Extraordinary Opportunity: Selling High-ticket Items

Posted on in Growth Strategies

By: Scott Sergeant, VGM Marketing

Traversing hiking trails, visiting a state park or even roaming around your neighborhood doesn’t seem too extraordinary to most people. However, Raymond Brown is not most people.

Raymond is a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in country during the Vietnam conflict. In 1969, between tours, he was stationed on temporary duty in Utah where he was run down by a vehicle traveling 70 miles per hour.

“My left leg was broken in 134 places,” explains Raymond, a resident of Greenfield, Indiana, “and I was in William Beaumont Hospital at Fort Bliss in El Paso for over a year while they put my leg back together. This left my left leg one inch shorter than my right leg. They never bothered in all that time to x-ray my spine, which had been broken in at least three places.”

Following two tours in Vietnam, a mangled leg shorter than the other, spinal injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and Agent Orange symptoms, Raymond received his honorable discharge. “I felt my dues had been paid, and thank God I was alive to tell about it.”

Raymond’s Ghosts Return

Forty-five years later, in 2014, Raymond’s ghosts returned to haunt him with intense pain in his left leg, knee, hip and back. “I was unable to walk more than half a block and be on my feet longer than 15 minutes,” says Raymond. “I spent the next two years pretty much tied to the inside of my home in a chair. I had been to the VA hospital multiple times only to be given more drugs for pain. Then God came to my help.”

While attending a Vietnam veterans reunion at one of the stops of the Moving Wall™, the half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Raymond met a fellow veteran who told him about all-terrain wheelchairs, power mobility devices that feature tracks instead of wheels.

Raymond investigated various models of all-terrain wheelchairs before selecting one from TrackMaster, an Indiana-based company. “I chose TrackMaster,” says Raymond, “because it was manufactured right here in Indiana and for its size and maneuverability.”

Today Raymond is able to do what many consider to be ordinary. But, the TrackMaster allows him to do what for him is quite extraordinary. “I am no longer trapped to my home,” says Raymond. “I travel around the neighborhood, along local hiking trails and recently to a nearby state park. I truly enjoy my TrackMaster and can’t wait to help other vets get one too!”

How Would You Have Uncovered Raymond’s Need?

Let’s assume for a moment that you were the HME provider Raymond visited in his search for an all-terrain wheelchair. And, let’s assume you didn’t know his story. How do you go about helping Raymond? How do you uncover his real purpose for coming to your showroom? How do you uncover his real need? After all, an all-terrain wheelchair is not exactly an inexpensive piece of machinery. It’s what’s known in the retail world as a “high-ticket item.”

As Maria Markusen, director of Operations and Development for VGM Retail Services, explains, “One of the selling faux pax we find is salespeople telling customers about the great benefits and features of products without matching those features and benefits to the customer’s specific needs. In addition, salespeople don’t take the time to build rapport to get to know the real needs of the customer. Mostly customers are told why they must buy this item and that it won’t be covered by insurance. We dump a bunch of details in a customer’s lap that they don’t care about or don’t fit individual needs.”

Typically, HME salespeople make another mistake: they assume customers are not willing to pay retail for expensive items. They assume this because, in many cases, they themselves would be unwilling to pay retail for an expensive item.

Using Important Sales Keys

There are two sales keys at work here: first, use open-ended questions to build rapport and to uncover a customer’s needs. Open-ended questions require detailed answers, using the customer’s own knowledge or feelings. They allow you to uncover a customer’s need so you can then match products that can satisfy that need.

The second sales key is to eliminate any assumption that a given customer cannot afford to purchase a particular product from you. Remember, you’re not the customer; the customer is the customer. They know their financial situation far better than you do.

So, after Raymond rolls into your showroom, we suggest the following conversation:

You: “Hello, welcome to our showroom. What brings you into our store today”

Raymond: “I’ve been using this wheelchair for some time, but it doesn’t allow me to do what I really want to do”

You: “And what is that, exactly?”

Raymond: “To get out of my house and roam. I used to walk around my neighborhood, take long hikes and visit state parks. I don’t do that anymore.”

You: “I can appreciate how you feel. I enjoy getting outdoors, too. How’s your health overall?”

Raymond: “When I’m on my feet, I have a lot of pain in my left leg, knee and back. But, when I’m sitting, most of that pain is alleviated.”

You: “Raymond, we have just the piece of equipment that can get you back outdoors and enjoying your neighborhood, hiking trails and state parks. Have you ever heard of all-terrain wheelchairs?”

Raymond: “No I haven’t, but when you say ‘all-terrain,’ that has me curious.”

You: “An all-terrain wheelchair is not your standard, run-of-the-mill power mobility device. The one I’m thinking of has tracks, not wheels. While capable of being used inside the home, all-terrains are designed and built to be used outside; thus, ‘all-terrain.’ They are also not inexpensive. Still interested?”

Raymond: “Definitely. Tell me more. And, do you have one in stock?”

By asking these questions, you give Raymond the chance to tell you about himself and his needs. If you hadn’t asked those questions, you would never find out his true motivation. The questions and Raymond’s answers allow you to solve his problem.

As Markusen says, “Selling is simple. It’s about making sure you have a solution to a problem by showing genuine interest and empathy for the customer. Open-ended questions help you do that.”

To learn more about using questioning techniques during the sales process, you’re invited to listen to a recorded VGM Retail webinar by clicking here.

U.S. Rehab, a division of VGM Group, Inc., has an exclusive contract with TrackMaster. For more information on TrackMaster, including pricing, visit U.S. Rehab’s website. Not a U.S. Rehab member? Contact Member Services at 800-642-6065 for information on U.S. Rehab membership.