The Value of Keeping up with Your Inventory List

Years ago Proctor and Gamble came up with a slogan for one of their products that I want to use to set up this short and helpful article. That slogan was, “You Only Have One Chance to Make a First Impression.” It was a slogan to promote their dandruff shampoo and it was very successful. Sales climbed unbelievably when the emotion of this slogan hit home with consumers. Dandruff on one’s shoulders, be you a man or woman, is not a positive first impression. This is not simply because it doesn’t look good but because it does not speak well for how you manage things, namely yourself. If you are slipshod about managing yourself why would someone want to trust you with something of value to them?

We recently had a couple of clients not experiencing the typical follow up interest others have had. In reviewing the components of their program, we observed that very little attention was being paid to their inventory list which was the instant gratification being used to convert internet traffic into leads. Folks, first impressions are important! Why? Because no matter what you are attempting to sell, the first thing you are truly selling is confidence. If you want to sell fine pianos, it takes a modicum of trust for someone to believe that YOU are the concierge that will steer them in the direction of the best instrument inside of their price range. Are you more likely to trust someone who presents themselves as a detail oriented and caring person or someone who just kind’a gets the job done? Rhetorical I know. The hard fact is that if you appear to be dependable, you will feel like a better choice than your competition. Selling is a competitive arena.

Somewhere in my professional past I heard the cliché that “Presentation is Everything.” If you buy into my premise that a first impression is a better and stronger vantage point to sell from, than the following helpful suggestions will serve your inventory list and bottom line well…

First off, I would make my pictures a good as possible. A used list looks less contrived if the shots aren’t studio quality, but they need to be half-way decent to look professional. (Looking authentic doesn’t mean totally amateur and ugly if you catch my drift.)

Since the inventory list promises to feature “used” pianos, have as many as you can and if you don’t have many, list some new ones that have been with you too long, some that need to find a new home more so than some of your other instruments. Make sure that prospects get what they ask for first, used and dated new discounted pianos to consider.

Place your new pianos on the bottom half of the list to make it longer. People love choices. We can provide a “default” manufacturer list that works fine as long as it is AFTER the used pianos appear on the list.

Use the price range feature. Many people entering the buying cycle are in the discovery mode and have no earthly idea of what pianos cost, so use the price range feature to manage their expectations. It can also weed out some of those who expect to be able to buy a nice grand piano for $500. I would NOT list MSRP, but stick to price ranges and if you would like an explanation, my opinion it is documented in detail here:

Leave some instruments on the list marked as sold to create some urgency. Prospects need to understand visually that you actually do sell pianos and that whatever they may be considering will not necessarily be there when they do decide to pull the trigger. I would not leave more than 20-25% sold on the list but having some I think is a positive.

Tell a story about each and every piano. Remember that every piano is a one-of -a-kind. Sell the appropriate setting for its best home and sell the benefits of that particular instrument in that perfect setting. People buy on an emotion and back it up with logic so give each piano a personality. The “why” is more important than the “what” and “how much” so sell the ideal setting and you will sell more pianos. I won’t take up a lot of space explaining this advice so if it is not apparent or I haven’t explained it well enough call me. I love to talk shop.

Appoint a dedicated person to keep up with the list. Tongue and cheek, I reference this old cliché: “the road to hell is lined with good intentions.” The truth is that even if you agree with all these suggestions it is all for naught if you don’t have a person inside your organization who is held accountable for keeping up with the current nature and management of the inventory list. I don’t think it is a daily task, but it is definitely a weekly one if you are in the habit of actually selling pianos. In the future we will make the list smart enough to tell you if a prospect has viewed a particular instrument more than once or for an extended period of time, so you need to get in the habit of paying attention to the management of the list. One of my favorite sayings from Peter Drucker is: “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast”, so I strongly encourage you to either do it yourself or instruct someone (or everyone) on the team to login and keep your list updated.

If you properly maintain your inventory list, well what will it do for you? The following (in summary of the bullet points): give a good first impression, make sure you give the prospects what they are looking for, let them know that you have new instruments as well, give them a real world feel for what pianos cost, let them know that opportunities can be fleeting, and understand the various personalities and appropriate environments for the pianos available for purchase. In short – position yourself as the very best source of dependable piano information.

Prospects are curious about what you have to offer. Today’s selling landscape is one where information is more accessible than ever before in history. Give them a good looking*, well presented list, with decent descriptions of the pianos including their strengths and values then watch your engagement rate, therefore your sales, increase. Trust my advice on this, only if I have earned it… naturally.

If people are failing, they look inept. If people are succeeding, they look strong and competent. That’s the ‘halo effect.’ Your first impression sets up your subsequent beliefs. If the company looks inept to you, you may assume everything else they do is inept – Daniel Kahneman

* In 2019, after the new PianoLeads Platform is ready for human consumption, you will have an even more attractive template and more freedom to manage your list most effectively. We are working to make that available as soon as possible.

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