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Basic Tanning Certification
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Understanding Customer Behavior
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Chapter 3: Understanding Customer Behavior

Understanding your customer and tailoring your sales presentations to fit the specific needs of the individual customer is a key secret to success. This is accomplished, in part, by understanding that all customers fit into one of four specific categories.

Examining The Four Groups

All customers fit into one of four categories--belongers, emulators, achievers or socially conscious. Once you identify which category your customer or potential customer fits into, you can adapt your sales presentation accordingly.

The first group, the "belongers," are the patriotic type who believe in America first. These people have a need to belong and be included. They are the type that will patronize your salon because their friends do and they don't want to be left out.

In addition, belongers believe in unity and community. They go along with the pack. They also like things that are simple and easy to understand. Belongers are easy to recognize. They drive sensible cars, dress conservatively and are very family oriented. Belongers also are very easy to deal with.

When making a sales presentation to a belonger, drop the names of other customers who live in their neighborhood or share similar interests. Present belongers with the tanning packages and lotion products that are the most popular sellers. Catch phrases such as "this is my favorite" and "here's what everyone's buying" will help close the sale. Once a belonger becomes a customer of your business, they enthusiastically will encourage others to do so as well.

The second group is classified as "emulators." To emulate means to strive to equal or surpass. Emulators want what others have, and they often try to imitate the rich and famous.

Emulators are extremely image conscious and focused on outward appearance. To the emulator, everything revolves around sex and sex appeal. Their purchasing decisions are based on a product's ability to enhance their appearance and attractiveness. They lack a strong work ethic and therefore always are looking for a short cut to achieve fame, fortune and success. Consequently, they often live from paycheck to paycheck, although you wouldn't know it by outward appearances.

Emulators will max-out a new credit card within one week after receiving it. In addition, they overspend on things that are not essential while complaining about a 5-cent increase in the price of a gallon of milk. They want the best of everything, but often are forced to purchase knock-offs and imitations. Emulators also tend to over accessorize. Look for lots of jewelry, make-up and the excessive use of fragrances. They lease flashy vehicles, consider the purchase of a time-share vacation an investment and count cash advances on credit cards as part of their actual net worth.

When selling to an emulator, it's important to enthusiastically discuss the end results that will be achieved by using a particular tanning system or lotion. Use catch phrases such as "a few sessions in this tanning system and people will think you just got back from Cancun." When selling a lotion product, try a phrase such as "this product will really get you noticed." Since emulators spend freely, you may wish to demonstrate the most expensive products first; however, always have a back-up product ready if you sense them balking on price.

The third group of customers is the "achievers." Achievers are the real article. They strive for success and achieve their goals. Since they are truly successful and not just putting on a show, they don't waste time. They want a quick, no-nonsense sales pitch that gets right to the point. They immediately want to know the bottom line on features, benefits and pricing.

Additionally, achievers have all the earmarks of success. They own the highest quality cars, live in the best neighborhoods and vacation first class. While the achiever is not overly concerned with the dollar amount of a product, they will not waste money. They will pay only for value and results.

Achievers do not want to be part of the crowd. They strive to be unique by purchasing products that they believe will separate themselves from the pack; however, achievers should not be classified as snobs. They simply relish the rewards of hard work.

This group will purchase tanning packages on your top of the line equipment and highest quality lotion products. When dealing with an achiever, always remember to sell from the top down. Statements such as "this product's not for everyone," and "this is the Mercedes of tanning systems" trigger their hot buttons. Achievers are most likely to purchase long-term packages.

The last group, "socially conscious," can be sub-classified into two categories: The hippy drop-outs and the social drop-ins. While each group may have their own ideas on how to achieve their goals, their agendas are similar. They want to fix the world and are environmentally aware.

The socially conscious crave information about your products and services. They want to know how and why things work. They feel it is their duty and social responsibility to interrogate you and your staff. The socially conscious are value driven and are always looking for a good deal. They are frugal with their money and have been known to develop hand cramps from clipping coupons.

While this group normally is the hardest to sell, you can gain an advantage by offering packages and products that include free tanning sessions with each purchase. To be most effective, you should itemize in writing the actual savings. For example, if you include two free tanning sessions with the purchase of a bottle of lotion, be sure to specify the actual cash value of the free sessions.

Before you try to psychoanalyze each of your customers and pigeon hole them into their respective categories, remember that no study or methodology is perfect or all encompassing. Many people cross over from one group to another. They may exhibit the traits of an achiever when it comes to buying a home. However, when it comes to donating to a charity, they have the heart of the socially conscious.

Therefore initial emphasis of your sales presentation should focus on identifying and then fulfilling the needs of each individual customer. An important point that this study does reveal is that a canned or rehearsed universal sales presentation will fail at least 75 percent of the time. Thus, it is essential that you realize the differences and similarities between customers and structure your sales presentations accordingly.

For practice, analyze the habits and lifestyles of several existing customers with whom you are familiar. Consider which category they fit into and develop a sales strategies for each.

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