Dovetailing Your Marketing and Sales Processes

Today’s post is based on what happened to me the other week at T M Lewin’s (expert shirtmakers since 1898).  I like T M Lewin’s, in fact I am wearing one of their suits as I write this post.  I’m just using this as an example to show you how you can dramatically increase your sales simply by making a few changes to your marketing process.

The concepts covered in this story and my suggestions can be used effectively by any business (retail or otherwise).  Later this week, I’ll take these ideas and show you how they could be applied to a professional service company but for now here’s the story:

About 2 weeks ago I received an e-mail from T M Lewin’s inviting me to their VIP event from Fri 17th- Sun 19th May.  The event was to showcase their new season’s range which I could get with 10% off on and, as an additional enticement, they would give me a goody bag worth £50 just for coming in.

I read the e-mail with interest and then promptly forgot about it.  They sent me a reminder over the weekend of the event (a smart move) and I thought, as I was in the city centre on Sunday afternoon, that I would drop in.

I did so and when the sales person asked me how he could help, I mentioned the VIP event.  He asked to see my invite (this is a great move as it gives a feeling of exclusivity as in “your name is on the list”) and I showed him my e-mail invite on my iPhone.

This is where things started to go awry.

The sales person then apologised for the goody bags and said that they were what Head Office had sent out.  He then went away and got me a goody bag, realised it was missing something, went back, got another one, came back, gave it to me, apologised again and went back to serve on the till.

I then wandered around the shop looking at several pairs of cuff links which I liked and were on sale.  I would usually have bought a pair or two but I felt slightly disheartened by the whole experience so quietly left.  

So what could be in the goody bag which would generate such an apologetic outburst?  There was:

  • A handful of sweets
  • A sampler of moisturiser for men
  • A nice pair of silks (which they had on sale in the shop)
  • A £5 off voucher for T M Lewin when you spent over a certain amount
  • An exclusive £40 off voucher for Virgin Wines when you bought a case of wine from them (minimum spend £79.99 excluding £7 delivery charge)

I was fine with the content of the bag but there where a few easily correctable errors made here including:

1.  The sales person clearly wasn’t happy giving the above goody bag labelled at £50 value.  This effectively put a stop on his selling which was the sole reason this incentive was given in the first place. Remember this was the end of the event and, from his manner, I would guess that he had received a number of remarks from disappointed shoppers.

2.  T M Lewin’s has a certain position as a brand.  It has a feel of exclusivity and it’s there for “those in the know” (for example they don’t engage in broad advertising).  Virgin Wines on the other hand is well-publicised and  I used to regularly receive their money off vouchers in Amazon order packages.   Personally, I think Virgin Wines is more in a similar market position to Moss Bros than T M Lewin’s.  So I don’t think brand-wise this was the best match for them.

3.  The bulk of the value of the goody bag was from a voucher for another company and you had to spend £47 to benefit from the £40 off.

4.  T M Lewin’s had worked hard and used a good promotional idea but the above points didn’t support them in making the sales they were looking for.

So what would I suggest?

Rather than a goody bag, I would have offered VIP invitees the choice of a T M Lewin’s tie from a limited “VIP range”.  Why a choice?  Well for one it engages the person and a sales person would work with the customer to find out which was the right one for them.  This then easily segues into shirts that would match and getting the prospect to invest in four shirts for £100 (which is a great deal for their shirts).  

Over the event, they were offering a further £10 off these so you could get four shirts for £90.  I would have kept the offer at £100 and the £10 “saved” would have off-set the cost of the tie.  Once they have selected the shirts the sales person could then point out the cuff links that were on offer and so on.

Note: T M Lewin’s ties have a RRP of around £65 but they are often reduced on their web site to the multi-buy price of £22.  So by doing this they are still offering a gift of over £50 value which doesn’t break their marketing budget.  They could even possibly find a range of ties specifically for this event which were discounted by a supplier.  Surely ties must be a low cost (to the supplier), high value (to the customer) item.  

OK, so this approach is going to cost more to implement than the above idea (also I obviously don’t know if and how much companies paid to promote their services through the goody bag).  But I think this approach would have lead to greater sales and would have made a more effective impact on their target audience.  

Ultimately, it always comes back to return on investment and I’d always rather spend £10,000 to get £100,000 back than £1,000 to get £2,000 back.

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