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Who Wants To Greet a Millionaire?

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 147 NO.3 May/June


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Five steps to help your sales staff serve your customers like millionaires so they might become one themselves!

 If your store has ever lost a big sale due to credit turn-down or heard a customer say, “It’s more than I want to spend” then you would have to appreciate the opportunity to greet a millionaire as your next store guest.

It’s hard to tell who has a million dollars in the bank any more. Average earners often drive really cool cars and dress in the latest fashions. The big earners often like to fly incognito. That old phrase about judging a book by it's cover really comes into play. But, what if you recognize your next shopper as an athlete, entertainer, or lottery winner, worth many millions. How would you change your presentation?

1. Show the good stuff first! Almost everybody wants to own the best. So, if price (affordability, really) is not an obstacle, they will get it. Knowing that your shopper could buy anything and everything in the store (or even the store itself) should give you the freedom and confidence to start at the top.

2. Show more of the good stuff! While we often feel very accomplished when we sell one item or one room, in dealing with your wealthy client you would want to provide merchandise for every room in their house. They wouldn’t be a TRUE millionaire, if they only had one house, so you would ask about their summer house, their ski lodge, their hunting cabin and yacht!

3. Show stuff that makes the other stuff better! Your Millionaire client will rarely go to dinner without ordering cocktails and dessert. They never buy a suit or dress without getting new shoes, shirt, tie, jewelry, and those garments that go underneath. The reason is simple. What we view as optional accessories, they view as essentials. They want the complete meal and the complete package. Sure, they have a closet full of shirts, necklaces, shoes, socks and more. But that was purchased for the old stuff, and they are getting new stuff!

4. Assume they will buy today! You can’t get rich by dilly-dallying around. After all, time is money and millionaires shop to buy. They don’t shop to shop. Chances are they will even feel that you are under-serving them if you don’t offer to place the order today.

5. Make them a VIP customer! Everyone likes to be treated special, but Millionaires demand it! They like to be recognized by name, offered special seating, extra attention (or their comfortable level of attention), and served quickly. They even like to be offered a special deal. They also like stores to know their product style preferences.

Here's the bad news about the top one percent. People become (and stay) millionaires because they like to save and invest money. So, even if your next shopper has zillions, you may have a difficult time wrenching some of it away!

Oh HENRY!
The GOOD news is that you probably have a few HENRYs in your store every week. HENRY is an acronym for High Earners-Not Rich Yet. These people make good money, but are not millionaires because they are still spending money buying homes and furnishing them. They have the income to get credit to buy your STUFF. Consumer credit is severely underused in retail stores. Consumer finance providers generally report that on average, the average retail home furnishings shopper is approved for a $4400 credit line, yet first time purchases average around $1440. While our job is not to load up shoppers with a lot of things they don’t need, we clearly are underselling our shoppers’ needs and our own products.
You may rarely get a HENRY in your store, but even average income buyers have money or credit to spend. When you truly believe in and can demonstrate that the products you provide will enhance their lifestyles, you can convert them into raving fans of your store and the products you sell.

Want to be a millionaire?
I can’t promise that you’ll ever earn a million bucks selling home furnishings, but you can become a HENRY, and if you save and invest, you will be on the road to millionaire status. Here’s a hint on how to get on that road. Re-read the five steps at the start of this article. Apply these five techniques to ALL of your shoppers - and watch your sales and income grow.

It’s more than judging the book; it’s about confidence in your products, store, service, and delivery. It’s about making the next Average Joe or Average Jane feel like a VIP, even if it’s only for the 25 minutes they are in your store. Rise above the swamp of retail and call your best 10 customers of 2016. Tell them you are thinking of them and hope that they are still enjoying the STUFF they bought. You might even invite them back to see the new line up in your showroom.

Commit to giving a full and thorough presentation to EVERY shopper that includes all of the essential items we like to call accessories. Since those accessories are really essential to enjoying their new merchandise, consider them for sale, not as an inducement to buy.

Lastly, no matter what level of income your shopper earns, they also are pressed for time. No one has less of it than the moms and dads of the world who are working to provide for their families, while shuttling kids back and forth, and keeping up the household. The greatest act of kindness you can do for these customers is to ask them to buy the complete package and let them scratch shopping off their to-do list. They will especially appreciate it when you give them VIP service and get their order delivered right the first time.

Gordon Hecht is Senior Manager-In Store Concepts for Serta Simmons Bedding Company, introducing and expanding bedding business in conventional and non-traditional venues. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver and later served in sales, retail management and consulting roles.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht