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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

September 29, 2011

I+Q+U=S

By Patrick Donston

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I refer to the above equation as IQUS (I pronounce it ICKS). Each item must be in sync to establish growth. I constantly evaluate each letter in the hopes of improving our game plan and selling our “brand.”

I (Interest): How well do you develop interests to the wonderful world of fishkeeping? For us, because we are a specialty shop, a customer who walks through our doors generally has an interest. The problem with full-line shops is getting clients who stop by for other pet supplies to gain an interest in pursuing another pet.

Create beautiful displays. They do not have to be large; they do have to be inspiring. Start small with some of the nano packages by Hagen, Marineland, Eheim, Aqueon or other manufacturers. The key is to delegate a staff member to do it. They usually will take pride and good care of the displays. For us, social networking such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Constant Contact are a valuable resource to garner interest in “us” or aquarium entertainment.

Q (Questions): Once a person or family is interested, they will have questions. How well are you prepared to deal with their thoughts and concerns? Is your staff educated enough in aquatics? Do you need to make, revamp or start an aquatics manual? Do you provide pamphlets, brochures or any other information a customer might want to take home and learn from?

U (Understanding the Value): How well does your shop and staff communicate the value of an aquarium? Consumers must be able to justify the cost. Does your staff know the right things to say, such as:

  • With our guidance, aquariums are easy to maintain.

  • With new age technology, fish live better and longer than in the past.

  • Aquariums are tranquil and therapeutic.

  • Collecting fish is fun!

  • We'll help you build a living work of art.

I have at least 10 of these comments and my staff is required to memorize them and use at least one of them when helping a potential buyer of a new setup. Trust me; they help a lot in closing the deal.

S (Sales): How are they? Is the percentage increase acceptable to you? If not, go back and reevaluate the equation. Are you developing interests? Does your shop and staff need to do a better job at servicing? Are clients leaving without a purchase? If so, why? Maybe you have to communicate a better value to their purchase.

In my next blog I will talk about the “value” you should portray to your clients. Remember IQUS and forget about ICKS the disease.

 

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