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Weekly Furniture Message From Margo - 8 Proven Business-Building Tips.

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This week I will share with you My 8 Proven Business-Building Tips that you can apply to your furniture or decorating business (store-front or home-based) to build it to success. Most have to do with your mindset first, which in turn will direct your actions towards precisely focused effort to get you where you desire to be.

These practical and very doable tips are research-based and have been proven over and over again. They lead to success for the business professional who will practice them.

These tips are easy to put into action. 

1. When you are not selling, MARKET your business

If you do not have an appointment on any given day, market yourself during the time you would normally be on an appointment. Think about a person who is seeking full time employment. To be successful in finding a job quickly (which would in turn generate money quickly), a person seeking a job should make their full time job the task of getting a job. Similarly, if you do not have a client or a lead, make your full time (or part time) job the task of marketing to get leads and appointments. Before long you will have a steady flow of clients.

Create Awareness (market) by doing events related to your industry or niche, writing articles, or getting your materials out there in your community. A few examples from my previous decorating business include distributing flyers, doing decorating seminars for the public, partnering with a builder and putting over a dozen sample treatments in his showroom, and writing a decorating advice column every Sunday in the Home Section of an area newspaper in conjunction with a local real estate company, to name just a few. I got many exceptional leads and sales as a result of doing these tasks, and it did not take long at all.

2. DON'T pre-judge who you think will buy from you: Target your marketing but be good to EVERYONE

Market to your target groups, and then serve every one who comes to you from these activities. NEVER be hasty to judge a book by its cover (especially when that book approaches YOU)!

Get out there in your local community and network. At events, strike up conversations and be polite and kind to everyone that you meet. Even if someone is seemingly not your potential client, remember that people have bosses and acquaintances and relatives. People tell people, and people who cannot afford your services right now tell people who can. Someone who cannot afford your products now may be in a position to purchase them later, and they will remember how you interacted with them when they couldn’t buy.

One time, when I had a storefront design studio, a woman came in dressed in ragged jeans and a t-shirt, and from her appearance I absolutely assumed she was someone who could not afford my products and services. She just did not look the part AT ALL. I thought she was someone who was waiting for the bus or had missed it, and was just coming into my shop to cool off from the hot Texas summer heat. However, I treated her the same way I did any other prospect (or any person): I was kind, courteous, and gave her my undivided time and attention. Little did I know she lived in one of the biggest homes in the most "well-to-do" subdivision in our area. I ended up doing custom cornices for her very large family room and it was a wonderful job with a very nice profit.

3. "Losing" a sale is still a positive thing

When you lose a sale, you are a step closer to your closing rate goal. Remember that in order to have an optimal closing rate (60-80% for most industries), you will have to lose some sales. Even a lead that did not become a sale can lead to a referral sale if you remain professional and courteous. Think about it in a positive light. Hearing one "no" means you are much closer to the "YES"!

4. Our futures and fortunes are in the follow through!

Follow-up on ALL of your prospects, even the ones you KNOW (or rather, think you know) will not buy. Through your follow-up they will see that you care, and through your sincere communication, you may get the real reason for the lost sale. This gives you another opportunity to actually make the sale by helping the prospect to overcome any fear, misconception, or obstacle that was standing in the way for them.

Suppose you did not follow-up with a prospect because you just assumed they were not going to buy, so "why bother". Then, that prospect suddenly realized that they could make the extra room in their budget after all. There is a very great chance that the prospect WILL NOT CALL YOU after the initial sales presentation even if they figured out a way to broaden their budget. Instead, they may just go forward until another buying opportunity presents itself, and

someone else will get that sale. On the other hand, if you simply follow-up—perhaps a week later and then maybe again in a month or two— they may interact with you and give you their business. Our fortunes are certainly in the follow through.

5. Invest in your business

Make room in your business budget to invest in your business so it can grow. Allow resources for the development of new products and services, for education for yourself and your associates, for interesting projects, and for advertising and marketing. Perhaps you could invest in a joint venture with another business owner, or spend a little cash to delegate tasks. You could put resources towards things like search engine optimization for your website, a regular "advice" column in a local community magazine, some yard signs and door hangers, or .towards a company vehicle.

Having my car fully wrapped was a good investment for me when I ran my decorating business. I got a lot of attention with my bright and attractive colors, and many people stopped me in parking lots and garages for my business card even though my phone number was clearly visible on my car wrap. I think people just wanted to say hello and strike up a conversation because the wrap was so extensive, so colorful, and so interesting. It was always a lot of fun, and it definitely led to business and great profits, meaning it was worth the investment.

6. Know your competition, but do not obsess over them

Understand basically how your main competitors function, and have an idea of their products, services, and prices. Then, find what you do that they do not, and brag about it. Know your competition, but never be obsessed with them or give them even one minute more thought than is necessary to serve your clients. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on what you do well and who YOU are, and shout it out in your wonderful, unique voice! Do not get sidetracked and caught up in the kind of negative energy that comes from fixating on another person or business. Focus on your customers instead, and you will enjoy amazing freedom and greater success.

7. Give your business time to grow

Do not be pulled off sides by get-rich-quick schemes, and do not expect instant sales and referrals just because you are in business. You must nurture and grow your business, each day doing something positive and meaningful towards your short-term and long-term business goals (which means you must have them and know what they are). This type of effort will definitely pay off, perhaps a little at first, but be patient and faithful in the little and you will see exponential and expedited growth once it all starts to take effect.

8. Have fun and be the kind of person people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to be around

When you leave the presence of others, they should feel better for having spent time with you. Who wouldn’t want to do business now and in the future with a fun, positive, fair, and caring individual? You cannot separate "real life" from "business". We are who we are, and know assuredly that your business success will reflect the kind of person that you choose to be. It IS a choice!

Have a Wildly Successful Week,


Margarett (Margo) DeGange, M.Ed. is a contributor to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine an a Business and Design Coach in the Home Fashions Industry. She creates and delivers custom training programs for managed businesses and their sales consultants to help them communicate better with customers and increase sales and profits. Margarett is a Writer and Professional Speaker, and the President of The DeGangi Group and The DeGangi School of Interior Decoration, with both on sight and on-line courses in Interior Decorating, Marketing, and Redesign. For almost 20 years she has helped individuals and managed business owners in the interior fashions and decorating industries to earn more while fully enjoying the process.

Two of Margo’s popular products for furniture store owners and their sales professionals are The Decorating School Crash Course Power-Ed Pack (9 design lessons on video/audio with 12 hours of content), and the matching Decorating School Crash Course Learner Files to measure learning, provide added interactivity, and motivate sales consultants to own their opportunities for growth.

Visit Margo DeGange’s website at www.DecoratingForProfits.com  for more information. Send email and questions to her at Margarett@furninfo.com.

Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers