If business is slow today, there are things you can do to bring in more sales tomorrow.
Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90)
Once again, I say, our great industry aches from the "Oy! Vey! Syndrome" as the doldrums of the short summer are giving way to the hope of the holiday selling season.
I know from my own "Open the door Richard" experiences (For Furniture World readers who are not over 80 years old, this was a number one hit song in 1947), that no one in our game has it easy feeding a family and making a living. And that includes everyone in the retail life from administrative assistant, customer service/ sales people and, of course, the management of the whole rigmarole.
Those of us who are knee-deep in the constant daily selling of product have to hustle the hardest to stay afloat and smile too. It's a tough "now act”.
But I also know that one reason it's so tough is that many of us have made it all about being a "now act”. "Get the business now," we say. "Tomorrow is too far away."
However, many that are "big" in the business world don't agree that business is only about getting a sale today.
Every time I shop at a wide-awake super market I'm drowned with a selection of coupons that support cancer research, help to improve education, assist poor people in getting more medicine and help to buy screens in Africa to block out malaria carrying mosquitoes.
Not only are the biggies doing all this but they also spend millions telling their customers that they've done it. They're not only betting on tomorrow, but also making sure that their customers know about what they are doing, that isn't related to an immediate sale, right now.
Not only that. Other corporate businesses brag that their reps are involved in community service and health research fund raising while they march on Sundays in local park races.
And, furniture retailers with foresight are continually thinking about building future demand through education, positive media stories, blogging and more!
Why all this fuss that doesn't close immediate sales deals? Because, in addition to being good corporate citizens, these companies are betting on the "tomorrows" of their business game. They understand that when the buck-chips are down, such long-term investments help fill the "now" order gaps.
A-n-d, don't forget that in our business of furnishing rooms and homes, customers stay in the dreaming and shopping phases of the purchasing process for weeks, months or even years. If you want to know more about this, check out Joe Capillo's great article that ran in Furniture World Magazine a while ago at... http://www.furninfo.com/Furniture%20World%20Archives/11658 and check out another of his articles that looks at some research Lexington Furniture commissioned, by going to http://www.furninfo.com/Furniture%20World%20Archives/10311.
So, why not, when business is slow, try to get customers in the door for a free planning consultation, a seminar, blogging, PR or some other means to help them find you now while they are dreaming, wishing and wanting—but not yet ready for buying.
As the optimistic Annie Warbuck sings on Broadway: "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you're only a day away."
Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90.
Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. See the YouTube music video staring me, Grandpa Mike-e-e! with my granddaughter Becca in a supporting role at http://bitly.com/qALkrX
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)
Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.
Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.
Graduated high school at 16.
Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.
Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.
Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.
Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.
Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.
Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.
Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.
Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.
He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."
Retired from retail management at age 70.
BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.
Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home
Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.
At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.
Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,
IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.
At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.
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