Case Study #55: Part Three – How Big Box Retail Sales Practices Derailed a Quality Product

In part one we described the startling factors found that were causing the poor sales of the client’s car audio system, and the excruciatingly basic solution – train the customer’s sales team. Read Part One here.

Part two of this case study discussed the discovery that the client’s security and keyless entry system needed to be much easier to install to capture sales, and the information we now knew the client’s multimedia training presentation would need to cover. Read Part Two here.

Part Three

Putting it All Together

Our client’s training presentation, as well as training presentations by the client’s dozen or so competitors, would be delivered to the customer’s 5000 sales associates on one Saturday morning, nationwide, before store opening. The components of our client’s presentation would be a leave-behind training manual and a video.

A quiz on key points from the video (which reinforced the training manual information) would make the presentation as interactive as possible; a feedback questionnaire would capture the sales associates’ contact information and enter the sales associates into a contest to win a car audio component.

Training Manual

Our requirements for the training manual were: Train the sales associates on basic sales techniques. Train them on basic audio nomenclature, the unique vehicle audio environment and our client’s innovative technology for that environment. Provide easy to understand, memorable product information including which components worked together. Make the associates feel that the client had materially helped them. 

Accordingly, we produced a 110-page manual composed of:

  • General sales techniques (such as listening, handling objections, controlling the discussion, closing ) and techniques specific to selling car audio
  • The client’s cutting-edge car audio sound technologies and how they solve the unique car audio environment
  • A detailed discussion of each product line with features and benefits, a product name/model decoder, and special order product information.

The manual also contained checklists and visual information to clearly communicate the ideas and hold the reader’s attention, drills enabling the sales associate to ​perfect his knowledge, a glossary of audio technical terms, the background and history of the client’s company and resource contact information.

To make the manual a value-add so the sales associates would feel that the client had aided them in their job, each sales associate attendee received a training manual and reference copies were given to each sales department for training associates (remember that the turnover rate in the car audio department was 25%).

The Video

The presentation itself needed to be a very catchy and memorable video that would not only showcase the client’s product line but reinforce the training manual information and the improved security and keyless entry system. To highlight the improved ease of installation, the video would include an installer from a customer’s store performing a timed installation of the security system.

The video production company produced a humorous movie modeled after a sci-fi film popular at the time featuring government agents in dark suits, with sunglasses and a special “forgetter” pen. These “agents” zapped one of the retailer’s sales associates into their black limousine and, using the client’s in-car multimedia display and a pen that made the associate remember rather than forget, “trained” him on car audio technology, the client’s product line features and benefits as well as sales techniques.

in the limo
The two “agents” and the sales associate in the limo.

The video showed exaggerated scenarios to reinforce key technology points, such as a hapless (and fictional) sales associate trying to rig his home stereo to work in his car.

home stereo in vehicle
Demonstrating the difference between a home stereo and car audio. Note the home stereo receiver on the dash and home speakers on the car hood.

To demonstrate the client’s strong capacitors (the solution to a car battery’s fluctuating power supply), the same hapless sales associate is shown trying to rig extra-large capacitors in his vehicle.

rigging capacitors
Extra large capacitors in the front seat – highlighting the client’s special capacitors.

Likening the idea of add-ons or up-sells to fast food restaurants meal deals, the agents and the associate visited a fast-food drive-through for lunch and coined the phrase “Would you like security with that?”

options menu
Visual representation of component packages with a security system as an add-on.

The video showed the improved security system module and listed out its features, and had an actual store employee install one of the improved security systems. The video tracked and timed the installation and captured the installer’s comments.

install bay visit
Two “agents” delivering the new security system to an actual store installer for a timed installation.


installation progress
Checking in on the timed security system install. 


training manual
Teaching sales skills and reinforcing what sales associates would find in their training manuals (the manual being held by agent on right).

Continuing the humor of the video, outtakes were shown as the closing credits played.

Results and Statistics

  • 3000 of the 5000 sales personnel attended the training presentations. The majority of the 3000 were scheduled for a Saturday morning shift.
  • Our client’s video and training manual were rated the most popular, and the most helpful, of all the presentations
  • 75% of the attendees responded to our client’s after-presentation survey, which provided the client with future contact and data-mining opportunities. This much closer contact to the consumer also improved the client’s ability to forecast.
  • The customer was so impressed with our presentation that it shared its forecasting technique with the client, which it previously had been unwilling to do
  • Security system sales increased 3X in the first quarter after the presentation, and sales of car alarms alone paid for the video three times over

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