Selling the Why

February 23, 2021

Selling the Why

St. Croix Rods are greater than their performance, cosmetics and value. Does your sales staff know why?


Why should an angler who walks into your store buy a St. Croix rod?


You’ve got this, right? After all, St. Croix makes the Best Rods on Earth®, which means offering the tools that give anglers the upper hand in any fishing situation. You know exactly what you’re selling, and it’s easy to talk with customers about the What and the How… what materials and technologies go into the rods; what length, power and action a particular rod is; and how the rods will perform.


But in the case of a St. Croix rod, the What and the How are a definitely a result of the Why. Our Why is what allows us make rods that elevate the angling experience in the first place, and it affords your sales team additional opportunities to engage and connect with your customers.


Using the Why to sell St. Croix


“What we do at St. Croix is more than what we make,” says St. Croix National Sales Manager, Dan Johnston. “Chances are, it’s the same at your store. Your store is more than what you sell. That includes offering a high level of personal service, forming relationships with customers, and sharing information that will help your customers enjoy more success and satisfaction on the water. All of these things define who you are, differentiate you from competition and, ultimately, keep customers coming back.”


At St. Croix, there’s a reason we focus so much messaging on things that make our brand special. Whether it’s what it means to be a truly angler-driven company, the complete control in our manufacturing chain, or that we’ve been making rods in Park Falls, Wisconsin for almost 75 years, we celebrate the passionate hands crafting rods that make anglers more successful on the water, and that St. Croix has been owned by the same family for the past 42 years. These stories explain where the St. Croix experience comes from. Yes, we make the Best Rods on Earth, but we’re only able to do so because of who we are and where we’ve been. Talking about what’s behind our rods’ technologies, features, performance and value is what helps create brand-loyal, repeat customers.


Any St. Croix rod is a vehicle to enhance the angling experience. The best sales professionals already know this, and will use that experience – the simple act of fishing itself – as a backdrop for getting to know any given customer and understanding their needs. “The angler is simply looking for a tool that will help them enhance those experiences,” says Johnston. “Powerful sales people listen, then respond with the Why… all the sizzle that makes up the brand and the elevated experience it can provide before getting too product-centric.” Do that effectively, and you can not only sell a single St. Croix rod, but also sell any other rod St. Croix has made, or any rod the company will make in the future.


“We’re extremely proud to show anglers how our rods are created,” says Johnston, referring to the company’s popular factory tours, which allow anglers inside the Park Falls manufacturing facility to witness each step of the process and the 32 sets of individual hands that complete those steps to make the Best Rods on Earth. “I was shadowing one of these tours about three years ago, and our tour guide was explaining one of the final steps in the process. He explained the marrying of the finished rod with the St. Croix decal by saying that the decal doesn’t go on the rod, but instead, the rod goes onto the decal. He was reminding everyone – in a very powerful and compelling way – that each rod we craft must earn the St. Croix name.”


Using the Why to sell you, your store and any other product you carry


Now that we’ve explained the Why, consider applying the same principle to sell your store and everything else in it. What are your core values?  Whatever they are, there’s a good chance a lot of your customers will connect with them – as long as they are being communicated. So, look for opportunities to inject who you are and what you believe in based on clues your customer is giving you. The best sales people tend to do this automatically; they connect with people, so make sure your sales team is trained to understand why your store is different and exceptional. It could be as simple as the free coffee you offer. Perhaps it’s your Thursday night in-store fly-tying workshops. Maybe it’s the money you raise for charity by asking customers to round-up their sales to the next dollar, or your regular in-house or online fishing seminars. Likely, it’s all of these things and more.


While St. Croix’s history, legacy and philosophy are unique, we hold no patent on compelling storytelling. There are clear reasons why the other brands, products, and lines you carry exist on your sales floor. Take initiative to learn and understand the Why behind them as well. How do they elevate the experiences of your customers? Be ready and able to communicate the answers to these questions, and you’ve effectively multiplied the reasons why a customer will buy those products, too.


Parting Words


A customer who walks into your store should buy a St. Croix rod because the people at our company have always believed and understood that any angler’s time on the water is precious. Therefore, any specific product we make must elevate the joy, satisfaction and results earned from that sacred time. That’s the Why that has always driven our What and our How.