Don’t Assume Your Folks Are Selling the Right Way

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.

  1. Let your customer know it’s okay to look.
  2. Tell your customer something helpful about your store.
  3. Encourage your customer to tell you the purpose of their visit.
  4. Have patience with your customer

Continue reading “Don’t Assume Your Folks Are Selling the Right Way”

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Do I Have to Train My Sales Manager?

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?”

How Many Sales Do You Lose Each Month?

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?”

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?”

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”