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.”

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”

When and How to Re-approach an “I’m Just Looking” Customer?

My wife and I have been looking to buy a house over the last few months. And as I am sure you are aware, buying a house means buying new furniture! I might as well help out this industry that has been so good to me and my family.

As we have entered several furniture stores, we routinely say “I’m just looking” to each sales associate that approaches us. The process is a little different in each store that we go to, but one thing is the same. The re-approach is non-existent or unsuccessful.  Here is one way that a salesperson re-approached my wife and I…

We were walking through the showroom, just looking at pieces of furniture, not really showing any interest when we heard, “Hey, that chair right there is on sale. Let me tell you how much the sale price is.” Then, he pulled out his phone, opened is calculator app and typed in some formula to come up with a number slightly lower than the price written on the tag. I was not impressed. First of all, we had no interest in the chair. Second, why were the sale prices so cryptic? There is no need to make a long story short because we simply left the store empty handed. Continue reading “When and How to Re-approach an “I’m Just Looking” Customer?”

Power Statements for “I’m Just Looking” Customers

If you are anything like me, you already know that you do not want help as soon as you walk into a store.  Often times, I feel that I can trust my own knowledge and instincts more than I can trust a possibly dishonest salesperson.

BUT!  Maybe you have experienced a situation similar to this before…

You are in a store…any store.  You have been walking around trying to find a specific product and you just can’t seem to find it.  You know you need help, but you don’t want to ask.  Then, suddenly a store employee approaches and asks, “Can I help you find something?  That way I can help your time here be more productive.”  You then tell the employee what you are looking for, they guide you to the item and stay by your side and give you information and suggestions.  You buy the item and leave happy.

Why does this happen to us?  How is it that we can start off not wanting help, and then accept it eventually?  It is because the salesperson or employee became an EXPERT!  They were the expert and of value to the customer when they told the customer they could help them find what they were looking for…implying that they are an expert on product placement! Continue reading “Power Statements for “I’m Just Looking” Customers”

Stop Saying “I don’t know”…it is Killing Your Sales!

A few months ago my wife and I were doing some grocery shopping. We were looking for Quinoa and couldn’t find it anywhere. Quinoa isn’t something that we had really shopped for in the past and we didn’t know much about it. We finally flagged down an employee of the store and asked if he could direct us to the Quinoa. His response was, “I don’t know where it is. I am on break and can help you in 15 minutes.”

I couldn’t believe the employee’s response! I was upset and discouraged. I told my wife that, moving forward, we would try to avoid that grocery store.

Surprisingly enough, salespeople say “I don’t know” to potential customers all the time. Quickly think about the times that people have told you “I don’t know” after you raise a legitimate question or concern. When you hear those words does your motivation to make a decision or continue the conversation increase? I don’t think so!

You can quickly and easily take the words “I don’t know” out of your vocabulary. Try using these sentences as a replacement:

Continue reading “Stop Saying “I don’t know”…it is Killing Your Sales!”