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 to Respond to Objections

The way you react to a customer who raises an objection can have a major impact on your sales success. Experienced salespeople acknowledge that they’re not likely to get through any sale without encountering at least one objection. Customers want to make sure they aren’t’ making an expensive mistake. They don’t take objections personally but rather, they consider objections as opportunities to provide additional information to help close a sale.

Consider the way the salesperson responds to a customer’s objection using a five step process.

1) Recognize when an objection has been raised – For example: “I sense there’s something you don’t like about this chair. Tell me what you’re thinking.” Continue reading “How to Respond to Objections”

How to Lead Your Sales Team

Have you ever felt frustrated at the reaction of your staff when you introduced them to a new idea, a new training program, or a new warranty program? Store owners and managers routinely express concern that their stores are on the verge of a mutiny. They feel certain that one or more of the salespeople dictate what actually happens in the store and that they should safely watch from the sidelines. Here’s an easy tip that can help you capitalize on the strengths of your team.


You’ve decided to adopt a new warranty program for your store. You invite the vendor representative to come and explain the program, including its features and benefits and the generous compensation the salespeople will receive for selling the warranties. Continue reading “How to Lead Your Sales Team”

5 Keys to Effective Training

Most store owner or manager knows that training is an important key to increasing sales. Training only works however if the training program is developed and implemented in ways that actually stimulate improvement. The best programs are not necessarily the most expensive.

Your training investment will generate its greatest dividend if you follow these five keys. Continue reading “5 Keys to Effective Training”

Instruction VS Information

On the first day of my PhD program I was taught the most important principle I learned in my nearly 30 years within the training, and education professions. I learned the important differences between quality Instruction and general Information. Think about the last documentary you watched. Maybe it was about World War II or the […]

On the first day of my PhD program I was taught the most important principle I learned in my nearly 30 years within the training, and education professions. I learned the important differences between quality Instruction and general Information.

Think about the last documentary you watched. Maybe it was about World War II or the building of the San Francisco Bridge. I recently watched an ESPN 30 for 30 titled The Billion Dollar Game. Throughout the program I kept thinking to myself that the next day I would tell colleagues in the office about the interesting things I had learned. I couldn’t wait to tell them how the Princeton Tigers, a heavy underdog, nearly defeated top-seeded Georgetown in the first round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament. Well, by the time I got to the office the next day, I could hardly remember that I’d watched any tv the night before. You see… I had been given information and was not instructed. I had been told and not taught. I had been entertained and not trained.

It goes without saying that dictionaries and encyclopedias aren’t instruction, but many managers and owners act as though books and magazine articles are training.

These two principles should guide your design of any training you develop for your team.

  1. Prepare all instruction so your people can do something, not so they know something.
  2. Provide plenty of practice so your people can do what they need with the customer.


Mike Petersen, PhD, co-founder of The Furniture Training Company, has over 20 years of training experience and would love to help with your company’s training issues. 866-755-5996 or


10 Sure Fire Incentives

Congratulations for recognizing that incentives are an important element of success. An analysis conducted by the International Society for Performance Improvement found that on average, long-term incentive programs yield a 44% performance increase, and employee objectives were surpassed, met, or partially met 92% of the time. In other words…incentives work!

Here are 10 sure fire incentives you can use to motivate individuals as well as entire departments.

1. Pick the Schedule (no cost) Everyone loves the chance to pick the days/shifts they’re going to work. Your folks will go crazy for the chance to arrange a week that matches their family and friend activities.

2. Lunch of their choice ($) Food is a great motivator for most people. Watch how the staff reacts when you pick up and deliver to their desk their favorite lunch. This is an easy and fun way to motivate your staff.

3. Breakfast of champions ($) Providing a winner breakfast is an fun way to give someone an extra 15 minutes to get ready for work.

4. Pizza party ($) A pizza party is great for the times when you want to incentives the entire staff. Be sure to include cheese sticks, soda, and brownies. That way you’ll satisfy everyone’s needs.

5. Discounts on product (no cost) This perk may be the easiest for a retailer to establish. Offer workers a percentage off on any product you sell. The real beauty is that you’ll ensure your staff are using the products they sell. Design this one right and you’ll get your manufacturer to help cover the costs.

6. Gift cards ($) Who doesn’t like a dinner out on the boss? Unlike cash that typically gets used to cover bills and buy food, a gift card provides pleasure every time.

7. Preferred Parking (no cost) The gift for someone who has everything. Some people will really respond to the idea of having their own parking space for a day, week or even a month.

8. Event tickets ($$)  How about treating someone to dinner and an upcoming concert or sporting event with someone?

9. Tablet or other new technology ($$) Watch your staff scramble as they do whatever’s necessary to win the new iPad, TV, or other fun gift you prepare.

10. Press Release (no cost) Consider how your staff will feel when they see their name in the paper. Imagine how your customers will feel learning about the skills and talents of your salesperson. The press release incentive is definitely a win win.

You can download a PDF version of our 10 Sure Fire Incentives by clicking here