Lesson Plans

Boost sales by educating customers on your product.
This story first appeared in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

When Mary Cassinelli moved her herbal products shop, Dandelion Botanical Company, to its current Seattle location, she was looking for a way to attract customers. Remembering that the seminars she held at her previous location always resulted in increased sales, she ramped up her "edu-selling" efforts.

"We'll reach more than 200 students this year," says Cassinelli, 38.

Incorporating educational components like seminars, instructional videos, hand-outs and books into your retail shop is a great way to earn customers' trust--and the increased spending that comes with it, says Tom Shay, president of Profits Plus, a retail consulting firm in St. Petersburg, Florida. His tips:

  • Start promoting seminars and classes at least a month in advance. Use in-store signage, postcards and local advertising.
  • Keep customers in the know with demos, samples and tutorials. "If they don't know how to use what you're selling, they're not coming back," says Shay.
  • Get cash from the manufacturer. Shay says manufacturers are often eager to pitch in for programs that promote their products.
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