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Most Recent Sales Education Articles

EDITOR'S CORNER

Volume 147 NO.5 September/October, Furniture World Magazine

Furniture Industry: Then and Now

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Closing the Sale

Volume 147 NO.4 July/August, Furniture World Magazine

Part 1: How can a quiet, modest, non-pushy RSA ever be a good closer? Here's how!

Sales Education Articles

Published 2004 - 2017

EDITOR'S CORNER  - 9/23/2017

Furniture Industry: Then and Now  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Closing the Sale  - 7/7/2017

Part 1: How can a quiet, modest, non-pushy RSA ever be a good closer? Here's how!  

Who Wants To Greet a Millionaire?  - 6/1/2017

Five steps to help retail sales associates serve customers like millionaires so they might become one.  

Scary Retail Stories  - 6/1/2017

Best ways to avoid situations that may lead to customer injuries; physical, emotional and financial.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Set Misinformed Customers Straight  - 3/29/2017

Best ways to help the uninformed and misinformed to make the right purchase decisions.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Selling Sleep  - 12/28/2016

Where does sleep deprivation fit into a sales narrative that emphasizes comfort and good, restful sleep?.  

Clarifying & Confirming  - 12/28/2016

These two sales skills help to demonstrate that the salesperson has respect for the shopper’s thoughts and feelings.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: I Object Again!  - 11/29/2016

Here we will present a number of specific objections furniture and bedding customers can and will bring up.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: I Object!  - 9/30/2016

Responding correctly to customer objections is a powerful and productive sales skill. Here’s how to do it right.  

Dead End Selling Techniques  - 9/30/2016

A list of 25 traits, attitudes and poor practices RSAs practice that will contribute to failure on the retail sales floor.  

Editor's Corner  - 9/30/2016

The Power of Coaching and Grit in Retail Sales  

Retail Bedding & Mattress Sales: Closing The Sale  - 7/7/2016

The start of Closing is the Presentation Step. Here’s how to do it right.  

How Much Do RSAs Matter?  - 6/2/2016

What’s the solution to under-performing sales associates?  

Our Leather Future?  - 6/2/2016

Is lab-grown leather something furniture retailers might be selling in the very near future?  

Steps of the Sale: Selection Step  - 3/25/2016

If not executed properly, the selection step can wind up badly for both RSA and the customer. Here’s how to do it right.  

Opportunity Doesn’t Knock, It Rings!  - 3/25/2016

Every day your service or sales teams end phone calls without suggesting a solution or invitation.  

Steps of the Sale Series: Qualifying Questions  - 1/4/2016

More qualifying questions RSA’s can use to keep the sale moving along.  

Good RSA, Bad RSA  - 11/27/2015

What are the most common mistakes you can stop your salespeople from making in 2016?  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Qualifying Questions  - 9/28/2015

Part 6 of our Steps-Of-The-Sale series. Qualifying questions RSAs need to know to complete more mattress sales.  

EDITOR'S CORNER: You want a tiny... what?  - 9/28/2015

For those of you who haven’t heard, there’s a (big) tiny home movement brewing.  

Anticipation: It’s Making You Money!  - 9/27/2015

Anticipate these common but often ignored needs that can hinder the pathway to completing a sale.  

Trending Color  - 7/17/2015

The right colors make a huge difference in the selling power of retail displays.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Series: Qualifying Questions - Advanced RSA Training  - 7/17/2015

Part 5 of our Steps-Of-The-Sale series. Do your RSAs fail to ask even the most fundamental qualifying questions?  

Top Ten Bad Sales Habits & How To Break Them  - 6/9/2015

Bad habits are easy to form but hard to break. They equal lower sales and declining revenue.  

The Meet & Greet: Advanced RSA Training  - 6/9/2015

Part 3 of our Steps-Of-The-Sale series. The ‘Meet and Greet,’ is where the R.S.A. makes a first impression.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: RSA Bedding Sales Training - Part 2  - 3/24/2015

This installment provides a checklist of everything your R.S.A.’s need to know, inside and out, about the background knowledge that supports and sustains the sales process.  

RSA Boot Camp For New Hires  - 12/30/2014

A structured, two-week training program for new bedding (and furniture) RSAs.  

You Know You Should Do This in 2015  - 11/21/2014

Five simple selling techniques you should be able to implement flawlessly.  

EDITOR’S CORNER  - 11/21/2014

Remembering Larry Stein.  

Leather Education Guide -Part 3  - 9/29/2014

Panel of industry retailers and manufacturers give Furniture World readers advice on how to position leather offerings for maximum sales through intelligent sales and advertising practices. A leather identification chart and glossary of terms rounds out this three part series.  

Leather Education Guide -Part 2  - 7/9/2014

Panel of industry experts follows up on it’s discussion of current leather trends covered in the last issue, with leather buying facts, advice on servicing and cleaning leather, plus warranties.  

EDITOR’S CORNER  - 7/9/2014

Larry Schneiderman's Eight Foot Rule  

Drop Everything  - 7/8/2014

Ideas, stories and teaching moments adapted from a new, well reviewed book by Larry Schneiderman of Schneiderman’s Furniture.  

Furniture Library Debuts Plaxico Gardens  - 3/16/2014

Bienenstock Furniture Library Gardens to debut during High Pont show.  

Leather Sales Education Guide - Part 1  - 3/16/2014

This two-part series is a complete guide for retail owners, buyers and sales professionals that details leather features, benefits and advantages. It also includes best retail practices from a panel of industry experts.  

Retail: Just Like Your First Date  - 1/3/2014

Retail is full of first dates. Gordon Hecht reflects on how a bit of maturity goes a long way in pleasing customers, partners and improving performance in retail organizations.  

Ninety Seconds To Successs Series  - 12/10/2013

This 90 Seconds To Success Series article looks at furniture coatings and their impact on the long-term beauty of our products. It will also touch on how sales associates might address some of the health/environmental concerns that relate to the furniture making process.  

Pineapple Furniture Sales Hospitality  - 9/30/2013

A three-step process to explain and train your way to a comfortable and hospitable customer buying experience.  

Mentoring Furniture Mavericks  - 9/30/2013

Tips for jump starting the furniture careers of young employees and co-workers.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Part 11 - Oh Natural!  - 7/11/2013

Part 11: Are we in the middle of a bedding revolution, an evolution, or is it a non-starter for your operation?  

Sales Connect!  - 7/11/2013

Customer Connection is multifaceted. Let’s explore connecting on three levels. Store image, marketing message, and the personal connection brought about by our sales team’s charm and expertise.  

Design Tip: Short Tips Series  - 7/11/2013

Use Form and Line to your advantage when creating retail displays and customers' rooms.  

Editor's Corner June 2013: Are You In Love With Your Customers?  - 5/30/2013

Without proper attitude, even superior sales skills and impeccable product knowledge can fail to create customer buy-in. So, what is an optimal attitude for retail salespeople?  

Bedding Anatomy 104: More Components  - 4/1/2013

The 10th installment in our Better Bedding & Mattress Sales series continues with a close look at the latex and gel used in mattresses, their features and benefits.  

Bedding Anatomy 103: Foam Used In Mattresses  - 1/10/2013

The 9th installment in Furniture World Magazine's Better Bedding & Mattress Sales series continues with a close look at foam.  

Building Your Dream Team By Wowing The Crowd - Part 4  - 1/10/2013

Rene’ Johnston-Gingrich finishes up her four-part series with a discussion of ways your sales team can “wow the crowd” by exceeding your customers’ expectations.  

Editor's Corner: September/October 2012 Issue  - 10/8/2012

How positive, empathetic and effective are your employees?  

Better Bedding & Sales Series - Part 8: Bedding Anatomy 102  - 9/25/2012

This time, we continue our exploration of mattress anatomy by looking at springs and their role in mattress support, comfort and durability.  

Building Your Dream Team By Teaching Product Knowledge  - 9/25/2012

Get the dream sales force you deserve by establishing standards, committing to ongoing learning and communicating the right information to your customers.  

Editor's Corner: July/August Issue  - 7/13/2012

Selling mattresses is about to get more adversarial.  

The Lost Secrets Of Scientific Selling - Part 2  - 7/12/2012

In the second part of this series we will examine the lost art of mastering our relationships with difficult customers. We will learn how to develop productive and mutually beneficial relationships with the toughest and most elusive personality types.  

The Merits of “Show & Tell”  - 7/12/2012

Sales personnel who fail to explain industry terminology and the unique features that benefit the potential buyer, frequently fall back on price and discounts to close the sale.  

Bedding Anatomy 101  - 7/12/2012

The past seven installments in this series on selling better bedding presented tools and techniques the best retail furniture stores use to price, promote and present mattresses, pillows, mattress protectors and foundations. This time, we start an exploration of mattress components and construction with when, why and how to bring up components and construction.  

Selling Better Bedding & Mattresses Series - Power Bases  - 4/6/2012

Part six of Furniture World’s selling better bedding series features expert sales tips and techniques that will help you to increase attachment rates on power bases.  

Plug In To Domestic: Sell More Made In America Furniture  - 4/3/2012

If you’ve made a decision to take advantage of the uptrend in furniture production and sales of Made in USA and Made in Canada furniture, this article is a must-read.  

Selling Sleep Essentials - Pillows & Mattress Protectors  - 1/19/2012

Part five of Furniture World’s selling better bedding series features expert sales tips and techniques for furniture and bedding retailers that want to sell more pillows and mattress protectors  

Furniture Tales  - 12/6/2011

It’s the stories of our industry that this installment from Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 is all about. Every furniture rep, manufacturer and retailer has a few really good ones.  

Don't Sell Mattresses... Sell ”Quality of Life” Through the Science of Sleep.  - 12/2/2011

Part four of our selling better bedding series looks at creating demand by using the “Science of Sleep” approach.  

Tools of The FurnitureTrade  - 10/5/2011

Retail strategies a successful second generation furniture retailer learned from her Mom and Dad.  

Garage Sale Lessons For Furniture Retailers  - 10/5/2011

Lessons a veteran furniture guy learned watching people browse, decide and negotiate at a garage sale.  

Dreaming Of Better Bedding Sales - Part 3  - 10/4/2011

Some best and worst bedding sales practices in furniture and bedding stores.  

Bring In Customers With New Facebook Strategies  - 7/11/2011

Congratulations if you already have a Facebook page, but last year’s Facebook page just won’t get you the results you need. Here are Step by step instructions on how to turn your Facebook presence into more business.  

Recursive Nature Of Furniture Sales  - 5/30/2011

Although some furniture salespeople insist on going sequentially through the five steps of the sales process mechanically, the most effective salespeople know when to retreat to an earlier stage in the process.  

Sales Opportunity: Gender Awareness - Part 3  - 3/15/2011

This installment continues our discussion about how women buy, and presents tips furniture retailers can use to sell more by creating sales initiatives.  

Successful Retail Furniture Store New Media Marketing  - 3/15/2011

This series of articles will share with you direct response strategies utilizing “New Media” marketing to nurture prospects and turn them into long time customers.  

“Herd Mentality” & Reversing Sales Sabotage  - 1/5/2011

Systems most furniture stores put in place to implement a customer focused sales strategy are being subverted and hijacked by salespeople. When this scenario plays out in your store, your selling strategy and training programs that aim at having salespeople establish strong relationships with customers are sabotaged.  

Gender Awareness - Part 2  - 1/5/2011

Your business will vault 10 steps ahead if you take gender differences seriously and adjust your sales and customer service approaches accordingly. This installment continues our discussion about how women buy, and presents tips furniture retailers can use to sell more by creating sales initiatives.  

Sales Associates Must Make Friends For The House  - 11/24/2010

The founder of the famous Statler Hotel Chain E. M. Statler once said: “The [salesperson] who thinks that his first duty is selling, is absolutely wrong. Selling is only one of the two important things a [salesperson] is supposed to do – and it is not the more important of the two. The [salesperson’s] first duty is to make friends for his house.”  

Your Golden Sales Opportunity: Gender Awareness  - 11/24/2010

Your business will vault 10 steps ahead if you take gender differences seriously and adjust your sales and customer service approaches to meet the requirements, needs and wants of male and female customers.  

Free Advertising For Less Than Two Cents A Day!  - 9/22/2010

Presented are seven ways that furniture stores can implement an effective personal business card marketing strategy. Salespeople often neglect this inexpensive and surprisingly effective way to increase the number of customers who come in to the store asking specifically for them.  

Retail Furniture Stories -Part 3  - 9/22/2010

FURNITURE WORLD’s retail readers share their stories of survival, growth and service. Due to overwhelming response, this series, that began in the March/April 140th year anniversary issue of FURNITURE WORLD, will be continued throughout 2010.  

Furniture Retailers Guide To Intellectual Property - Part 3  - 7/9/2010

IP issues arise internally when creating and protecting your catalogues, websites, advertisements, and trademarks. External concerns over knock-offs, competitive advertising, and improper trademark use are omnipresent in this highly competitive industry.  

New Approach To Furniture Delivery Truck Safety  - 7/9/2010

Here's what retailers, manufacturers, importers and specialized carriers need to know about compliance issues related to the new CSA2010 regulations to avoid difficulties.  

Best Furniture Retailers Share Their Histories - Part 2  - 6/7/2010

Many of our most enterprising home furnishings retailers have shared their stories of survival, growth and service with FURNITURE WORLD readers. This is the second installment in a series that commemorates the 140th anniversary year of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine.  

Special Anniversary Issue: Furniture Industry In World War 2  - 3/29/2010

The good, the bad and the ugly. A tale of the lead-up to the war through its end, 1938-1945. A remarkable story of difficult times in which the ingenuity of manufacturers and retailers, against all odds triumphed.  

Customer Service-Oriented Salespeople: The Most Effective Way to Practice Side-by-Side Buying  - 3/1/2010

Part 1: Peter Marino presents an updated sales skill manual for retail salespeople and managers in retail furniture stores.  

Eight Techniques to Boost Profit in Tough Times  - 11/19/2009

Some retailers seem to always manage to perform well. In this article David McMahon takes a close look at what those successful retailers do to cut costs during lean times and achieve maximum returns. Specific steps to cut fixed costs and make retail operations more responsive to cost cutting measures are examined.  

Decorating School Crash Course: Consumer Seminar On Lighting  - 10/4/2009

This is the ninth article in our Decorating Crash Course series. The text is written so that you can easily use it to put on a customer seminar on lighting in home decor. It can be presented “as is” but you should add additional elements to give your seminars a personal touch.  

Retail Sales Super Snoopers  - 8/19/2009

Here is Cathy Finney’s final article for FURNITURE WORLD Magazine that examines principles outlined in Dr. Sam Gossling’s recent book “SNOOP,” and applies them to sales situations in retail furniture stores.  

Can Your Customers Trust You On Twitter?  - 8/18/2009

What IS working in today’s economy is the “soft sell.” This is taking place online-through two way interactive conversations with consumers.  

Dealing With Transactional Shoppers  - 4/6/2009

Suggestions for actions you can take right now to improve performance. Prepare for the new retail reality that will emerge as the economy heals from this deep recessionary funk.  

Retail Threat: REDESIGN!  - 4/6/2009

In part 8 of our popular Decorating School Crash Course series, Margaret DeGange looks at redesign. The basic premise of a redesign is to use what customers already own to redefine interior spaces. Sounds like a splendid idea, right? Not if you are a furniture store owner!  

Use Color Undertones For Standout Furniture Displays  - 11/20/2008

A look at how showroom wall colors and lighting can make furniture either blend in to the background or make it stand out to create exciting displays.  

Decorating School Crash Course - Fabrics Part 7b  - 11/20/2008

Continuation of this popular series that provides scripts furniture retailers use to conduct successful consumer design seminars. This installment reveals how customers can choose main and supporting fabrics, and work with pattern and texture. Included is a glossary of fabric terms and photos.  

Personal Sales Tips For Slow Days  - 9/11/2008

A small attitude adjustment and a few reminders of important sales do’s and dont’s can get you back on track.  

Decorating School Crash Course Fabrics Part 7a  - 9/10/2008

Lesson #7a: Script for a design seminar that will help your customers to make knowledgeable color, pattern and texture choices.  

Getting Important Information From Your Bedding Customers  - 7/14/2008

Peter A. Marino, Ron Wolinski and Cathy Finney provide helpful information for sales professionals on qualifying and probing.  

Special Supplement - Area Rugs For Every Budget  - 7/14/2008

Excerpts from Furniture World's 16 page guide on rug construction, fibers, styles, quality features and cleaning.  

16 Bedding Sales Tips  - 5/9/2008

Sixteen ways you can boost bedding sales... from developing rapport (#1) To handling customer objections by treating them as implied needs.  

“I’ll Know It When...  - 5/9/2008

 

Help Bedding Customers To Cool It!  - 5/9/2008

This article is the first in a two-part series exploring the physiology of sleep, the evolution of bedding products, value promises and how to accurately convey these messages to consumers at the point of sale.  

Decorating School Crash Course- Part 6, Accessories  - 3/10/2008

Decorating seminars help customers solve problems, and they position you as a home furnishings expert. Margarett DeGange presents a script you can use to put on an Accessorizing Seminar for customers and prospects.  

Convert More Phone Price Inquiries Into Sales  - 3/10/2008

Convert More Phone Price Inquiries Into Sales This is the first in a FURNITURE WORLD Magazine series written by Leslie Carothers to help home furnishings retailers manage their intentional and unintentional internet presence. This month she explains how to turn internet inquiries into solid sales.  

Meet The Retail Sales Power Players  - 1/2/2008

Sales tips and training tools from some of the best sales associates and Cathy Finney.  

Decorating School Crash Course - Part 5, Furniture Placement  - 1/2/2008

Decorating seminars help customers solve problems, and they position you as a home furnishings expert. Margarett DeGange presents a script you can use to put on a Furniture Placement Seminar for your customers and prospects.  

Decorating School Crash Course -Part 4, Focal Points  - 11/8/2007

Decorating seminars help customers to solve problems, and they position you as a home furnishings expert. Margarett DeGange presents a script you can use to put on a Decorating with Focal Points Seminar for your customers and prospects.  

Finding Figment: How To Stay Up For Your Next UP.  - 9/13/2007

It is possible to re-imagine, re-create, and re-define your professional life with each new “opportunity”.  

Improve Your Hiring IQ  - 9/13/2007

Time spent recruiting, interviewing and hiring are critical to the continued health of any furniture business. Here are tips and tools you can use to find and hire better people.  

The Secret Of Positive Sales Energy  - 7/17/2007

What actions can you take to connect with customers and keep performance on track when you feel unsettled and negative?  

Decorating School Crash Course - Part 3 Style  - 7/9/2007

Decorating seminars help customers to solve problems, and they position you as a home furnishings expert. Margarett DeGange presents a script you can use to put on a Furniture Styles Seminar for your customers and prospects.  

Decorating School Crash Course - Part 2  - 3/9/2007

Part 2 in this series on design and decorating principles can be used as a script for putting on your first customer color seminar.  

I'm Here, Your "Sketchee!"  - 3/9/2007

Making and actually using rough sketches of your customer's rooms can improve the quality of the information you collect, as well as the effectiveness of your follow-up.  

Handle Customer Objections As Implied Needs  - 12/11/2006

Apply the principle that every customer objection is an implied need. It’s a principle every professional salesperson should buy into because customers respond positively to it.  

Decorating School Crash Course - Part 1  - 12/7/2006

This six part series will help you to quickly gain and retain valuable and usable design and decorating principles that you can effortlessly communicate to your customers—principles your customers want to know. Part 1 introduces the series and provides rules for putting on simple and sensational design seminars to help build a loyal and educated customer base.  

Fine Art Of The Retail Sales Presentation  - 12/7/2006

Your sales performance is what sets you apart from lesser salespeople and from the clerks sitting in other furniture stores up and down the block. Cathy Finney looks at ways to fine tune a sales presentation to meet the specific needs of different types of customers.  

Close Sales Using Design Technology - Part 3  - 10/2/2006

The last two articles in this series looked at creating Techno Presentations in MS Word and Powerpoint. The discussion now turns to how to work with customers to furnish their rooms and takes a look at a more sophisticated online design tool.  

Are You Preparing Frog Soup?  - 10/2/2006

Small, inconvenient problems can add up. Store owners who were “just fine” yesterday, may end up being frog soup tomorrow. The frog soup story provides an insight that many FURNITURE WORLD readers will find both amusing and disturbing.  

Uncovering Your Customers’ Hierarchy Of Furniture Buying Needs  - 8/8/2006

Believing that all customers are looking for the same things is to assume that all customers have the same needs. This is an assumption that can cost you both sales and customers.  

Close Sales Using Design Technology - Part 2  - 8/8/2006

The second in a series of articles that show how to create design and product presentations that impress customers and close sales. This month you can learn how to create Techno-Presentations for your customers in PowerPoint.  

Are Your Customers Confused Or Enthused?  - 7/15/2006

Your customer’s worst fears are amplified by your own fears as a retail sales consultant.  

Importance Of Building Sales Credibility  - 6/8/2006

What can salespeople do and say during the selling sequence to maintain the trust of their customers?  

Close Sales By Using Design Technology  - 6/8/2006

The first in a series of articles that will show how to create design and product presentations that will impress customers and close sales. This one looks at creating e-mail Techno-Presentations in MS Word.  

Dining Room Furniture Product Knowledge  - 4/17/2006

Excerpt from FURNITURE WORLD Magazine’s Dining Room Furniture Guide used by thousands of furniture retailers for product sales education.  

How Long Will It Last?  - 4/17/2006

A purchase that lasts a long time, but fails to meet your customer’s other needs can become a lasting headache.  

Sales Ah-Ha’s  - 4/17/2006

Insights, advice, and practical information that can turn your retail sales Uh,Oh’s, “Oh, No’s,” into “Ah Ha's!” and even “Eureka moments!”  

"Let Me Think About It!"  - 2/14/2006

Is there anything you can do when your customer says, “let me think about it” and asks for your card?  

Ride The Sales Tornado: Become The Wizard Of "Awes"  - 12/7/2005

Cathy Finney looks at the skill sets you need to possess to end up in the land of “Awes”. Once there, you can take your company, “Me Inc.” to new heights by embracing change in 2006.  

How To Shop The Competition -Part 2  - 10/5/2005

Peter Marino looks at the benefits of shopping competitive stores and discusses shopping techniques, ethics and courtesy.  

Know How To Shop The Competition  - 8/11/2005

What happens if you don’t know as much about your competitors’ pricing, quality and service, as do your customers? Peter Marino looks at the benefits of shopping competitive stores as well as technique, ethics and courtesy.  

Combat Sales Reluctance  - 6/8/2005

Ninety percent of salespeople suffer from some form of sales reluctance. Cathy Finney looks at some of the common problems they face, and provides solutions that can make selling more fun and profitable.  

Golden Rules Of Retail Furniture Store Telephone Communications  - 4/7/2005

A detailed guide by Peter Marino to the art of keeping customers on the line, calm, receptive and ready to listen to what customer service and sales associates have to say.  

Paint A Rembrandt... Or Forget It!  - 4/7/2005

Will Rogers said, “If you are selling something, try and make it so good that you’d rather be the man who bought it than the man who sold it.” Cathy Finney applies this logic to the fine art of working with clients in retail furniture stores.  

Use A Tail Waggin' Greeting  - 4/7/2005

A 5-8 second investment in greeting your customers properly will pay back huge dividends. Article by FW subscriber Michael Bowman.  

Most Important 4 Letter Word: GOAL 2005  - 12/20/2004

Unstick Yourself. Let your biggest competitor be you!  

Your Cheapest Mattress  - 10/5/2004

The cheapest mattress for any customer is always the used one they already own. Dr. Peter Marino looks at ways to approach customers who mistakenly believe that your cheapest mattress is also the best for them.  

‘Tis The Season To Follow-Up  - 10/5/2004

Even though the temperatures are dropping, and kids are back in their classrooms, your customers are not yet thinking about the holidays. So now is the season to follow-up. Here are some practical techniques on how to do it.  

Fear Factor - Salesforce Edition  - 8/10/2004

This article will look at fear, the single biggest impediment to becoming a fully actualized retail sales professional.  

Eavesdropping In The Bedding Department  - 8/10/2004

If the mattress and box spring specifications (coils, foam, etc.) could speak, what might they say about the customers and your salespeople?  

The Sales Treasure Within Two-Person Communication  - 7/27/2004

Selling is all about creating meaning between two or more people using words or other impulses. There is a source, message and receiver.  

Extreme Makeover - Salesforce Edition  - 6/26/2004

Homes are making headlines. “Extreme Makeover for the Home Edition” was recently the number one show on ABC. A lot of viewers are hooked on HGTV. If you want to take advantage of this cultural shift, you won’t need liposuction or a chin implant, but you may need to learn a few new skills.  

Mattress Sales Strategies - Part 2  - 6/26/2004

This article will focus on the skill of setting up an effective strategy for selling mattresses. It is a strategy that helps customers perceive which one of your mattresses best fulfills their needs.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 1 - Employee Retention  - 6/25/2004

There are too few good salespeople and too many alternative jobs out there. The current business climate not only makes it more difficult to hire, it makes keeping good employees more challenging. Here are a number of ways you can keep employees so you don't have to spend as much time looking for replacements.  

Get The Negotiation Monkey Off Your Back!  - 6/25/2004

Price negotiation is a margin eroding practice that is simply not a necessary part of the sales process. There are a number of reasons why stores allow the practice to persist, however, the costs far outweigh the benefits. This article will show you examples of why negotiating is not in your interest as well as present a more attractive alternative solution.  

Why Every Store Should Have A Customer Driven UP System  - 6/25/2004

If you have a customer-driven store, or are moving in that direction... even if you are high-end and low volume, having a well designed and implemented UPs system can make or break you.  

Do Salespeople Own Your Customers Or Do Customers Own Your Salespeople?  - 6/25/2004

Do your salespeople own their customers or do customers own your salespeople? This is one of the most controversial issues in retail sales today. Stores that allow salespeople to 'own' customers (that they have served or seen on previous store visits), take away important customer rights and help to encourage employee back-biting and in-fighting.  

Making Consistent, "Clean" Deliveries  - 6/10/2004

For many furniture retailers, consistently making “clean” sales and perfect deliveries is as difficult as grasping that gold ring on an antique carousel. Peter Schlosser reviews the entire process from receiving to delivery. Potential problem areas are identified and solutions described.  

Professional Selling Skills -Part 1 - Probing  - 6/9/2004

Furniture sales floors too often end up, a place where salesperson and customer carry on a casual rather than a focused conversation. Instead it should be a place where both salespeople and customers focus. This series continues with a discussion of the opening, a critical point in any sale.  

Are Attitude Or Sales Skills More Important?  - 6/9/2004

Which is the most important component in the sales equation... selling skills, product knowledge or good attitude? Noted sales trainer and story teller Peter A. Marino gives insight into this question often asked by furniture sales managers and sales educators.  

Are Salespeople Born Or Made?  - 6/9/2004

"He's a born salesperson" and "He's a natural at it" are the words we hear from time to time. In his "Art of Poetry" the ancient Roman author Horace wrote: "For my point I fail to see the use of training without natural ability or of natural ability without training." Peter A. Marino provides more practical advice on how to implement an effective program to help you 'make' some good salespeople of your own.  

Handling Customer Objections - Part 1  - 6/9/2004

In selling there are three main objections salespeople face, objections being defined as obstacles put up by customers to impede their commitment or buy-in. The three types are the drawback, indifference, and skepticism. The first of a three part series looks at how to win over customers who doubt the validity of your benefit statements without making them defensive.  

Handling Customer Objections - Part 2  - 6/9/2004

In selling there are three main objections salespeople face; objections being defined as obstacles put up by customers to impede their commitment or buy-in. The three types are the drawback, indifference, and skepticism. The second of a three part series looks at the toughest objection, even for top salespeople. The drawback or un-meetable condition.  

Sales Wit And Wisdom  - 6/9/2004

Half a century has passed since Elmer Wheeler, called America's greatest salesman in his day, came up with what came to be known as the Wheeler Points of Selling. In this article Peter A. Marino revisits four of those points and adds a fifth from Michael Le Boeuf's book, "How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life."  

Treat Customers Like Friends  - 6/9/2004

Treat customers like friends and they will buy. Make them mad, sad or scared and they won't. Sales guru Peter A. Marino looks at some common sales practices and explains why his ''unconventional wisdom" can result in dramatically increased sales and more satisfied customers.  

The Golden Egg And Customers Who Feel Unwanted.  - 6/9/2004

More customers are lost to company indifference at all organizational levels, than any other cause. Simply stated, if the customer feels unwanted, unappreciated or like your employees are not interested in his or her needs and concerns, they will find another place to shop... and tell all their friends to shop there too!  

The Good Salesperson  - 6/9/2004

The best salespeople certainly possess all three of the basic skill elements of selling, namely: attitude, product knowledge and selling skills. It is the first of these... good attitude, which if lacking can poison a whole organization.  

It's Buying, Silly - Part 4 - Knowledgeable Salespeople!  - 6/9/2004

Would you like to have a sales job in which every customer you encountered bought something? You’re probably ready to shout, "Take me to that job!" It’s the sales job at a supermarket checkout counter  

Thirteen Fatal Sales Errors  - 6/9/2004

A list of common errors made by retail sales people. These include failures to: believe in and sell yourself; encourage customers to have a purchasing plan; use planned selling scripts; practice active listening; and handle 'just looking' customers properly.  

Follow-up Or Fall Down - Part 1  - 6/9/2004

Shy or uneasy about making follow-up calls? Don't like rejection? Here are sure-fire ways to follow-up successfully and consistently.  

Sales By Appointment - The Impossible Dream  - 6/9/2004

The best way to get your "be-back" customers to actually come back and buy from you is to set up specific appointments with them. If you think that this is an impossible dream, check out this article by Cathy Finney.  

Ask Customers, Don't Tell Them  - 6/9/2004

By asking questions instead of telling, salespeople become more effective at both giving and receiving important sales information. Peter A. Marino explains the proper uses and associated benefits of mastering this skill.  

Maslow's Hierarchy And Customer Needs  - 6/9/2004

Do customers buy because they need or like our products? Peter A. Marino examines why customers buy and how we can match what we sell to what customers are really looking for.  

The Excellent Sales Approach  - 6/9/2004

One area many retail salespeople and managers address with alarming nonchalance is the approach to the prospect. A proper approach is essential to set the stage for the rest of the entire sales process. This article by Richard Tyler looks at the seven steps salespeople should take in the first 60 seconds of the sale.  

Professional Selling Skills - Part 5 - Closing  - 6/9/2004

Unless you are selling pencils on the corner of a busy avenue, you should look upon closing as several possible next steps the customer and salesperson agree to take together. Peter A. Marino looks at topics such as; when to close, how often to close and how to "leave the door open" when the salesperson fails to win the customer's final commitment.  

If It's Not Working Scrap It! - Sales Habits  - 6/9/2004

Recently, noted sales educator Peter Marino began to examine some of his own habits on the sales floor. He found that, like so many other good salespeople, he had clung on to habits which needed replacing. The problem for most sales professionals is knowing when to replace that comfortable old sales pitch.  

Fire In the Belly Or Burnt Out?  - 6/9/2004

Dr. Peter A. Marino discusses Penrose Scull's book, "From Peddlers to Merchant Princes, a History of Selling in America," which traces the development of selling from Colonial times to the present. Selling has changed, to be sure, but what still matters is not so much how the products of salespeople are conducted, but how salespeople conduct themselves.  

Price Objections - Know Your Potatoes  - 6/9/2004

Overcoming customer price objections is a daily challenge for retail sales people whether they are selling low, medium or high end home furnishings. Can we accept these objections at face value? Russ Page of Moosehead Manufacturing, illustrates his point with the classic story of 'Ma' Cooper  

Sales Benefit Statements  - 6/9/2004

While it is all right, and even advisable to remind customers to ask for us when they come back, we should put that request and all others we make of our customers in terms that benefit the customer too!  

Selling By Proxy - Sales Book For Furniture Representatives  - 6/9/2004

A manual manufacturer's reps can use to work more closely with sales associates in their home furnishings client stores.  

Listening, The Often Ignored Skill  - 6/9/2004

Listening is not merely hearing. Anyone blessed with healthy ears and brain can hear. Yet the experts have known for some time that the average adult listens at about twenty five percent proficiency. Peter Marino looks at listening as a skill that must be learned.  

Professional Selling Skills - Handling Objections - Part 7  - 6/9/2004

Handling skepticism, misunderstandings, and drawbacks are some of the most challenging tasks facing the retail salesperson. The first step in successfully handling these objections is to consider them as customer concerns... as either expressed or implied needs.  

Professional Selling Skills - Supporting Customer Needs - Part 4  - 6/9/2004

Those familiar with John Lawhon's book, "Selling Retail" will remember how ecstatically he begins Book Two by exclaiming that the greeting, the approach, qualifying, and selecting, are not selling; they are getting ready for selling. While this article readily acknowledges Mr. Lawhon's indispensable contribution to retail selling in general and to selling furniture in particular, it does not share his conviction that presenting alone is selling.  

Professional Selling Skills - Part 3- Opening  - 6/9/2004

Amazingly, many salespeople do far too little probing to uncover their customers' needs. Meanwhile, many others misdirect their probing they so that the end result of their asking questions fails to uncover customer needs.  

The Golden Rules Of Presenting  - 6/9/2004

Put these twelve rules crafted with great care by Dr. Peter A. Marino into practice every time you do your presenting. They're the Golden Rules of Presenting.  

A Store Where Customers Feel At Home  - 6/9/2004

John Wanamaker, called by one President of the United States "the greatest merchant in America", made the following comment: "You have to run a store that people will feel at home in." That comment contained the very soul of Wanamaker's philosophy about how to run a successful store.  

Lubricating The Sale - Preconditioning  - 6/9/2004

Many good salespeople use the technique of preempting or anticipating objections. This technique teaches salespeople to bring up ahead-of-time those objections which tend to come up frequently. Preconditioning goes a step further. It preconditions customers to look for the product in your store that best meets their needs.  

Learning To Sell More  - 6/9/2004

The problem with most sales training programs is that salespeople learn sales techniques, but are not taught to use them. Become familiar with the kinds of available programs; insist that the system they use trains a trainer; and make sure that any program they use has lots of role playing.  

The Threefold Selling Process - Part 3  - 6/9/2004

The three-fold selling process is continued from the November (Maslows Hierarchy), December (Probing) and January (Qualifying) issues. The final part of the process... 'Strategizing," allows salespeople to use information gained in the first two steps, to complete the sale. The alternative to mastering this process is blind selling that relies on unfounded assumptions about customers and what causes them to buy.  

The Threefold Selling Process - Part 2 - Qualifying  - 6/9/2004

The purpose of qualifying is to interpret the information obtained by probing in order to set up the best possible selling strategy. Peter A. Marino explains how salespeople should qualify customers and why they need to remain flexible throughout the process.  

The Threefold Selling Process - Part 1- Probing  - 6/9/2004

Probing is the skill by which the salesperson gathers information and finds out the customer's level of need (see November Furniture World). Noted sales trainer and educator Peter A. Marino examines when and how to use open and closed probes.  

Sales Pressure Vs. Urgency  - 6/9/2004

Whether the pressure felt by your customer comes from the salesperson, an ad, or other source, it never grows out of the customer's reasons for buying, namely the customer's felt need. Urgency to buy, however, even though promoted by the salesperson, results in satisfied customers and repeat business.  

Words That Clinch Or Kill The Sale  - 6/9/2004

Do our customers want to make the 'safe' or the exciting design choice? Do we insult or comfort our customers by telling them that "brass goes with anything," or "don't worry, beige is a neutral... it will look fine." Peter A. Marino explores how the salesperson's choice of words send powerful messages to customers.  

The Before And After Of Customer Service - A Complete Manual  - 6/9/2004

A manual for Retail Salespeople which looks at the principle of preventative selling through a series of role-play examples.  

Professional Selling Skills - Part 6 - Handling Customer Indifference  - 6/9/2004

The average salesperson's inability to handle customer indifference may be the greatest single factor contributing to our industry's loss of productivity. Accordingly, store owners and managers ought to concentrate more on teaching their salespeople how to handle indifference.  

Furniture Sales Is For The Simple  - 6/9/2004

Peter A. Marino again blurs the lines between literature, philosophy and selling skills to get to the heart of what our customers want from salespeople. He asks the question, "do customers want us to spin the very pictures they intend, or of that same old dull hat?"  

Why Pareto Probes Don't Work  - 6/9/2004

Why Pareto Probing doesn't work and how you can successfully use open and closed probes to get the information you need to build customer confidence and make the sale. Open probes tend to raise the window of opportunity more significantly than do closed probes.  

Product Knowledge And Perceived Honesty  - 6/9/2004

Once customers do not trust the salesperson's product knowledge, they tend to doubt the salesperson's honesty. Why? Because everyone has doubts about the intentions of salespeople who are not qualified to do what they say they'd like to do for us. Here is a close look at how to effectively use specialized product knowledge to get the sale.  

Seminar On A Sleeper  - 6/9/2004

Fanciful tale which reads a little like a famous Dickens Christmas tale. A bedding salesperson falls asleep at his posts and is visited by three sales scenarios.  

Handling Objections - Part 3  - 6/9/2004

The last of a three part series on customer objections looks at two kinds of customer indifference; objective and subjective. As salespeople we can only effectively deal with the subjective variety.  

Greet Every Furniture Customer With A Smile  - 6/9/2004

One of the significant differences between outside versus retail selling is the normally short amount of time the retail salesperson has to make the sale. Another is the anonymity of the customer at the start of a sale. These factors make it imperative for the salesperson to create an atmosphere of trust within the first several seconds of the sale. Peter Marino discusses several ways salespeople can create this all important atmosphere of trust.  

True Relationship Selling  - 6/9/2004

True relationship selling requires that salespeople adopt an approach (a form) that sells something to the customer (the function). This concept de-emphasizes the role of closing in favor of building customer rapport.  

Professional Sales Attitude And Organization  - 6/8/2004

There are no bad-hair days at retail. This is your wake up call to assess your flight plan for soaring... your action plan for "Me, Inc." This is the perfect time to "get over it and get on with it!" Cathy Finney offers some practical and motivational and fun advice on how to realign your sales efforts to ensure success.  

New Year Planning  - 6/8/2004

January is a time for reflection, that is, a time to think upon the past year and to plan for the year ahead. Fittingly, the ancient Romans named it January after the two-faced god Janus who with one face looked to the past, with the other to the future.  

Follow-up Or Fall Down - Part 2  - 6/8/2004

You know the routine. The cards that are angled 45 degrees to the right are the people I must follow-up on. The cards "tilting" to the left are distinct possibilities, and the ones standing straight up have items on order. Here's a follow-up system that can keep anyone on track!  

Design For Sales Pros - Part 2  - 6/8/2004

The Principles of Interior Design are the tools with which the Elements (covered in the August/September issue) are applied. There are five basic Principles of Design. They are balance, scale, proportion, unity, rhythm/ harmony, and emphasis/focal point.  

Role Of Emotion And Logic In Selling  - 6/8/2004

Drawing a line on a page and quoting Ben Franklin, or committing 27 textbook closes to memory is not going to work any more. Now closing is about relationships, ambiance, atmosphere, presentation and product suitability.  

Help Browsers Become Buyers  - 6/8/2004

Your salespeople may wonder how they can more effectively engage "browsers". Salespeople keep going back, and customers either get more rude with each attempt, or they act as if salespeople are totally invisible. What's the formula? What's the answer?  

Make More House Calls  - 6/8/2004

The national average closing percentage for a first-time customer walking into a home furnishings store is about 25%. The closing percentages for housecalls are between 93%-98%. In this article, Cathy Finney fine-tunes the skill of making house calls so you'll no longer waste your time, spin your wheels or get your brain picked  

Tools Of The Future... Business Cards?  - 6/8/2004

Business cards are both the wave of the future and the way of the past. The cards may be low-tech, but they can leave an indelible impression. Ideas from a new book on creative ways to create and use business cards to expand your business.  

Asking The Right Questions - Part 2  - 6/8/2004

Cathy Finney implores you not to talk about product. Instead, find out what they really want.  

Approaching Customers For Fun And Profit - Part 1  - 6/8/2004

You made a good first impression (See the May issue of FW). Now it's time to approach those customers. This first in a three part series on "The Approach," deals with appearance, attitude, handling browsers and making your customer's shopping experience start out happily.  

Support Statements  - 6/8/2004

Your ability to solve specific problems depends upon how well you support the customers needs with appropriate product benefits. You can do this effectively with a communication skill called a Support Statement.  

Loaded With Sales Charm  - 6/8/2004

In sales you learn to prospect, qualify, present, and close. You learn to sell. No one teaches us charisma. The best salespeople are loaded with it.  

Verbal & Non Verbal Responses In Sales  - 6/8/2004

The fourth in a series by Peter Marino who believes that listening is a learned skill that lies at the heart of successful selling.  

Wake Up And Smile - Selling Premium Bedding  - 6/8/2004

Herrod's Department Store knows how to sell premium bedding. Sales perspectives from Great Britain and VI Spring.  

Using Bon Mots  - 6/8/2004

Bon mots (witty sayings) can be especially useful on those days when you are challenged to walk on water, for as author Herb Cohen wrote, "The secret of walking on water is knowing where the stones are." While there is no script for being a salesperson, the best salespeople seem to have an uncanny ability for saying the perfect phrase at just the proper time.  

Probe, Don't Pitch  - 6/8/2004

Ron Wolinski, Manager of Sales Education and Director of the Simmons Mattress Business "Academy" explains why the proper use of open and closed probes can vastly improve the customer/ salesperson relationship.  

Verbal Attack Patterns  - 6/8/2004

This month, Peter A. Marino looks at the Verbal Attack Patterns (or VAPs) most of us use. Constructive criticism aimed at employees or co-workers are often taken as personal attacks. No matter what the manager's intent, if the comments are improperly phrased, they will probably be perceived as placing the blame, being mean, insensitive or unwarranted.  

Misleading Ads - Have You Checked Your Credibility Quotient?  - 6/8/2004

Another look at advertising and promotions. If they have even the smallest hint of deceit, you might find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit, suffering from a loss of business, irritated customers, and a few sleepless nights.  

Lesson From Tony The Tailor  - 6/8/2004

A simple way to build unconditional customer loyalty from Bob Popyk, Publisher of Creative Selling.  

Handling Volatile Situations  - 6/8/2004

Peter A. Marino again draws from Suzette Haden Elgin's book, "How to Disagree without Being Disagreeable," this time to help sales managers use presuppositions when handling potentially volatile situations with salespeople.  

Don't Be A Pitch Man  - 6/8/2004

This article, which illustrates the "thinking process" established by the Simmons "Mattress Business Academy" is the first in a series of articles by Ron Wolinski, Manager of Simmons Education.  

Sales Metaphors & Promoting Win-Win  - 6/8/2004

Using metaphors, especially those having to do with sports and war help convey that every disagreement needs to be hostile. Peter Marino discusses the role metaphors play in disagreeing with someone without being disagreeable.  

Become A Power Talker - Part 1  - 6/8/2004

There are words that calm and words that can enrage your customer. How can you quote them your policy, ask for their commitment, find out their budget and get a deposit without saying these words? 99% of your job as a retail manager is psychology, is it not? It follows that what you say & how you say it will either earn your client's trust or ignite their true passions of anger!  

The Sales Skill Of Leveling  - 6/8/2004

Placating, Blaming, Distracting, Computing and Leveling. These five communication modes and any combination of them, affect the manner in which you communicate values, desires, expectations, and ideas under stress. The way salespeople and customer service people speak to customers, and the way managers use these modes to communicate with salespeople, can affect the long term success of your store.  

The Sales Skill Of Leveling  - 6/8/2004

Placating, Blaming, Distracting, Computing and Leveling. These five communication modes and any combination of them, affect the manner in which you communicate values, desires, expectations, and ideas under stress. The way salespeople and customer service people speak to customers, and the way managers use these modes to communicate with salespeople, can affect the long term success of your store.  

Use It Or Lose It (Passion That Is!)  - 6/8/2004

My friends, take a closer look at your store, your products and your life. Use the passion you have, once had or only occasionally glimpsed. If you master this feat, then as Seneca suggested, your cup of clay will be seen as a cup of gold. Your customers will see that gold too, and sales will soar.  

Speaking Your Customer's Language  - 6/8/2004

Another of Ma Cooper's famous stories that looks at the problems salespeople encounter when speak, but fail to communicate. HFC research on confident and non-confident home furnishings buyers is also discussed.  

Stop Losing Those Bedding Sales - Part 1  - 6/8/2004

There are twelve major ways that retailers systematically lose bedding sales. Eight of these are outlined in this important series. Every step of the bedding sales process is examined from handling phone inquiries to creating and following though on a successful bedding sales strategy  

A Case For Disposable Pillow Cases  - 6/8/2004

Many of us provide our bedding customers with pillows. We ask them to lay their heads on these pillows, despite the fact that many previous prospective buyers have used them. Our customers don't like this practice. Fortunately there is an easy, sanitary solution.  

Approaching Customers For Fun And Profit - Part 2  - 6/8/2004

You made a good first impression (See May FW). you look great, attitude appropriate and know how to handle "browsers" (See June FW). Now it's time to avoid drive-by-greetings, learn the fine art of looking busy and handle rude customers.  

Important First Impressions  - 6/8/2004

Nine to thirty seconds - that's it! That's all the time you have to make a good first impression! What's even more scary? If someone's first impression of you is negative, it will take them three times as long to change their mind about you!  

Relationship Selling  - 6/8/2004

In an age when, as one author on marketing put it, "the free enterprise system has nearly choked us with choice," providing a "one on one relationship- selling" service for customers should be the goal of every salesperson. Martin Buber, the noted philosopher's ideas on the art of dialogue can help every salesperson to achieve this goal.  

Become A Power Talker - Part 3  - 6/8/2004

Have you ever said something, and as soon as the words came out of your mouth you would have done anything to stuff them back in? Part 3 on words to use and not use will explain how to avoid the lizards.  

Become A Power Talker - Part 2  - 6/8/2004

There are words that calm and words that can enrage your customer. How can you quote them your policy, ask for their commitment, find out their budget and get a deposit without saying these words?  

Asking The Right Questions - Part 1  - 6/8/2004

Every good salesperson knows that it is important to qualify customers. The questions you ask and the way you ask them determine whether or not the answers you get will help move the sale forward.  

Handling Customer Attitudes  - 6/8/2004

In order to establish good customer relationship, we need to be able to identify and deal with the various customer attitudes... Acceptance, Skepticism, Indifference and Objection.As we probe to identify customer needs, we will then introduce an appropriate product benefit that will solve that need.  

Let's Make A Deal  - 6/2/2004

How can you handle customers who want a better price without losing them?  

Interior Design Tools  - 6/2/2004

Decorators use basic design principles almost intuitively in their day to day work. If you understand how to use space, line, form, color texture and pattern, you will be better able to meet the decorating needs of your customers.  

Product Demonstrations - Bedding  - 6/2/2004

Ron Wolinski of Simmons explains how a few minutes of preparation can save the demonstration and the sale.  

Listening To Your Customers - Part 3  - 6/2/2004

The third in a series by Peter Marino who believes that listening is a learned skill that lies at the hear of successful selling.  

A Meaningful Bedding Sales Discussion  - 6/2/2004

Ron Wolinski of Simmons looks at how to re-focus your customer's attention on the health aspects of a better night's sleep.  

The Need For Sleep  - 6/2/2004

Ron Wolinsky of Simmons, looks at the national problem of sleep deprivation and suggests ways retail salespeople can help their customers to get a better night's sleep.  

Inspire Customers To Share  - 6/2/2004

"Get yourself a good bed and a good pair of shoes because you are in one or the other all your life." That is the advice given to Peter A. Marino by an elderly customer. Why do some salespeople inspire customers to share their feelings and personal stories? The secret, he says is contained in the phrase; customers don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  

Talk Less And Listen More  - 6/2/2004

We as professionals must do our "probing" to understand what is important to our customers. There is, however, another side to this analysis process. That other side may be our biggest challenge. That challenge is to be a good "listener." Listening, very often, is one of the most difficult parts of the consultative selling process.  

I Object! - Handling Customer Objections  - 6/2/2004

When salespeople hear an objection, they often panic! Instead, they should get excited! It means that their customer is interested. If they weren't, they wouldn't object!  

Dealing With Nasty Customers  - 6/2/2004

Nasty customers are a fact of life. Their Prozac supply runs out and they take it out on you.  

More Top Secret Sales Tips  - 6/2/2004

In the June/July issue of FURNITURE WORLD Cathy Finney presented words of wisdom gleaned from some of the most talented retail sales consultants in our industry. These are salespeople who Sell With Assured Techniques (SWAT). This month, more top salespeople share their secrets.  

It's Buying, Silly - Part 6  - 6/2/2004

This article, excerpted from Peter Marino’s new book “It’s Buying Silly,” explains why benefit statements must be personal as well as properly delivered and timed.  

Stop Losing Those Bedding Sales! - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

There are twelve major ways that retailers systematically lose bedding sales. The first eight ways were discussed in the April/May issue of FURNITURE WORLD. In this issue Dr. Marino looks at handling customer objections, selling with a strategy, the Valence Factors, the foundation for qualifying customers and the roles of the salesperson. This series is based on the new FURNITURE WORLD video and workbook Stop Losing Those Bedding Sales.  

Approaching Customers For Fun And Profit - Part 4  - 6/2/2004

This ends Cathy Finney's 4 part series on the "Approach" which started with the June issue. This installment looks at having fun and alleviating your customer's worst fears about you.  

Approaching Customers For Fun And Profit - The Approach - Part 3  - 6/2/2004

You made a good first impression (See May FW). you look great, attitude appropriate and can handle "browsers" (See June FW). You avoided those drive-by-greetings, learned the fine art of looking busy and handled rude customers. Now you are ready for small talk and to diffuse any problems before they surface.  

Tool Of The Future... Business Cards?  - 6/2/2004

Business cards are both the wave of the future and the way of the past. The cards may be low-tech, but they can leave an indelible impression. Ideas from a new book on creative ways to create and use business cards to expand your business.  

Why Are Some Sales Consultants More Successful  - 6/2/2004

Ron Wolinski of Simmons shares a checklist of things that the best sales consultants do consistantly.  

The Seven Secrets Of Selling  - 6/2/2004

Having wrestled with sales tips and techniques offered up by sales educators such as Genie Z. Laborde, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Madelyn Burley-Allen over many years, Peter Marino presents his top seven secrets for selling success.  

It's Buying Silly: The Rapport Raport - Part 3  - 6/2/2004

Part 3 in this series presents the “rapport report”. Rapport must be established and nourished. It is both a state and a process. Peter Marino looks at how to establish it and keep it alive.  

Sales Mistakes Made In The Name Of Nice - Part 1  - 6/2/2004

Many salespeople just want to be nice. They don’t want their customers to perceive that they fit the mold of pushy commissioned salespeople. In doing so, they may fail to meet the needs of their customers and cause them to buy from that pushy salesperson down the street.  

Asking For The Order  - 6/2/2004

Today's sales trainers suggest that salespeople establish customer rapport, spend time determining needs and solve problems. But what happens if they don't ask for the order?  

Persuading Customers To Buy Isn't Logical  - 6/2/2004

The only way to turn low-margin one-time customers into clients is to help them to find comfort in their buying decision. The only way to do this is to make shopping an emotionally satisfying experience. Buying home furnishings is an emotional experience. Not buying is a logical one.  

Feature - Benefit Statements  - 6/2/2004

Customers tend to be won over only by personalized feature-benefit statements that are relevant to what really turns them on.  

Sales Ethics - Selling To Emotion Or Logic?  - 6/2/2004

Each salesperson has the option of leading the sale, following the customer's lead or trying to overlay the store's agenda on the sales process. An ethical approach to helping your customers avoid purchase mistakes will bring bottom-line benefits to your store and a world of change to the reputation of our industry.  

The Secret Of Great Customer Service. Liking Your Job!  - 6/2/2004

Customers like to do business with someone they consider "nice" and they will send their friends to these nice people as well. It's not always a bigger store or lower prices. It can be as simple as a genuine regard for the customer.  

Read 'Em & Reap (Customers)  - 6/2/2004

Do your salespeople meet, greet and sell every customer the same? Cathy Finney gives practical tips on how to serve customers the way they are comfortable being served. It's about learning to speak their language. It's about understanding them and their needs, and figuring out how you can help them.  

Clever Is As Clever Does  - 6/2/2004

The next time a customer says "I can buy it cheaper on the Internet," or "There are better deals down the street," or whatever, don't give up! Personality skills, creativeness, and cleverness do pay off when you are trying to put a sale together.  

It's Buying, Silly - Part 5  - 6/2/2004

Most of us have heard the saying, "Features are; benefits do." Nevertheless, features and benefits are actually different aspects of the same things. In this excerpt from his wonderful new book, Peter Marino explores the kinds of benefits that leave our customers feeling glad.  

Stop Losing Those Bedding Sales - Part 1  - 6/2/2004

There are twelve major ways that retailers systematically lose bedding sales. Eight of these are outlined in this important series. Every step of the bedding sales process is examined from handling phone inquiries to creating and following though on a successful bedding sales strategy.  

Verbal And Non-Verbal Responses In Sales  - 6/2/2004

The fourth in a series by Peter Marino who believes that listening is a learned skill that lies at the heart of successful selling.  

Toronto Show Upbeat  - 6/2/2004

The fourth in a series by Peter Marino who believes that listening is a learned skill that lies at the heart of successful selling.  

Loaded With Sales Charm  - 6/2/2004

In sales you learn to prospect, qualify, present, and close. You learn to sell. No one teaches us charisma. The best salespeople are loaded with it.  

Role Of Emotion & Logic In Selling  - 6/2/2004

Drawing a line on a page and quoting Ben Franklin, or committing 27 textbook closes to memory is not going to work any more. Now closing is about relationships, ambiance, atmosphere, presentation and product suitability.  

Design For Sales Pros - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

The Principles of Interior Design are the tools with which the Elements (covered in the August/September issue) are applied. There are five basic Principles of Design. They are balance, scale, proportion, unity, rhythm/ harmony, and emphasis/focal point.  

Side By Side Selling  - 6/2/2004

The "real" concessions and the "real" bargains customers need are the benefits that lie within their products and services.  

Speaking Your Customer's Language  - 6/2/2004

All things being equal, customers like to do business with salespeople they can relate to. If your prices are pretty much the same as your competitors' and customer service seems to be equal among stores, customers are more apt to do business with someone they like.  

Tools Of Our Trade - Room Planning Visuals  - 6/2/2004

Today more than ever before, retail sales people need effective tools to capture their clients’ attention, give them a positive experience and aid in making the sale.  

Listening To Your Customers - Part 1  - 6/2/2004

The first article in a series by Peter Marino who believes that listening is a learned skill that lies at the heart of successful selling.  

Soul Of Exceptional Customer Service  - 6/2/2004

Within every company another Nordstrom waits for those who are willing to put in the effort. Subservience to individual role alone will fail, while focusing on the ultimate goal will result in true customer service.  

Get Their Name  - 6/2/2004

When you get the name in the beginning of the "selling relationship" it is much easier to get their address & phone number at the end. She is more comfortable volunteering this information when you've been calling her "Louise" for the past 20 minutes. But how do you get this information upfront without being nosy or pushy?  

The Salesperson Who Couldn't Lie  - 6/2/2004

Peter Marino's fertile mind created this story of Verax Dotcom, the salesperson who could not lie. It is fun to read and full of great sales skill information. Enjoy!  

Capitalize On Your Competitor's Mistakes  - 6/2/2004

We've all seen them. The "Don't" or "No" signs in the stores, the showrooms, the restaurants, the shops. They are "negative customer factors" because they do nothing to encourage business. Take these negatives... (including problems with the image of the entire retail home furnishings industry) and turn them into your positives.  

Comfort Wrinkles Are Not Defects  - 6/2/2004

The proper maintenance of their sleep set plays a major role in the consumer's understanding of what they can experience with a new sleep system, and how they can gain the greatest return on investment (long-term comfort and support). We do not want our customers returning a sleep set due to lack of knowledge and understanding.  

The Sales Secret Of Unshakable Belief  - 6/2/2004

What do evangelical faiths and great salespeople have in common?They talk about what they believe in all the time. They’re sold on it. They’re happy to get into a conversation about their beliefs with anybody, anytime.  

Sales Mistakes Made In The Name Of Nice - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

Many salespeople just want to be nice. They don’t want their customers to feel that they fit the mold of pushy commissioned salespeople. In doing so, they may fail to meet the needs of their customers and cause them to buy from that pushy salesperson down the street.  

It's Buying, Silly - Part 2 - Customer Fear  - 6/2/2004

Part 2 in this series looks at the fear your customers have of making a serious buying mistake and how you can make them feel glad by helping them to become aware of their needs... and then fulfilling them!  

When Selling, Get Right To The Point  - 6/2/2004

We’re in an age of complicated communication over-wrought with high technology and bombarded with thousands of sales and marketing messages a day. Make it easy for your prospect. Make it simple for your customer. Just get right to the point.  

The Truth About Closing - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

Cathy Finney’s article on closing the sale continues from the June/July issue. She presents closing techniques your salespeople definitely need to know and others that they need to forget if they want to effectively help customers to buy. Remember, it’s not about "closing" a sale. It is about opening a relationship!  

The Truth About Closing - Part 1  - 6/2/2004

If you’ve ever wished that someone could visit your store to teach your salespeople how to more effectively "close the sale" you are not alone. The reality of the situation is that your people probably don’t need to learn how to close. They need to be taught how to open! If you can’t open, you can’t close. It’s as simple as that.  

It's Buying, Silly - Part 1  - 6/2/2004

Chapter 1 in Peter A. Marino’s new manuscript on selling furniture. If you think that you and your salespeople are in the business of selling furniture to your customers... Peter says that you are dead wrong. Why? Because selling furniture is all about getting customers to buy!  

Too Chicken To Ask For Referrals? - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

Part two in a series, focuses on how, when and why you should “come out” and ask customers to give your name to friends, co-workers and family. This installment looks at how to approach different types of customers and fool proof follow-up techniques.  

Too Chicken To Ask For Referrals? - Part 1  - 6/2/2004

Part one of a two part series poses this question. If you really satisfy your customer’s needs and establish rapport, why wouldn’t she tell all her friends, co-workers and family about you? Cathy Finney looks at reasons why salespeople don’t ask, and why they should.  

A Mattress Is Just A Mattress?  - 6/2/2004

If your customer’s think that a mattress is just a mattress, then they probably think that a furniture salesperson is just a salesperson. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a customer is just a customer or let them get away with this unfortunate mindset.  

Join The S.W.A.T. Team  - 6/2/2004

This article presents words of wisdom from some of the most talented front-line retail sales consultants in our industry. These are salespeople who Sell With Assured Techniques (SWAT).  

Don Key Hoaty's Sales Adventures  - 6/2/2004

The fertile imagination of Peter Marino brings FURNITURE WORLD readers the fanciful tale of Don Key Hoaty, failed furniture salesperson. It is very loosely based on Peter’s own life and on Cervantes’ beloved character.  

Are Energy Vampires Draining Your Sales?  - 6/2/2004

In the world of retail, attitude is everything. Energy Vampires can masquerade as a client, a colleague or your mother... so read this before sunset!  

Listening To Your Customers - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

The second article in a series by Peter Marino who believes that listening is a learned skill that lies at the heart of successful selling.  

Great Salespeople Wash Their Cottage Cheese - Part 2  - 6/1/2004

The “curse of competence” is a syndrome that leads potentially great salespeople to complacency. In this two part series, Cathy Finney looks at ways that good salespeople can become great salespeople.  

Great Salespeople Wash Their Cottage Cheese - Part 1  - 6/1/2004

The “curse of competence” is a syndrome that leads potentially great salespeople to complacency. In this two part series, Cathy Finney looks at ways that good salespeople can become great salespeople.  

The Flea Market Salesman  - 6/1/2004

It doesn’t matter if you are selling a racked pitcher in a flea market for $2 or a $2,000 sofa; honesty makes a big impression.  

Suggestive Selling  - 6/1/2004

Use Your Personality and charm, along with some common sense and a little push, and your sales could increase dramatically.  

It's Buying, Silly - Part 7  - 6/1/2004

The way salespeople frame customers’ objections largely determines whether they will see them as roadblocks to be blasted out or as steppingstones to assist their progress. Positive minded salespeople reframe objections: they never think of them as something to be overcome, but simply as something to come over.  

I Hope, I Hope I Don't Need To Ask For The Sale  - 6/1/2004

Your customers hope that your sales goal is to help them make the best buying decision. If you don’t ask for the sale, it could mean that you are too timid… or worse, that you don’t fully believe that your products are the best choice for your customer.  

Compel, Dont, Repel Customers  - 6/1/2004

If customers find that you are exciting to work with, you will be able to create urgency rather than just pressuring them to buy.  

Sales Strategies That Fail - OOPS - Part 1  - 6/1/2004

If you buy into negative mindsets, your business fortunes will follow along...OOPS! Your attitude will plummet and you will dive in a free fall. If you think that you or a colleague may be susceptible to suggestions of doom and gloom, read this article that outlines common sales pathologies and their cures.  

Sellling and Cultural Differences  - 6/1/2004

Salespeople often have trouble establishing rapport with customers from different cultural backgrounds. Are there ways to overcome these difficulties? Salespeople should concentrate on the needs that all customers have in common.  

The Gospel According To Your Customers  - 6/1/2004

If customers are the ultimate focus of your retail existence, you will want to know their commandments. What retail “sins” can bring down fire and brimstone (as well as lousy sales) on your stores, your salespeople and your peace of mind? Former sinner Cathy Finney preaches to the faithful in this enlightening article.  

Sales Strategies That Fail - OOPS -Part 2  - 6/1/2004

In the February/March issue we examined four major sales mistakes. This feature looks at ways to avoid ethical problems that occur in sales situations. Should you share information that may “kill” a sale? Should you blindly believe everything customers tell you about their needs? Is “nice” always the most professional attitude?  

Strategies For Selling More Mattresses - Part 1  - 5/22/2004

More bedding salespeople need to focus on the importance of selling strategies. Salespeople who use only one strategy will keep using it, even if it is often doomed to fail.  

Connect With Customers  - 5/22/2004

If you think that better communication means developing a way to talk longer, more persuasively and more eloquently, you are mistaken. Communications skills must be developed and practiced to yield results at retail. Communication isn’t about how natural you feel, or how comfortable you are. It’s about how comfortable the listener is and the effectiveness of the sender.  

Selling Boxsprings - The Rodney Dangerfield of Furniture  - 5/22/2004

If you think that better communication means developing a way to talk longer, more persuasively and more eloquently, you are mistaken. Communications skills must be developed and practiced to yield results at retail. Communication isn’t about how natural you feel, or how comfortable you are. It’s about how comfortable the listener is and the effectiveness of the sender  

The Best Service Starts And Ends With A Hug  - 5/22/2004

This article is about reaching out and making a connection with your customers. It is about giving them a “hug”. Cathy Finney uses concepts developed in Jack Mitchell’s new book to not only explain how you can make home furnishings relationships work, but also how you can make them happen.