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The Gospel According To Your Customers

Furniture World Magazine


Your customers lay down the law... chapter and verse... regarding professional sales behaviors.

Editor’s note: 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.

Thou Shall Not...

•Have “issues!”

•Bring thy personal problems to work.

•Make this “process” about thee instead of about me ~ “Ethel!”

•Dwell in “clerkdom” at the “Fort!”

•Discuss whose turn it is to “take me” as I am standing there.

•Attack me at the front door.

•Scream at each other across the showroom (unless thou art throwing “fish!”).

•Look like thou fell out of bed!

•Get in my space and get in my face.

•Refer to me as a “Line #6,” an “Up,” or a “Be-Back”.

•Stalk, follow, or harass me.

•Talk about me as if I am not present.

•Pontificate about thy product!

•Make this a “process,” that is hard, painful and complicated!

•Swoop down on my person, when I stop to look at an item!

•Try and “sell” me what thou wouldst want me to “buy.”

Neither Shall Thee...

•Be pushy, nosy, or obnoxious.

•Interrupt me when I am speaking.

•Tell me what is important to thee.

•Tell me what thee “loves,” and only show me thy “favorites” that just happen to be “perfect” for me!

•Speak to me in “furnitureeze!”

•Make me feel stupid by asking me questions to which I don’t know the answers.

•Try to “sell me” on just the price.

•Judge me, lest thee be judged.

•Determine how much I can spend.

•Make “judgements about me based on appearance, wardrobe, or my mode of transportation!

•Just show me sale, or clearance merchandise.

•Decide for me what I need, or how much I can afford to spend.

•Write me off as a “lookey loo.”

Nor Under Any Circumstances...

•Take my money and never contact me again.

•Want to just “sell me” one time.
•Fail to notify me of any delays or problems.

•Cause me stress, sleepless nights, or make me regret that I “trusted” thee.

•Forget about me so that I am not contacted on a regular basis regarding “special events” and new merchandise that just arrived.

•Furthermore, never ever take me for granted.

As A Professional Sales Consultant - Thou Shall...

•Greet me with a smile and be happy to see me when I come through the door.

•Look and act the part of a “true professional”.

•Listen to me and care about my concerns.

•Respect my opinion and what I like.

•Care about me as a person, not just another “customer” to be “sold!”

•Establish an ongoing relationship so that thou can assist me with all my needs.

•Plan your day and establish my priorities.

•Choose to have a terrific attitude

•Only associate with positive people and avoid the whiners who try to bring you down.

•Take a 30 second inventory of yourself to determine if “you would buy you today?”

•Read each customer and treat them the way that they want to be treated.

•Remember the importance of being “Up” and ready to greet each new opportunity.

•Turn “browsers” into “buyers.”

•Get the name of each and every “Up.”

•Set yourself up for the re-approach by giving them an assignment.

•Listen carefully to discover “Ethel’s” real needs and wants.

•Ask yourself, “Why do they need this solution?”

•Get the right mind-set and keep the right mind-set.

•Work “by appointment” to establish yourself as a professional in the customer’s mind.

•Let them know that you “will” be calling them and “why’ you will be calling them back.

•Find out their “time schedule for completing their room,” so that you can create a sense of urgency for them to get started.

•Make sure that you are driving the “be-back bus!”

•Understand that people do not buy the way you buy, they buy the way “they” buy!

•Anticipate any problems & come up with solutions.

•Make sure that all decision makers are involved the whole way through the process.

•Practice your presentation so that they can “picture” their room and want to own it.

•Never let them see you sweat!

•Supply the information they need, provide the solutions and “Ask” them to own it!

•Make plans to work with “Ethel” on future projects.

•Establish a high level of trust so that they now consider you “their” advisor and consultant.

•Ask for referrals so that they will recommend you to their friends and associates.

•Keep studying so that you are always learning and growing as a professional.

•Know that you and you alone are responsible for your success.

•Turn every encounter into a special “experience” for the customer.

•“Play” and make each opportunity “fun!”

As a Professional sales consultant, thou Shall Never...

•“Hang out” with negative people.

•Believe customers when they tell you they are “just browsing.”

•Trust them when they tell you, “They’ll be-back.”

•Treat every customer the same.

•“Speaketh” in the “tongue of lizard!”

•Decide how much they can afford.

•Let the economy, or outside events determine your success.

•Take rejection personally.

•Forget that it is not about you ~ it is about ~ “Ethel!”


Cathy Finney is President of Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T." She is a noted motivational speaker, sales trainer, and management consultant. Her latest audio tape series on follow-up is called "The Marketing of "Me, Inc." -Taking Your Company Into the Next Millennium--10 audio tapes plus a comprehensive "how-to" manual that helps your people turn all the customers into "clients!" Questions can be addressed to her care of FURNITURE WORLD at finney@furninfo.com.