Are Reps Really Your Best Option for Training?

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?”

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Disciplining – Every Manager’s Nightmare

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”

It Pays to Train Your Managers

In the furniture industry, there are several reasons why somebody would be hired or promoted to a manager position. Here are three reasons that I hear quite often:

  • They were very successful at sales and it was the next step
  • They have previous experience managing inside or outside of the industry and they seem to be a good fit
  • This is a family business and it is the next position for your son, daughter or relative

In the end, it doesn’t matter why you hired the folks on your management team. What matters is how well they perform in their role. Just like your salespeople need to be taught how to sell, your managers need be taught how to manage and lead. People are not natural born managers. Too often, we talk with companies that don’t provide the necessary training and support to ensure a manager’s success. This leads to frustration and disappointment as store owners watch managers struggle and fail to perform. The leadership and direction a manager can provide is far too valuable to your organization to let to let this happen. Continue reading “It Pays to Train Your Managers”

Training is an Investment, Not a Cost

In my position at the Furniture Training Company, I talk to furniture retailers all day, every day. Although most of them understand that training is necessary, they simply don’t want to pay for it. They tell me things like:

“It costs too much.”

“We’ve decided to put your training on the back burner.”

“I already know how to sell what we have. I’ll train my salespeople myself.”

It’s likely that half of the people working for you today won’t be working for you next year. It can be difficult to want to invest too much into a person that isn’t that invested in you.

That being said, have you ever wondered why turnover is so high in your store or at your company? If your employees were as successful as they thought they were going to be when you hired them, would they leave at such a high rate? Continue reading “Training is an Investment, Not a Cost”

Don’t Lose Sales Because You Don’t Recognize Buying Signals.

The more I talk with furniture retailers across the United States, the more I realize there is a universal reason salespeople don’t close sales…it’s because they lack confidence. There are 3 real things a salesperson could lack confidence in…

  • The customer’s willingness to purchase
  • The product solution they have presented
  • Their own ability to make a close

In this post, I want to focus on the first bullet – the customer’s willingness to purchase. Trust me, I have been there before. You ask the right questions, you show the right product, but, you aren’t sure that the customer is on the same page. We have all had customers that aren’t very talkative or don’t show strong emotional reactions to a presentation or product.

The trick to closing is encouraging and recognizing buying signals. What is a buying signal? Buying signals are signs or clues that your customer is ready to purchase. Continue reading “Don’t Lose Sales Because You Don’t Recognize Buying Signals.”

6 Tips for a Fun and Productive High Point Market

Going to the High Point Market can be a fun and exciting experience. It can also be boring, long and dull. With close to 180 buildings, 11.5 million square feet of exhibit space and 2,000 showrooms, the High Point Market can put just about anybody into shock. So, here are six quick tips that I use to make sure I have a stress free and enjoyable time in High Point.

1. Bring a portable charger for your phone/tablets – You will be surprised how quickly your phone battery drains while walking around High Point. Especially if you are in the bigger more centralized buildings. Your phone will be working super hard to try to find data and phone service. By noon, you could already be actively working to save as much precious battery juice as possible. So, simply bring a portable charger for your phones and other mobile devices. I have really enjoyed my portable charger as it is very small and flat. It will give my phone one complete charge. Continue reading “6 Tips for a Fun and Productive High Point Market”

Objections or Opportunities

How familiar are you with this dialogue?

Potential Customer: “I really like that sofa, but man, I just don’t know if I want to pay that much right now.”

Salesperson: “Ya, I have a couple of sofas that are less expensive. Let me show them to you…”

Unfortunately, this is a very common experience. Because we don’t have confidence in our knowledge and skills, we will do anything just to make a sale. We will simply cave into an objection and move onto another product that may not be what the customer really needs. Remember, you are not there to sell furniture! You are there to make happy customers who refer their friends and family to you.

Remember that when you hear an objection, your customer is really asking you to give them more information. We teach the steps you should use to overcome an objection on our training website, but I am going to give you the first step today. When your customer objects to your solution, the first thing you should do is acknowledge and empathize.  There is a simple formula…

Acknowledge + Empathize = TRUST

Continue reading “Objections or Opportunities”