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First Exchange At RetaiL

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 145 NO.4 July/August


on


Most Stores
can do a much better job of turning a ‘first exchange’ into a sale.
Here’s how to do better at turning prospects into buyers.

When do your customers think that they have made their first exchange or encounter with your store?
Before answering this question, let’s define the three kinds of people who encounter your store and should be on your sales “radar”.
  • Leads - People who have shown an interest in your business. They have yet to visit or call you but have taken the time to learn more about what you do and offer.
  • Prospects - People who have visited or made a lengthy phone call but, have yet to purchase.
  • Customers - Those who have completed a purchase.
Of these, prospects are truly those people who have made the first exchange with your business. They’ve either spent time on the phone inquiring about products, or have made a store visit. Either way, they have invested their most valuable asset with you, their time.

The word exchange implies engagement from both sides of a transaction, yet many furniture retailers don’t respect or complete their part of the exchange. They may provide great advice, and information, but fail to take their responsibilities to the next level.

Closing percentages being what they are on a first visit, let’s say that today is simply not the day your prospect feels comfortable making a decision. So what do you do?

Complete The Exchange


You need to complete your part of the exchange.

Put all of your prospects onto a pathway, or as I call it, a system for follow up. When done right this increases the possibility of increasing business by as much as 40-50%!

If you close at 40%, there ARE 60% of prospects that invested their time interacting with your business. Did you get the payoff?

What happens when a prospect does any of the following things?
  • Completes an interactive chat via your website?
  • Calls your business?
  • Leaves without buying?
All of the above prospects have made their first exchange with you at this point. If you want to get maximum return on your investment in these people, you must have a system that moves prospects to customers quickly, efficiently, and respectfully. This system must deliver timely, relevant, and most importantly, personalized communications.

Your Follow Up System

True success requires more than just email follow up. When you combine email, direct mail, phone – outbound and voice broadcast, you create a knock out punch combination that will increase sales and put more money into your pocket.

Once Leads become Prospects, they are no longer a faceless name on a list, a Click, an Impression, or a Like. Why not treat them with the respect and investment they deserve so you can get them to come back? Prospects are likely more than 50% of your available traffic and lead flow.

“When You

combine email, direct mail, phone, outbound and voice broadcast you create a knock out punch combination that will increase sales and put more money into your bank account.”


Would you be pleased if your direct mail media company told you that, they tossed out 50% of your inserts, because you weren’t going to sell to those homes anyway? Not a chance!

So why do you continue to toss out perfectly good prospects who have made that first exchange. These are people your staff should know by name, and already understand their needs.

Nothing new is needed in order to close more of these people. You just need the will and apply some technology to make it happen.

Technology To Consider

There are endless options for technology that will help to do a better job of following up with prospects. What’s needed is customer relationship management (CRM) software. Ideally it should be automated so communications are sent as soon as you input a new prospect. Any CRM you consider should include the following:

  • Capture and use of email, address, phone.
  • Ability to look up a prospect using any piece of contact information you have.
  • Ability to track offers, discounts, and specials by prospect. Tagging or marking of prospects based on what communications have been sent to them, and which ones they’ve engaged with.
  • Ability to move a prospect from one part of the system to the next based on their level of engagement with your communications.
  • Metrics of how many leads, prospects, and customers you have at any given time, able to be reported on demand, without calling customer support or entering a service ticket.
  • Real time “dashboard or snapshot” of how leads, prospects and customers are moving through your various systems.

Where to Start?

While this may seem like a daunting task it isn’t. Simply get in front of a whiteboard and map out how your current follow-up system functions. What happens once Prospects leave and when? How can you make your system better by adding a postcard, email, or thank you phone call. In a couple of days, send another email asking for feedback that includes a gift with purchase offer if their order is placed within a week of the email being sent. Then make a phone call, to see if there are any other questions that they need answered, or insights you can offer.

The possibilities are endless.

Just remember, that you are not being pushy. Your Prospects have invested their time and energy in you. How much are you willing to re-invest in them?

ost stores
can do
a much
better job of turning a ‘first exchange’ into a sale. Here’s how to do better at turning prospects into buyers.

About Jeff Giagnocavo: Jeff Giagnocavo is co-owner of the retailer Gardner’s Mattress & More and the co-creator of Mattress Retailer Weekly. Mattress Retailer Weekly is shared with you every week so you can get new customers, stay ahead of your competition and increase your sales tickets. Get your FREE subscription by visiting www.RenegadeMattressRetailer.com or text MRW to 484-303-4300.
Read other articles by Jeff Giagnocavo