Influencers of Anglers

Southwick Associates recently released a survey on what influences anglers’ purchases and how manufacturers could market to anglers better. Fishing tackle retailers can also learn from these results and better educate their sales people. Not only on how to improve their sales and interact with customers better, but how to sell to customers that have a predetermined product in mind when they come in.

Personal Experience
The results from AnglerSurvey.com where 2,121 anglers responded, show that the biggest influencer on anglers was their past personal experience. This can work for and against a product line. If an angler purchased just a bad version of a certain product, they will be quickly turned off to that product. No matter what you, their friends, or the media says, it will be much harder to persuade him or her to try another product from that manufacturer.

When you encounter a situation like this, it is key to know the product line and the history of the various products the manufacturer makes. No manufacturer will hit a home run with each product they release; there will be a dud from time to time. You and your sales people need to know this. When a customer is against a certain product line, ask what product turned them off and work from there. Point out the advancements the company has made and how this new product is superior to the one they tried.

When a customer has fallen in love with a certain product line, and you carry that line, let the product sell itself. This is a time to stand back and say nothing that could cost you the sale. Just be prepared to answer any questions the customer may have.

Brand Loyalty
The second leading influencer on anglers was brand loyalty; this goes closely with the first influencer, Personal Experience. The angler has already come to know the brand and trusts it. Brand loyalty only accounts for 55.8 percent of an influencer on their decision. They can still be swayed to another brand; you just need to have great reasons on why they should switch to a different brand. Key points could be better value for the price, more options, better pricing, or just an overall better product.

These key selling points will come in handy if an angler comes in seeking a brand you do not sell. Instead of sending him or her away to your competition, ask their favorite brand and then put on your selling hat and sell them a brand you do have.

Experience Angler Suggestion
The next influencer at 48.4 percent are other experienced anglers. These experienced anglers could be someone on one of the various fishing tours, someone they met at the boat ramp, or someone in your community that they look up to. These other anglers do not have the personal connection with your customer, but are still someone they believe knows what they are talking about. You should never badmouth such an individual; just listen to what the angler believes the product they are using or used did, and then add your own knowledge on the product to the mix. If you have what they are looking for, it should be an easier sale because they already believe that the product is a good one. If you do not carry that product, but have a competitive model, share why what you have is better. Ask what they expect the product you don’t have will do for them and then share why the product you do have will do all of that and more.

Other Influencers
Friends actually come in much lower than expected, accounting for less than forty percent of an influencer. While friends come in low, magazine and feature articles are even less of an influencer, accounting for less than twenty percent of a reason for anglers’ purchases. Coming in even lower on the scale were professional endorsements at 9.5 percent. Celebrities came in the lowest, accounting for less than one percent of the reason an angler was to purchase a product.

While these influencers are not concrete reasons why a customer will buy a product, they are still influencers, and ones the customer believes in. With the proper product knowledge though, any sales person can lead a customer in a new direction.

Sales People
Store sales people and expos or outdoor shows accounted for less than thirteen percent of an influencer over customers’ decisions. It is shocking how low this number is in comparison to the other factors discovered in this survey. This could be because sales people are not as knowledgeable about the various products you sell, or because sales people are not as vocal in attempting to change customers’ minds. It could also be because customers are coming in with a good product in mind and the sales people are just supporting their decisions and therefore not seen as big of an influencer.

While this survey was initially meant for manufacturers, hopefully you as retailers can glean a bit of knowledge and sales advice from it as well. According to Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates which designs and conducts surveys such as AnglerSurvey.com, “It appears that consumers are compelled highly by their loyalty to a brand, personal experience, and input from other friends who hunt or fish.”

What is your takeaway from the survey and will you find this information valuable in how you train your sales people to approach customers or interact with them? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on our Facebook page and our LinkedIn group.