Do you remember the “good old days” when droves of customers came into your store to see if there was something new they should think about getting for their home. They seemed to enjoy listening to you talk about new products and fabric options while you walked them through the showroom. They even had time to listen to your spiels about prices, delivery and credit options.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that customers have changed a lot over the past few years. Not only are there far fewer of them, but they rarely have time to listen to your ramblings. Thanks to the Internet, they’ve spent countless hours browsing Wayfair, Amazon, and even your own site. They’ve made dozens of comparisons, and they’ve written pages of notes. The research phase is over and they decide to visit just a couple of stores in their search for a professional who will validate their ideas and help them buy the furniture they need. They’ve chosen your store and now it’s up to you. Continue reading “Salespeople are Losing Too”
We are in constant contact with our furniture dealers. We regularly ask them about their training experience and what gaps still need to be filled. We get nearly a universal response: We want better training from our manufacturers.
Put yourself in a dealers shoes. After investing thousands of dollars to carry a new product you have to hope the sales team can actually sell and make your money back. You have to hope the manufacturer rep will teach your sales force to like the product like you do.
Unfortunately, a visit from a rep every 8 or 10 weeks just doesn’t cut it. This is a high turnover industry and reps simply can’t be in the stores as quickly as they’re needed. It doesn’t really matter though because the rep doesn’t teach very well and the visits are often unhelpful. The fact is most of your reps are better at finding new dealers and making sales than they are at training sales people. Ask yourself this: If you were a dealer would you be happy with the training your company provides?
We recently surveyed our dealers to learn about the training they receive from their manufacturers. We learned some amazing things from the survey respondents:
- 78% of them say that brand specific training is very important to their company.
- Only 5% of them are very satisfied with the manufacturer specific training they are receiving.
Continue reading “Your Dealers Want More Training!”
Several months ago, I showed our training programs to a potential customer. I decided to show this potential customer our lesson on handling “I’m Just Looking” customers. As many of you know, we teach 4 steps to helping folks who are just looking to feel comfortable in your store and hopefully accept assistance.
- Let your customer know it’s okay to look.
- Tell your customer something helpful about your store.
- Encourage your customer to tell you the purpose of their visit.
- Have patience with your customer
Continue reading “Don’t Assume Your Folks Are Selling the Right Way”
It’s easy to hire a sales manager. You just find your top sales person and offer a promotion. After all, if you can sell furniture, you can certainly manage a group of salespeople who sell furniture. Right? Wrong.
I’ve found it interesting that the most successful NBA coaches rarely had stellar careers as players in the NBA. Sure most NBA coaches have lots of experience as a player at some level, whether in college or the NBA, but most were not superstars. In fact, being an NBA superstar doesn’t guarantee success as an NBA coach. Why? Because the skills required to succeed as a basketball player are very different from those required to succeed as a coach. Continue reading “Do I Have to Train My Sales Manager?”
Recently I had a phone conversation with a furniture store manager. He told me that he had 4 salespeople at his location. I asked if there was anything specific he would like his sales staff to improve on. He gave the usual answer…”The Close”.
So, I asked him, “How many sales do you lose each month, per sales associate due to problems with the close?”
He said, “Probably around 25 per salesperson.”
I then asked, “What is your average sale size?”
He responded, “Just about $1,000.”
I did some quick math and figured they are losing about $100,000 in sales every month. That’s a whopping $1.2 million every year! Simply because his folks aren’t closing as well as they should. Continue reading “How Many Sales Do You Lose Each Month?”
I recently had a phone conversation with a decision maker at a furniture manufacturer based out of North Carolina. I talked with her briefly about the custom training products that we create for furniture manufacturers and how we can help them to get consistent and effective training to all of their dealers. Her response to me was typical and short sighted…
“Our reps already train our retailers.”
The conversation ended and that was that. Now, Let me ask you a few questions…
Do you really expect your 3rd party reps who carry multiple brands to be expert and effective trainers on your product, your brand and your unique story? Is that what you hired them to do? Continue reading “Are Reps Really Your Best Option for Training?”
I remember several years ago when I was first promoted to the position of Manager. I was beyond thrilled for the new opportunity! To me, this was my first step toward career progression. Everything was perfect! I had a small team of Customer Service Agents and Account Managers to oversee. I was excited to jump into action and begin some new programs and ideas. As is always the case, some ideas were well received and others not so much.
So excited about my new management position, I never even considered all that was expected of me. Soon, I was actually expected to manage the people that I oversaw…which included the need for discipline.
One employee was failing to make the proper notes in our system about current and prospective customers. I remember meeting with my direct supervisors and telling them about the employees that I oversaw. They quickly suggested that I have a disciplinary meeting with the employee to help them improve. Continue reading “Disciplining – Every Manager’s Nightmare”