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?”

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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”

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.

Scenario

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”