game needs rules. If, selling is called
the "selling" game, then by all
logic there should be rules. Some think
there are too many people offering too many
rules and I am one of them. I believe that
because there are too many rules most people
think selling is difficult. There are penalties
attached to breaking the rules - lost sales,
lost raises, and maybe even lost jobs.
every rule expounded by a "sales-expert"
I have heard or read, there is an opposite
"rule" to contradict that rule.
No wonder selling is so confusing an occupation.
People in sales find themselves wanting
to break the rules all the time because
rules get in the way of making the sale.
have found only one rule that seems to
hold fast and true in EVERY selling situation
and that rule is:
First Glance Or At First Hearing The Presentation
Must Be Logical And Understandable To
the other "rules" you read or
hear about should be considered "guidelines".
If these guidelines do not fit with the
rule, the guideline should not be used.
If products or services are not presented
in a logical and understandable to the
customer, the sale will most likely, not
difficulty for the person doing the selling
is to determine just what is logical and
understandable to a customer. It is my
opinion that this is where presentations
fall down. I think that the most difficult
task in the merchandising of anything
is for the seller to look at what (s)he
is offering and the way (s)he is presenting
it, as if the seller knew nothing about
am often asked to critique displays, booths,
windows, brochures and web sites for my
clients. Most of the time they don't want
a critique what they are really asking
for are compliments. My method of critiquing
is not to tear apart what they are doing.
I ask them to do is to step back and look
at what they are presenting as if it was
new to them for the first time. If it's
a window display or a trade show booth,
I have them stand across the street and
I ask them to describe what they see.
I have them walk (stroll) down the street
and look at their window as it first comes
in view. I have them measure the time
it takes from that first glance until
the window is no longer visible to their
it's auto traffic they are trying to attract,
I have them drive by. Then I ask them
to describe the kind of story does the
window tells during those few seconds
customers have to make up their mind about
what the window shows.
window display or trade show booth has
to appeal to customers in many ways. If
customers do not have ANY notion of buying
what is in the window/booth, they will
have given it only a furtive glance -
and that glance has to tell them that
what was being displayed did not fit into
anything they were doing or thinking.
If the passerby determines with that furtive
glance that what is being shown might
fit into future ideas or plans, they will
register a bit more information. If what
is being displayed fits into what they
are currently doing or actively planning,
then they will stop and peruse the display
further. The next step is entering the
store or booth.
displays, window display being just one
format, are a method of communicating
a story between a business and the end-user.
Between the two, there are many intermediaries
-- a customer, and those they talk to
about what they are considering before
making a purchase. Part of that communication
process is lost if the passerby is not
able to carry the story to others.
people think that what makes a great presentation
is that it is fancy or beautiful or "with-it"
when what's important is how logical and
understandable it is. In most instances,
it is "window dressings" that
get in the way of making the sale.
layouts are a combination of many other
types of displays. They set the ambiance
for all other displays. There needs to
be a logical look to the store.
of my many mentors drummed this into my
head early on in my retail career. It
was his Rule #1. He said,
merchandise is the accent; the accent
is the merchandise!"
people are distracted by things that cause
them to talk or think about something
other than merchandise or services offered.
same "logic and understandable"
presentation is not limited to store displays.
It should be applied to everything a business
does: brochures, catalogues, web sites,
advertisements and verbal presentations.
is made easier when the Rule of Selling
becomes a way of life for everyone in