Over 154 Years of Service to the Furniture Industry
 Furniture World Logo

More Top Secret Sales Tips

Furniture World Magazine


Strategies & techniques used by members of the new S.W.A.T. Team!

Editor’s Note: In the June/July 2002 issue of FURNITURE WORLD Cathy Finney presented words of wisdom from some of the most talented front-line retail sales consultants in our industry. These are salespeople who Sell With Assured Techniques (SWAT). That article is posted to the “Sales Skill Index” on www.furninfo.com. This month, Cathy speaks to more top salespeople willing to share the secrets of their success.

In “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, Richard Bach writes, “To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is, you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” The new members of the S.W.A.T. Team have already “arrived” too, but they are not gulls. They are “eagles” charting their own course for a prosperous and fulfilling new year.
Here are some of the strategies that these star performers plan to continue to use in 2003.

Meet Patience Spaulding from Norwalk Furniture in North Tampa; one of Norwalk’s top writers. Her name describes both her personality and her sales secret. She is patient, caring, and very giving to her clients. Her philosophy:

“I appreciate and learn from each new person walking through the door. There are so many lessons to be learned if we only listen to each other.

“Canned speeches don’t work. It has to be you and it has to be genuine. Sales are all about relationship building. If you don’t get that, then you don’t get it!”

Jeannie Weber from Oskar Huber Furniture in Southampton, Pa. follows the same philosophy as Patience. She explained that the secret to her success is that, “I make a friend before I make a sale.”

“I am doing something for them, not to them.” This is the mantra of Marti Schembrier who works in Oskar Huber’s Ship Bottom, New Jersey location. She also tells her clients . . .

“Let’s get your room started now. I’d rather have your furniture waiting for you, instead of you having to wait for your furniture!”

Another theme that is consistently heard from these “eagles” is the word confidence.

Shelly Klosterman, another consultant from Oskar Huber, takes great care when choosing her attire.

“I want to look put together,” she says, “because I’m young. In order to appear more confident I need to always dress professionally. This way I know people will take me seriously.”


Another young woman who is gaining more confidence everyday is Amber Holmes from the Norwalk showroom in the Uptown area of Houston. In the new book “It’s Buying, Silly” published by FURNITURE WORLD, Contributing Editor Peter Marino asserts that the average adult listens at only 25% proficiency. Amber is trying to single-handedly reverse this sorry state of affairs by “Giving customers exactly what they’re asking for, instead of what I think they should have. I have learned to listen, really listen. This allows me to lead instead of follow. So I am now able to ask them to get started.”

Meet Doris Marker. Her desk is at the Woodlands, Norwalk in Houston. Doris is on a mission to make this job her new career and it’s working! Today, she’s a woman on a mission who is getting more comfortable and more confident with each passing day!

“For me,” she explains, “it comes down to becoming confident with who I am and what I’m doing. My confidence has allowed me to also know the power and the importance of persistence, follow-up, and never giving up. There are clients I have been in contact with for as long as seven months before they were ready to make a commitment. I didn’t give up on them so they wouldn’t give up on me!

My goal is to build a clientele for myself within the framework of Norwalk. I want people to know I’m here!”

Another pro who has “taken off” is Sherry Phillips from Miller Brothers Furniture in Punxsutawney, Pa. Her formula for success in sales is that “It all boils down to three things: Follow-up, follow-up, and follow-up! This is what separates me as a professional from everyone else!”

Rhonda Kleinheitz from Norwalk in Tulsa, Oklahoma also believes in the power of follow-up. Evidence of persistence can be found in her relentless “working” of her pending business list. If when calling a client she happens to get an answering machine, her message always begins with the phrase “Welcome Home.” What a fun way to start a message, welcoming them to their abode as they’re checking to see who called. Who normally welcomes her clients’ home? Just their friends, family and Rhonda, who is moving in to their lives! Yes, she is definitely, “mining for gold!”

Consistency is the word that Lisa Woods, manager of the Tulsa store used to describe one of her top writers, Kristen Yannaccone.

“Day in and day out Kristen is consistent in her sales performance and her attitude. She always has a great attitude.

“She mirrors her people. Because of this, they like her immediately, and they trust her. Her clients wouldn’t buy anywhere else, from anyone else.

“She’s always thinking about ways to help them so that when new things come into the showroom she is placing them in someone’s home.”

Another member of the flock who believes in helping his clients complete the total look, is Jeff Hartman from Norwalk in Largo, Florida. In fact Jeff told me that when people tell him that they still want to shop around, he let’s them know that, “You should shop. This is an important decision. But, I don’t want you to be disappointed. So don’t let anyone sell you just a sofa. You won’t be happy because your room won’t be finished.”

Jaye Roth from Oskar Huber in Valley Forge, Pa. shares the same crucial information with her clients. She tells them that

“Shopping for a sofa and chairs is like going clothes shopping with a girlfriend. Choosing accessories? That’s like shopping for that special piece of jewelry. It’s fun! It’s unique! It’s just for you! It’s the finishing touch that defines who you are!”

Isn’t that why accessories are so important to a room? Those “touches” are what give the room its life, its personality. But, take heed! this is where “Ethel” really needs your help!

Another great nugget to be mined was presented by Janice Behrig who works in the Southampton location of Oskar Huber. She says, “When I’m working with newlyweds, I include extra business cards in their receipt. I tell them to think of me and Oskar Huber as their official ‘bridal registry.’ I ask them to have their friends and relatives call me. That way I can help them select the gifts for their home that they really want.”

What do all these “eagles” have in common? They love what they do and it shows!
Mark Twain may have said it best when he explained that “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!”

Another achiever “in flight” who loves what she does is Evelyn Eisner. Evelyn is in her 80’s, and is #1 at Hillside Furniture in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan! Her energy, her spirit is contagious!

“I love what I do,” she exclaimed. “When you love what you do, you give of yourself. I’m always honest with people, and I’m always straightforward.

“I try to keep it simple for them. I listen. This way I can keep their selection narrowed down. If you don’t listen, you give them too many choices. Now they’re confused, and they can go a little crazy!

“I don’t talk past the finish line. In other words, I don’t talk myself out of a sale. I read the body

language… read the customer… am quiet so I can listen. Too many people in sales talk right past it!

“No matter how much I write, I am never satisfied with what I’ve done. I always want to do better.”

Now it is your turn to take all of these nuggets of advice, polish them, and use them as your new tools in your toolbox. Use them to plot your course in the New Year so you can fly with these “Eagles!” If you have sales tools or techniques that you think might benefit FURNITURE WORLD readers, please fax them to 800-784-8488 or e-mail them to cathyfinney@furninfo.com.

Try to remember in 2003 Richard Bach’s advice that you, like Jonathon, have already arrived!


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.