For the staff: Are you a TMI, TLI, or JTRAOI?


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Here’s a Weekly that you may want to share with the entire team.

Last year my wife and I have had a number of salespeople visit our home to give us quotes on a new roof. It was a fascinating and learning experience.

Most of the salespeople gave us way too much information. (TMI) While we want to make sure that the contractor we hire is using the best possible materials, telling me the exact chemical makeup of shingles is not helping me make an informed decision.

Some of the salespeople gave too little information. (TLI) The contractor with the lowest price gave us the least detailed bid, leaving us with enough concerns and questions for us to be reluctant to use him.

But a one salesperson provided just the right amount of information. (JTRAOI) He knew he didn’t need to share everything he knows about roofs, but he did need to share with us what we needed to know to make an informed decision that justified his higher bid. He’s also the one that made the sale.

I see TMI and TLI play out all of the time on the retail sales floor. Some customers hear way more than they ever need to know about a particular product. This can lead to a customer becoming overwhelmed and deciding not to purchase at all.

When customers aren’t told enough they go home to learn more, and are more likely complete their purchase online or at another store.

The customer who gets JTRAOI (just the right amount of information) feels comfortable making a purchase decision in the moment. How do you make sure you can provide JTRAOI without TMI or TLI? Follow these two tips:

1. Learn what your customer already knows before setting out to educate him/her. Your customer may know nothing about the product they’re looking at, or she may have done all kinds of research. Knowing what your customer does or does not already know helps you provide just the right amount of information. All you need to do is ask her how familiar she is with the product, and base the information you provide on his/her response.

2. Discover what is and isn’t important to your customer. Many salespeople overwhelm customers with information since they don’t know what information the person needs to make a purchase. By discovering your customer’s priorities you can provide him with the detailed information he needs.

I’ll use luggage as an example. Is wear and tear less or more important than how much it holds? Is the ability to pack suits more or less important than being able to expand for shopping trips?

Ask your customer questions like:

“What two or three most important things are you looking for in a _________?”

“What did you like about your old _________? Is there anything you didn’t like, or want to see in a new one?”

“What do you like about this __________, and what don’t you like?”


1. Determine if you are more likely to provide a customer with TMI, TLI, or JTRAOI.

2. Commit to applying these two tips with every customer today.

3. At the end of the day, discuss with your manager how focusing on JTRAOI helped you provide a better experience and sell more products.

– Doug

Also, a couple things:

* There are still a few open spots in my Four Weeks to Extraordinary Coaching program that starts a week from today (January 14). It’s perfect for owners, managers, and assistants who want to improve accountability and grow their staff. Read more about it here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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