Bright, blinding bursts of blinking colored lights. Static and video sign boards in all directions, every one of them competing for your attention. Sensory overload! And no, it is not Vegas. It is yet another poorly designed Point of Sale environment. One where you can be sure that money is being left on the table.
Just because YOU CAN (install flame throwers and massive video walls adjacent to your ticket windows) doesn’t mean that YOU SHOULD.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A successful Point of Sale environment thoughtfully balances the need to educate your guests while still allowing you to connect with them in an effort to provide right-fit products.
Sensory overload accomplishes one thing and one thing only. It shuts your guest down. They stop processing. They are no longer open to hearing what you have to say. Instead, they become annoyed and simply demand the lowest price point. They say things like:
“Stop trying to sell me. I only need the General Admission ticket.”
“All I want is your base ticket please. Are you on commission?”
“Look, this is way too confusing. I just want to get inside.”
Through the Eyes of Your Guest. Well before their Point of Sale interaction, your guests begin to form an impression of how the visit to your facility will be. As they park their car, walk toward your facility entrance, and pass through the doorway, the show is on and everything speaks. Everything tells a story. Will yours be a good one?
Your guests want a smooth, uneventful arrival and the best facilities leave nothing to chance. They are laser-focused on getting it right, keeping it polished, and making certain that everything looks fantastic. They use tools like pre-opening checklists and formal quality walks to ensure that nothing is missed. They hose down or sweep their pathways, check regularly to see that the parking lot is free and clear of debris, and replant their landscaping regularly to ensure that it always appears green and fresh. Guests form an opinion right away. What they see as your guests arrive to your facility sets the stage. Pay attention to detail. Everything speaks.
Focus Your Message. If external advertising and marketing budgets have done their job, arriving guests already know about your anchor attraction—that’s what they are coming to see. Avoid going overboard in promoting the big new attraction or special engagement with too much fanfare in your queue or at your Point of Sale counters. Instead, educate and connect on products that your guests do not already know about. Perhaps it is the new meal plan you are trying out or maybe it is a behind the scenes tour experience. Educate your guests about the exhibits and attractions they will be missing if they don’t purchase your Best Value ticket. Get them excited but keep it simple. Make a compelling argument but don’t overwhelm them.
Feature and Benefit Statements. Features are brief descriptions of what your products actually do. If it’s a film-based simulator ride, choose a feature statement like this: “it’s a thrilling, white-knuckle chase through an ancient underground civilization” or if it’s a replica of King Tut’s Tomb, “experience a breathtaking replica of the Tomb of Tutankhamen, just as Howard Carter experienced it in 1922.” Avoid sharing product exclusions in your feature statements. Exclusions are perceived as a negative feature and thus, sharing them in your feature statement is counterproductive. Instead, save it for the fine print, or even better, choose to have your sales team deliver the exclusions before processing payment.
Benefits are the most important statements you can deliver. The image below captures the essence of the experience, conveying fun, excitement, and joy and connecting with each of us on an emotional level. Your sales team must be able to accomplish the same thing simply with their words and inflection. As an example, you might describe the image below like this: “you’ll feel the wind in your face, touch the bubbles, and even smell the fresh scent of the forest. The digital 3D imagery is so real, you might even forget for a moment that you are inside of a theater.”
Avoid Creating Pricing Bias. If the goal is to persuade guests to purchase the Best Value ticket, feature and benefit statements need to occur before price is ever mentioned. Guests need to know WHAT it is before hearing how much it is. While there is no getting around the guest who has already done their research and has decided firmly on what they want after browsing your online ticket engine, this guest is the exception—NOT the rule. The vast majority of your guests are open to hearing what you have to say. Place “Feature and Benefit” before price and your sales will soar.
Get Input From Your Sales Team. Don’t do it alone. Get feedback both from your management team and your front line staff. Put as much stock in what your new team members have to say as you do in your old-timers. Ask your team open-ended questions. Share your concerns and ask for help in solving a particular challenge. You will get some amazing buy-in to any changes that are coming down the line; and you will also receive valuable information that you wouldn’t have otherwise known.
Use Technology Wisely. Technology should be used to educate and connect on the products and services you want your guests to know about most prior to the sales interaction. Avoid information overload. Instead, use intuitive visual aids, such as Operation: Pineapple’s eaSel™ Strategic Sales Solution, to convey the right message to your guests every time.
Synergistic Sales. The Point of Sale process should be a controlled conversation between the guest and a member of your Sales Team. That friendly dialogue should seek to identify specific information. Are they locals or visitors? Do they visit often? How long will they be in the area? Your sales team must make every effort to use these fact finding questions to match right-fit products to their guests.
If your sales team has received the right training and your signage and multi-media are complimentary to the products you want to sell most, the stage is set and your sales program will be an astounding success!