Financial support from customers is the main ingredient to business success. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. You want customers to spend money in your shop and on your products. Customers want products and services that will make them a successful bowhunter or archer. However, this relationship becomes strained when customers feel like products that are too expensive or unnecessary are being pushed on them.
Upselling encourages customers to purchase a more expensive model of the same product they were originally looking at. For example, a customer comes in looking to buy a beginner’s bow and walks out with the latest hunting setup. Cross-selling encourages customers to buy complementary products. For example, a customer needs a new release aid and also purchases a sight.
Upselling and cross-selling have earned unfair reputations among customers. Upselling can save customers money in the long run. Cross-selling can save customers time if you know they’ll need to make a trip back for the product you’re selling. However, when used incorrectly, these tactics can lead to sacrificing the customer relationship to make a quick buck.
Here are some tips for balancing sales with long-term customer relationships.
Customers will likely want to buy additional accessories along with their original purchase. Photo Credit: ATA
The savvy salesman understands the science behind “buying mode.” Purchasing products isn’t just fun; it leads to a chemical reaction in the brain. As soon as customers commit to making a purchase they get a rush of dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel good. This is when they’re most prone to making additional purchases. It’s where the term “retail therapy” comes from. When a customer is feeling good about a purchase, it’s an opportunity to encourage complementary purchases. Amazon reports up to 35% of its revenue comes from cross-selling.
Archery and bowhunting lend themselves to upselling and cross-selling. If a customer is buying their first bow, they’ll likely need to purchase accessories like a sight, arrows and release aid. As their customer service representative, you want them to get everything they need. You also want to see them succeed, and that can mean outfitting them with top-of-the-line equipment. However, if you approach every customer interaction as a sales pitch, you risk failing at your main objective, customer service.
Good customer service means serving the customer’s needs, not your own. The best customer service reps understand the balance of doing their job and helping the customer. This looks like honesty and understanding.
Picture a customer who comes into the shop to buy arrows to fit their used, but new to them, bow. You double-check and discover that the draw length and draw weight fit the individual. It’s also outfitted with all the accessories. However, it’s all old and you have new technology that they could benefit from. Before making any suggestions, get to know your customer.
If you instantly comment on the age and quality of the bow, you could risk ruining the relationship. Perhaps the bow is a family heirloom that they want to shoot for sentimental purposes. Or maybe arrows are all they can afford at this time. However, some customers might not know there are better bows and would be open to making a purchase. Or the customer might be able to upgrade one of the accessories and eventually work toward upgrading more if he or she understands what’s needed.
This situation is why it’s important to get to know the individual. By treating the customer and their equipment with respect, you can serve their needs as best you can and earn trust and repeat business.
Keep the customer's budget in mind and don't upsell if you know they're not interested. Photo Credit: ATA
Once you’ve learned about your customer, tailor your sales approach to their needs. This approach is called needs-based selling. This tactic is growing in popularity because it creates trust and loyalty. Learning how to read the customer is important. Create a conversation and ask some questions.
If the customer can’t afford a new bow, suggesting one immediately will only alienate them. However, show the customer some affordable accessories that could improve their bow’s performance. By understanding the customer’s needs, you can suggest products that will help them, using your knowledge to make the case. This tactic also helps you since you’ll waste less time trying to make sales that won’t happen.
You want the customer to walk out of your shop feeling excited. And you want them to keep that excitement after the dopamine has worn off. Being pressured into an impulse buy can lead to regret later on.
Some customers look forward to buying the latest and greatest, and they want you to tell them all about the newest products on the market. Others want advice on how to work with their current setup.
By giving customers what they want, not only will you make immediate sales, but you’ve primed the situation for future sales. Relationships thrive in archery shops. People need bow technicians and new equipment. As the customer continues to come into the shop, you’ll be even more knowledgeable about their needs. This trust leads to repeat business and referrals.
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If you’d like to learn more, MyATA Learning Center has business development content on demand. You can take an interactive course with videos, quizzes and handouts. Many retailers like the “Basics of Archery Retail” and “Compound Bow Technician Fundamentals” videos.
We also have a “2022 Archery Industry Masterclass,” featuring 16 sessions about business, coaching, marketing and archery tech. Most courses in the MyATA Learning Center are free, but the Masterclass is available to ATA members at the discounted price of $100.