drones and all types of remote controls to 3D printed pens. Similar to recently shuttered Shaper Image and Radio Shack stores, Brookstone did not adapt to the changing retail paradigm that has resulted in a significant decline in shopping mall traffic. But it would be a disservice to Brookstone to blame online competitors and Amazon as the primary reason for its restructuring and substantially smaller footprint.

Brookstone does not sell many things that people need, points out BKBG Conference Workshop Leader, the Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs. Instead, they sell products that people want. Most of the products featured in a BKBG Shareholder’s showroom falls into the category of wants. A key to continued success is to determine the motivation for a want. Doing so will enable you and your sales team to overcome cost objections. When a price is questioned, determine why the customer considers the price to be too high. Determine if your clients want to make unique design statements in their homes and identify the goals they want to achieve. When you can change the dialogue, you can transition the conversation from price to how the products you recommend will make your customer feel and how much enjoyment she would derive from those purchases. When you can determine goals, motivations and reasons for objections, you can easily overcome price and other reasons not to buy.

Phibbs points out that anyone standing in front of a kitchen and bath showroom sales professional made an effort just to get to the showroom. There is a reason they made the trip. Most objections come at the end of a conversation, which most of the time reflects that the sales professional did not bond with the customer or establish themselves as a trusted advisor rather than salesperson. There’s a good chance that many of the sales professionals at Brookstone’s mall stores did not transition to trusted advisor. They were simply order takers.

To help your team better connect with your customers, have them write down what customers object to and brainstorm how you and your team can respond to them. More skill and savvy are required to convince consumers to purchase products that they want instead of need.

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