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View Full Version : Question for GW Staff ~ Closing the Deal



Inquisitor Shego
15-06-2015, 12:42
With the cost of starting into the hobby getting more and more, and kids needing things like Models, Codex, Paints, Clippers, Glue, this hobby seems more and more impenetrable to young new players in my eyes. I have seen many examples of parents coming in, and almost being completely horrified with the costs as their kids walk around the store, wide-eyed and hypnotised by the potential of the hobby. Any ex/current staff members here able to honestly answer how they feel about introductions to the warhammer experience and if they can be improved? Or how they best get new players into the system?

~EDIT~

This isn't a thread to attack staff or the hobby. I'm genuinely curious

ColShaw
15-06-2015, 16:17
With the cost of starting into the hobby getting more and more, and kids needing things like Models, Codex, Paints, Clippers, Glue, this hobby seems more and more impenetrable to young new players in my eyes. I have seen many examples of parents coming in, and almost being completely horrified with the costs as their kids walk around the store, wide-eyed and hypnotised by the potential of the hobby. Any ex/current staff members here able to honestly answer how they feel about introductions to the warhammer experience and if they can be improved? Or how they best get new players into the system?

~EDIT~

This isn't a thread to attack staff or the hobby. I'm genuinely curious

Take this with a grain of salt, as my experience is a decade old.

I was a Redshirt '04-'05 in Washington State, Seattle area.

I wasn't a good salesman, by GW's standards. In fact, that was why they let me go. I was very good at establishing rapport with customers, knowledgeable about the hobby, and helpful. I just wasn't good at upselling and making people leave with more than they'd meant to buy when they went in. My view was that my job was to get people interested in the hobby, get them thinking about it, get them WANTING it. Then the sales would naturally follow, whether through our store that day, or online that evening, or next week, or whenever. When asked about cost, I would explain the cost of the starter set, recommend some things that would go with it (a starter paint set and a bottle of glue) and lay that out. People aren't looking to buy a 2000-point army right away when they start, in most cases. I would modify my pitch depending on what I thought they were looking to do and how serious they seemed.

Anyway, this was not the view of management, and eventually they asked me to leave. But it was the only way I could do my job with a modicum of self-respect.

beanerboy
15-06-2015, 19:12
I have never worked for gw but I did work part time in retail for 6 years. I used to sell over priced electronics to people who didn't really know what they were buying. At first I was the managers dream sales person, I could up sell and cross sell with out even thinking about it. Often it is about justifying things to a new customer. Making them think that actually they are getting a good deal. I can imagine this is transferable to brining new customers into the hobby. Explaining that the starter set gets you everything you need to play the game, then a paint set gets you everything you need to enjoy the hobby really can seem a good deal when compared to the separate parts. Then explain how much enjoyment can be found in the community, the support of the store etc...

I imagine it's much more difficult now with one man stores as I originally thrived on helping others in my store upsell.

Thankfully I saw the error of my ways when I realised it's much easier to find genuine deals for customers.

Khaines Wrath
16-06-2015, 07:25
My philosophy is similar to Colshaw, fortunately I work in a large department store so the need to upsell isn't much enforced. But I always say to people buy the basics first.

If I was in such a situation the only thing I could do is advise them to get the starter kit, see how they like it and then see where they want to go.

The starter sets are generally good value.

- the rules set 'obviously the basic one without all the bells and whistles"
- dice, ruler stick and templates
- 2 small armies

Unless they are 100% gunning for an army outside of the starter kit that would be my advice.

hobojebus
16-06-2015, 13:52
I used to work in retail and they were always telling us to push the store card and i just flat out refused to help already poor people get into even deeper debt.

And i'd never ask them if they wanted the expensive batteries i'd just point out the cheap ones on offer.

And our insurance was a ripoff so i wouldn't ever offer it.

Easy E
16-06-2015, 22:33
The number 1 way to close the sale, is to ask for the sale.

The difference between a deccent slaesperson and a fired one is that one little trick. Flat out ask the buyer to buy it from you.

hobojebus
17-06-2015, 01:12
Nah my principles get in the way when you ask me to make poor people even poorer.

Felwether
18-06-2015, 15:29
I work in an indy and we get quite a lot of kids in. I've had fairly good results with actually selling useful stuff and getting the kids (and parents) invested in the hobby rather than just pushing the highest value item I can and never having the customer come back. Since GW discontinued the starter paint set (the new one with the 3 push fits and the tiny pots of paint is awful) I've been offering a starter bundle of a troops/core choice, 4 paints of the customer's choice, a brush and some freebie poly cement we got a while ago. It's still E40-E50 but it contains stuff the customers actually want and the majority of them come back.

EDIT: Interesting side note on letting the kids pick the army they want rather than foisting Space Marines on them: there's a much better selection of armies around!

DazzaD
21-06-2015, 12:08
One of the main reasons why I started to avoid going into GW stores (for the last 20 years!) is their awful sales technique. When I walk in being greeted is lovely but being hassled and having a pressure sale put on, when they dont pick up on any of my social cues, drives me away. I would much rather go hunt out the product elsewhere at some other store. I am not a small child, I am not an easy person to persuade about anything, take the hint, stay out of my face. By all means chat about the hobby and strike up a conversation, but pressure sale me and I will walk straight out.

For the same reason no I do NOT want shops to sell me your overpriced batteries for every single item. No I do NOT want to buy 100 of shopping to have you try to sell me some tat you cant get rid of at the till.

Is it so hard to appreciate old fashioned sales techniques where the customer was really respected?

These sales techniques might allow for rapid expansion but you can NOT keep expanding. At some point you have to have a stable relationship with the customer base. Companies in such a niche market have an absolute ceiling to the number of people who will be interested. Drive them away and you are losing market share hand over fist.


The bottom line is NOT the bottom line!

ebbwar
21-06-2015, 19:54
Unfortunately, its not just GW with annoying sales tactics these days. I now avoid the town centre of where I live as wherever I go on the high street or the shopping centres, I would constantly get charities, companies and credit card companies pouncing on me to get a sale. Its so much more peaceful to buy the stuff I want over the internet without some stranger trying to tell me what I want :)

Coldhatred
21-06-2015, 23:50
Unfortunately, its not just GW with annoying sales tactics these days. I now avoid the town centre of where I live as wherever I go on the high street or the shopping centres, I would constantly get charities, companies and credit card companies pouncing on me to get a sale. Its so much more peaceful to buy the stuff I want over the internet without some stranger trying to tell me what I want :)

No joke. And this is coming from a former red shirt too (well ours were black by that time). I tried to be honest, and be an advocate for the customer by letting my enthusiasm rub off on them. A lot of times it worked. . .until they saw the price tag. It's just isn't feasible anymore. I know guys still working there that are far and away better salesmen than I will ever be and I still hear about them struggling. GW is killing themselves. Plain and simple.

Earl_UK
22-06-2015, 11:38
When I ran an Indy Store, I used to sell Console games too, many parents would look at the prices of the pile of GW stuff in their kids hands which most of them knew would turn into a pile of plastic junk with paint splattered all over it, then would talk them into a nice new release game instead as they knew that had resale / trade ability in that.

I really couldn't knock than for that.

BeardMonk
23-06-2015, 12:26
.....many parents would look at the prices of the pile of GW stuff in their kids hands which most of them knew would turn into a pile of plastic junk with paint splattered all over it.........

I really couldn't knock than for that.

Slightly OT, but this is quite an interesting point.

GW (apparently) specialise in the production of detailed, high quality models which require a level of time, commitment, patience and skill to turn from grey plastic to a fine looking miniature.

However they seem to be marketing their most successfully product lines to older kids and young teens who, by definition of age will lack much of that and will end up just producing some crap looking plastic monstrosity and quickly lose interest. As someone who teaches 13-19 age range (in the UK) I have noticed that most teens have a much shorter attention span then days gone by and lack the ability to learn practical skills or plan out a task such as painting. Nor do they have the patience to learn a physical rule set. Which could explain why the number of younger players is diminishing after the initial purchase of a tactical squad or whatever.

How do GW staff deal with this? It would be counter-productive to explain to little Timmy that its going to take a lot of time and practice to get their new purchase to anything like the picture on the front of the box. So do GW staff just try to shift as many of those one-off initial, never to be repeated, purchases and to hell with it?

Harwammer
23-06-2015, 20:49
Out of curiosity, how long have you been teaching to be able to make the claim that teenagers now have any worse attention span than those of the past?

It's something I often read (and have read since when I was a teenager, which was around a decade ago). Has it really been getting worse for decades?


"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they allow disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children now are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

BeardMonk
24-06-2015, 08:27
Out of curiosity, how long have you been teaching to be able to make the claim that teenagers now have any worse attention span than those of the past?

It's something I often read (and have read since when I was a teenager, which was around a decade ago). Has it really been getting worse for decades?

10 years teaching experience in within the UK cadet forces, both as a classroom based instructor, outward bounds instructor (Mountain Leader) and sports instructor. Our OC was my OC when I was a cadet and so has about 20 odd years of additional experience and perspective to draw on. I am also 14 years a swimming teacher and coach and help train new teachers. My mother was a teacher all of her working life (retired 3 years ago). My sister also works within the education sector. Admittedly, I am only one guy in a upper middle class suburb of London. But im fairly confident that my experience holds true, at least across the UK. America etc may be very different.

The Socrates quote is a great one. But im not talking about behaviour. 90% of all the young people I have taught have been well mannered, polite and decent people. However I think that mainstream education within the UK only teaches young people to regurgitate facts, not to apply knowledge. Its not the kids fault, they can only exist in the environments they were born into. Sadly the pressures upon the UK family unit these days means that parents cannot be around to guide and deliver many of those skills, especially in the earlier years. These factors result in many young people only having a short attention span when it comes to applying skills or learning them. Also the mental link between constant training/practice and a better end result is just not there for many (but not all) of them. You often have to rebuild it with them before moving forward in practical skill.

A lot of what young people have these days revolves around more instantaneous forms of gratification. Computer games are a great example (and I love PC games too!). Turn your xbox/360/PC on, its ready to go. The games looks the same as on the box. This is just not the case with tabletop wargaming. There is a process of years of painting and hobby practice to get your stuff anywhere near the picture on the box.

Also, if your 12-15, do you want to read a massive rulebook, armybook and supplementary material, each of which is costing you/parents money before you can even play? the cost of storing and transporting. Don't get me wrong, some young people do, and we should encourage and support them regardless of the wargaming system they get into. Im just interested in how GW or any other indie shop staff overcome these factors?

stroller
24-06-2015, 11:35
After mumble mumble years in and around education, scouts, Duke of Edinburgh award, youth groups, and working with children and young people with special needs for more mumble years, it's apples & pears.

I suspect short attention span is more VISIBLE - Fred on the phone in class is more noticeable than Fred there in body but not in mind. There will always be examples to counter any argument, and, actually, I'd reverse it. Is it a short attention span, or is it an ability to rapidly cycle between a number of tasks? My (now adult) son constantly flicks views on the PlayStation when playing, where I tend to stick to one. Who's to say who's right. Said son has also been playing 40K for 18 years now, on and off.

Today, I'm taking one of the young people I work with back to GW for his second game of 40K. He thoroughly enjoyed his first, despite having attention deficit disorder. The store manager will (rightly) encourage the fun side of the game, and has (rightly) suggested the starter box as a first purchase. He hasn't rammed it down little Timmy's throat, however, since at THIS point in the sales cycle, he'd probably get around 100 sale: starter & paint. If he gives it a few games and visits, that turns into starter set, battalion, starter paint set, character.... or maybe nothing. In the meantime however, his hands off approach has meant that *I* have bought more. Win win.