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Behind the Counter

Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings

by Marcus King
Aug 11,2003


Behind the Counter: Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings

By: Marcus King, owner of TitanGames.com

Back when I had a "real job" (as my mother put it) I was a door to door insurance agent for a great company. Selling insurance door to door is a tough business, as people seldom wake up in the morning and think "Boy, I sure hope that today some guy in a suit will knock on my door to sell me insurance from a company I never heard of before." The attrition rate among sales people is huge, as most people cannot do the job for even 12 weeks, let alone years and years.

I was very successful at selling at selling insurance, and set several sales records in my time. Not because I was a smarter guy, or better looking, or even a better salesman, but it was because I was a student of sales. I researched it, I learned it, I talked to other top selling agents, and learned from them.

I forget where it was that I first read or heard it, but this is what stuck with me: People only ever buy two things: Solutions to problems, and good feelings.

Ever and Only. Wow. Think about it and it is true. Every single thing you have ever spent money to buy in your lifetime, you were either buying a solution to a problem, or good feelings.

Food: Solution to problem, you have to eat.
Rent: Solution to problem, you need a place to live.
Ticket to a movie: Good feelings.
Dinner out: Could be either one, really, or even both.

Over the years, that one little fact has brought me a lot of insight, a lot of profits, and a lot of peace of mind, as I have applied it to business. When I was an owner of a quicklube oilchange shop, I applied what I had learned, and our upsales average was more than twice the "industry average" for upsales at a quicklube, and also had a repeat customer retention rate that was nearly unheard of.

I often wonder why more people, especially those people who are running their businesses as a way of providing for their families, don't spend more time researching business, sales, and how do conduct business more efficiently, and profitably.

Now, I do not claim to be an expert in retail. My own shop is in a small market, where I enjoy a very inexpensive lease, and in return am not bothered by too many pesky customers. :) But, we do try to maximize our profits for our efforts, and part of that is learning what and why customers want, and providing it.

Since I, as a games retailer, seldom sell a solution to a problem, we try to maximize that good feeling angle. We sell games, and we sell a LOT of games. New games, used games, card games, miniatures, collectible games, singles, signed copies of old stuff (like 3-volume boxed sets signed by Dave Arneson or Gary Gygax), we sell dice, paints, tools, brushes, and other accessories. We also sell a LOT of rare stuff and hard to find stuff, back issues of magazines, and large painted miniature armies.

Sometimes, we can sell someone a solution to a problem. We can sell a gamer a missing piece to a game, or a copy of rules, or a map that they are missing. But, in general, we sell good feelings. Entertainment, if you like.

TitanGames retail is a well lit, easy to find shop with ample free parking and is open 60-hours a week, with over $200,000.00 of merchandise on display. Our online store is designed to load fast, and is organized for people who are gamers, and know what they are looking for. We attend conventions and bring, usually, 3 or 4 times as many games as the average vendor. All this to maximize the customers experience, and make them want to return to us again.

I share this with others because it is my belief that for our industry to grow, we need more retailers, and every time a shop closes, it is a bad thing for the Game Industry, gamers, manufacturers and other retailers.

Play safe,

Marcus King
637 Capital Ave SW
Battle Creek, MI 49015

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What do you think?

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All Counter Talk columns by Marcus King

  • On Discounting by Marcus King, 15dec05
  • Think Different by Marcus King, 11oct05
  • GENCON, August, and TitanGames by Marcus King, 29aug05
  • Another Month at Titan Games by Marcus King, 06jul05
  • The Past Week at TitanGames by Marcus King, 10may05
  • The GAMA Trade Show by Marcus King, 13apr05
  • Con Jobs by Marcus King, 08mar05
  • Don't Skip The Retailer by Marcus King, 11feb05
  • How To Open Your Own Game Store by Marcus King, 14jan05
  • The Christmas Crunch by Marcus King, 22dec04
  • Light at the End of the Convention Tunnel by Marcus King, 15nov04
  • What It Takes To Open a Game Store by Marcus King, 15oct04
  • The Big 3 by Marcus King, 13sep04
  • Discoveries by Marcus King, 11aug04
  • Con-Man by Marcus King, 19jul04
  • Turmoil by Marcus King, 16jun04
  • Business is Business by Marcus King, 12may04
  • GAMA On! by Marcus King, 09mar04
  • On A Serious Note by Marcus King, 10feb04
  • Predictions for 2004 by Marcus King, 20jan04
  • Game Retailer or Game Club? by Marcus King, 11dec03
  • The Weather Changes... by Marcus King, 11nov03
  • The Deluge of Dead Products by Marcus King, 14oct03
  • The Conventional by Marcus King, 11sep03
  • Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings by Marcus King, 11aug03
  • Two weeks in the life of a retailer by Marcus King, 16jul03
  • In Store Gaming, and our love-hate relationship with it by Marcus King, 12jun03
  • Raising a Good Retailer by Marcus King, 28apr03
  • The customer is always right (right?) by Marcus King, 02apr03
  • Introductions by Marcus King, 24mar03
  • Jumping the Grand Canyon with Pikachu and Friends December 20, 1999
  • GTS'99 April 20, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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