The Self-Fulfilling Sales Prophecy


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Wouldn’t it be nice to have a crystal ball to tell what products will sell?

It can be hard to predict why one product will be a sales success, and another will languish on the shelves. There may be all kinds of reasons.

It can be timing. Product quality. Placement of the product in the store.
Or a combination of many different factors.

When you put a new product on the floor, it’s hard to know whether it’ll be a dud. Or a superstar.

What can you do when you don’t know which product is going to be popular, and which one will gather dust? You might not have a crystal ball, but you can use the self-fulfilling prophecy of sales to give your products the best chance of success.

What is the self-fulfilling prophecy of sales?

The self-fulfilling prophecy is at work when we buy an item for our store because we love it and we’re absolutely positive it’s going to sell. The new product arrives in the store and makes you swoon. You set one aside and buy it for yourself.

You’re so excited about this new product, you immediately put it on display at the front of the store. When shoppers come in the door, you mention this new item. You tell them you bought it yourself and why you’ve found it to be a great product.

You’re so sure this is going to be a popular item, you order more in all the colours available. With this large volume of merchandise, you make a powerful display of the assortment. You tell the rest of the sales team what a great product this is. You make sure the team knows all there is to know about how to use this item. You get them all to try it out.

Sure enough, this product sells like gangbusters. You just knew it was going to be a hit! It seems like you were right. The product is just as amazing as you predicted.

Or maybe not. Perhaps this product is not any more remarkable than many of the other products you have to offer.

Sometimes, what makes a product sell is Attitude.

Attitude is the self-fulfilling prophecy

When we love a product, it sells because our attitude changes our actions.
Our attitude creates the self-fulfilling prophecy. Our enthusiasm becomes infectious. It influences our interactions with customers.

By taking a closer look at how the choices we make when we love a product, we can consciously choose to have a positive influence on the sales of all of our products. Not just the ones we personally prefer. We can determine actions to take when a product is not living up to our sales expectations.

So, what do we do when we love a product?

We do three things:

  1. Promote more
  2. Learn more
  3. Share more

1) Promote more

When we love a product, we tend to feature it in a prominent location. We put the product in the window, or near the front door. We put it on display. We make sure that everyone who walks in the store is going to see it.

2) Learn more

We typically learn more about a product that we really like. We try it out. We buy it for ourselves. We research the background. We examine it in detail. We tend to share this information with other coworkers, and with customers. The more educated we are about a product, the more educated the customer is likely to be about that product. And they tend to buy more. So, pass on your knowledge.

3) Share more

When we’re enthusiastic about a product, we offer it to more customers. And customers catch our enthusiasm. Customers more likely to buy when they’re excited about the product. And the more shoppers we offer a product to, the more sales we’ll make.

Learn to use the self-fulfilling prophecy in your store

  • Act as if you love every product.
  • Rotate displays regularly. Feature all products in a key display at some point.
  • Learn about and try all your products. Make sure your team is made up of product experts in the items you sell.
  • Inform all customers about new items.

What’s not selling?

Take a look around your store. Find the products that are not selling as well as others. Make a prophecy about their future stardom, then take action to make it come true.

Start treating these languishing duds like superstars.

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