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How To Keep Good Furniture Salespeople And Reduce Turnover

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by Dave Mink, Trax Sales

What problem is costing you 20% of potential sales volume every month, adding up to millions in sales every year? Salesperson turnover.
 
How do you keep good salespeople and reduce turnover?
 
Personal reasons aside, salespeople leave for one reason- they are not making enough money. A leading furniture publication states that, on average, it costs $70,000 to replace a salesperson with an established clientele. Adding in time for training, rookie mistakes, and the closing ratio of a seasoned salesperson versus a new hire, the cost quickly adds up to over $150,000. 
 
To keep your top performers, provide them with the opportunity to build a strong customer following and continually increase their sales performance. Challenges and goals equal excitement, and create loyal employees.

How can you create an atmosphere of top performers?
 
Work to simplify and streamline the lead-tracking process for your employees. Dedicate 2 hours per week for 1 month working with your team to ensure each employee understands how to track and follow up with important customer leads using the some kind of Customer Relationship Management System. TRAXsales produces front door people counters and automated UpBoard software for the home furnishings industry, but 
 there are many types around.
 
The typical closing ratio in the furniture business for a below average salesperson is about 12%.  If the customer returns for the same item, the closing ratio jumps to over 80% even with this below average closer.
This is where most fail- 90% of all furniture salespeople do not follow-up properly. Using proper follow-up, you will see a 40% increase in returning customers.
 
What constitutes proper follow-up?

1. Know when to stop selling and start listening. Every single customer does not represent a sale, but every customer can represent an opportunity to build trust and forge networking relationships.

2. Train your team to retrieve personal information. For some customers, this may be as simple as building a friendly rapport. For wary individuals, get creative! Offer gift cards, discounts, drawings, or access to expert information online.

3. Use the automatic follow-up letters. Printed each morning, the letters should be customized for your company. Remember, the letters should be motivating with a call to action when possible.

4. Personalize correspondence. Demand that each salesperson hand write a short note at the bottom of every thank you letter, referencing one personal detail remembered from their conversation with that customer. Keep the note focused on the conversation and away from the product to build trust and loyalty. Too busy to hand write? *Find out about several printing companies with new personalized automated printing options.

5. Develop and maintain relationships. The average home furnishing consumer will spend $60,000 in their lifetime furnishing their homes.  Work with your sales team to make it easy to build a loyal customer database. 

6. Track all contacts.  If you do not have our guest card call Brianda and we will email this to you within 48 hours. A simple free 5x8 card, use the guest card to track lead information and response. Getting into the habit of accurately tracking your unsold contacts will improve lead follow-up and lead to better sales.
 
7. Print daily to-do lists each morning to keep your team alert and informed.

How Do I Train My Team? 

Each week, spend two hours on the following:

  • 60 Minutes: Review salesperson activity, including follow-up letters and incorporate any suggestions for current to-do lists. Train your team on how to write effective, personal statements using both professionalism and humor.
  • 30 Minutes: Review the IGE (non sold performance follow-up) report and reward top performers. The IGE report details customer information, including which team member captured the information.
  • 30 Minutes: Perform MBWA (Management By Walking Around). Observe your team and determine that all tracking steps are being followed. Listen for any issues or difficulties, and work to streamline the process.

With this streamlined and easy-to use follow-up system, your team will begin to generate repeat customers and referrals. After the first year of disciplined lead tracking, 20% of sales will come from returns and referrals. In the second year, 40% of sales will come from returns and referrals, and so on.
 
Just sit back for a minute and imagine your top team members generating most of their business from repeat customers and referrals. 


TRAXsales.com manufacturers front door people counters and automated UpBoard software to insure great customer follow-up with sold and unsold customers and prospects. Dave Mink is a management consultant and former furniture retailer. Questions about this article o how the TRAXsales system can help you to get control of the sales process in your stores, visit www.traxsales.com call 713-466-7177 or email support@traxsales.com

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