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Explanations with "Big Words”

Posted: August 12, 2013, 10:30 a.m. EDT

By Patrick Donston

I’ve always thought there is a right and wrong time to use "big words” when explaining or selling within the aquatics industry. Some of your staff may be knowledgeable but have a difficult time selling themselves to clients. Other times, sales clerks can overwhelm potential buyers with confusing technical words or information. For example, explaining a labyrinth organ can increase confidence or lose the customer completely.

Betta Fish
Bettas are more conducive for fish bowls. iStock/Thinkstock

To start, a labyrinth organ is formed by the first epibranchial gill arch and wraps like a cone around the buchal cavity. This organ allows fish to take in oxygen from the air. Found in bettas (anabantids) and some gouramis (osphrenemids), this organ is an adaptation that allows fish to "breathe” in stagnant waters during the dry season. This selective advantage explains why bettas and paradise fish do well in bowls.

Discussing labyrinth fish this way can be an eye-opener to customers. They should understand and gain confidence in their choice, as opposed to a goldfish, which should not be kept in bowls. A lot of novices believe the latter, because goldfish bowls are depicted widely in art, media and TV. It is wise to use choice words and sound explanations to help them understand the contrary.

There are situations where one may be at a disadvantage when getting too technical. Children or parents who just want to "simply” buy a pet fish are good examples. Teach your staff to look your clients in the eye when discussing sale choices. It’s not hard to tell through the customers’ mannerisms if they are only hearing "babble” or are truly engaged. Your staff should know how to change their approach to get the right point across.

Using big words and scientific explanations can be advantageous, although at times overwhelming. Train your staff to use their words wisely within variable scenarios. <HOME>


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