Mark Bridge writes:
We're told it's not merely 'sales'. No, it's an art. "The art of selling". And with over 4 million hits on Google, you could easily argue that the art of selling is more popular than painting.
The same goes for the two sub-categories of cross-selling and up-selling. They're arts as well, you know. Mystic and creative disciplines.
But let me turn the clock back for a moment. Quite a few years ago I worked for a national mobile phone retailer. We didn't sell many accessories. The reason was two-fold, I recall. Accessories in the 1990s were practical, not exciting... and they didn't pay much commission. "Why sell someone a case when you can sell them insurance?" seemed to be the attitude of the hardened salesperson. This art was a struggle, a challenge, an unpopular discipline with a tiny canvas, a single colour and an impractical brush.
However, things have changed since then. And I was reminded how much things have changed when I was at Mobile World Congress last week.
As well as spotting Golla with its 2010 collection of clean-as-they-protect cases, I stopped at the Avenir Telecom stand. Alongside their headline-grabbing partnership with Energizer was the new BeeWi wireless convergence brand. Handsfree units that appeared to be the same size as a credit card. Bluetooth streaming from your phone to your hifi. If we'd had these in the shop 15 years ago we'd have bought them all ourselves.
And now this week, as though to reinforce the point, we hear from Avenir's rival 20:20 Mobile that its mobile phone accessories division grew by over 17% last year.
Yes, up-selling or cross-selling accessories may still be an art. But, after looking at the range and quality of contemporary accessories, I'd say these days it's more like painting-by-numbers than Picasso. As long as you've got the stock, of course.