Reinventing a Brand Starts from Within the Heart of the Company – Its Sales Team
Barbeques Galore is a specialty retailer of grills and outdoor living products. Founded in Australia in 1977, the company expanded into the United States in 1980. Barbeques Galore had success in the market with people buying their grills on the quality of the materials and the product, but competition from discount stores like Costco and Wal-Mart started costing them market share on their lower priced grills.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter
It was time for Barbeques Galore to get to the heart of its brand, shift their focus to the customer and the outdoor cooking experience their grills provided vs. the nuts and bolts of the equipment. Their previous customers had primarily been men, but focusing on the cooking experience opened up a new customer market of women and couples. They began a program to remodel their stores, including creating test kitchens to promote the experience of grilling delicious and often healthy food outside.
Barbeques Galore knew that to reach their new customer base, they also needed to reinvent themselves. They enlisted David Couper to create an internal initiative to retrain their sales force to be more effective at engaging their new customer base and better understand their needs.
Training for Success
David worked closely with the senior leaders of Barbeques Galore and with their stores across the US to assess their current sales process and the challenges of selling to a new customer and to design and implement an impactful sales training program.
He knew the training had to be more than product knowledge. The sales people had to know how to create an experience for the customer. That meant understanding how to cook on a grill, how to connect with someone so you could understand what their vision and needs were, and how to change minds of people who had been working one way for much of their careers. Change was crucial.
The result was creating a corporate university program with a BA and other levels of “degree." Each course in their sales training program included knowledge of selling skills, as well as cooking and product knowledge, all presented in a way that would inform the different types of customer. The program and materials were designed for the store manager to serve as the trainer in a “train the trainer” fashion and was rolled out to these store managers as a pilot program.
To transform a brand, and build a new revenue stream, change must start within the heart of the organization, particularly with those who are on the front line of the brand—the sales force. And that takes commitment and a willingness to change oneself to reach the hearts and minds of your customer.