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Furniture Retail Tip #56 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 - Does Your Store Have The Gift of Gab?

Furniture World News


Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)

Yes! You've got all kinds of management chiefs but I'm sure the odds are that you're missing one important one.

Tomorrow morning check and see if I'm right: You've got a buyer, a shipper, a bookkeeper, merchandise manager, an insurance and legal specialist, a warehouse manager, a duster just to name a few, but you ain't got a Gift of Gab Manager! Take a look. Right?

The other afternoon after 16 inches of snow one of my darling daughters called to ask if I could use an airing in the 24-degree snowfall and without even a single thought I answered "Wow-e-e! Let's go!"

So we went to the shopping center and wow-e-e! again there were spaces and spaces of wet parking spots with loads and loads of melted snow. She didn't mind.

The shopping center included a cluster of top-top retailers with top-top displays where classic retailers were showing their post Christmas/New Year gift inventory. Not only were they showing that inventory but they were selling it, too, despite the puddles. I could tell by the fancy shopping bags that the husbands were trailing with.

A-n-d of course I had to visit the furniture store in the mix.

I started examining the inventory on display that was displayed without a speck of dust, plus loads of properly angled high end lighting to reflect the colors and broad displays. There were plenty of cheerful salespersons on duty who had more on their minds than talking about the weather.

The signage was believable! Every sales pitch, product and display was thought out to help this retailer achieve its winter mission including selling with a smile and providing a warm "thank you" to customers

I started to do a Grandpa Mike-e-e! dig in when my daughter asked the salesperson for a cardboard box to pack a gift item she just bought. The salesperson found one in the back room and began to tissue wrap the items of sale.

As I started to wander around while my daughter paid the bill, I found a folded card on a wood dining table for sale. It read: This classic table will welcome your family for Sunday suppers for generations. Its broad surface is ready to accommodate delicious stacked platters and can seat an adjustable gang.

It then showed a photo of the merchandise, its dimensions (opened and closed) its care, price and possible maintenance problems.

All this sort of sales construction doesn't just happen. It's taught and administered.

What's the point of this whole megillah? It’s that from the customer’s perspective -- every bit of the experience, every detail was coordinated and pretty near perfect. In my opinion this store had the “Gift of Gab”.

At this point I want to make it clear that the “Gift of Gab” is a positive thing and not something that your Great Aunt has – so that after you get off the phone with her, your ear hurts for days!

The “Gift of Gab” is something your store has that communicates appropriately, professionally and comfortingly to your customers at all times.
In the September/October 2012 article in Furniture World, “The Touchpoint Experience” by Florian Volmer. Mr. Volmer says that, “Today's customers expect authentic, relevant, and meaningful brand interactions wherever and whenever they come in contact with your retail furniture store brand.” In other words, stores that engage customers have the 'Gift of Gab' that makes them want to buy from you, and then afterwards, leaves them with the feeling that they are glad they did.

So, back to my initial point, I repeat, why don’t you have a "Gift of Gab" Manager?

And you say: "Hah! Now I get your point Grandpa Mike-e-e-e!

Thanks, again, for listening.

Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90

Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: grandpamike-e-e!@furninfo.com

About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)

Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.

Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.

Graduated high school at 16.

Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.

Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.

Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.

Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.

Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.

Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.

Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.

Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.

Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.

He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."

Retired from retail management at age 70.

BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.

Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home

Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.

At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.

Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,

IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.

At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.

Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Michael Greene