Furniture sales expert, author, FURNITURE WORLD Magazine contributing editor and consultant Joe Capillo recently announed the release of his new book “Living on the Top Line” The Ultimate How-To Sales Guide for Furniture Retailers in the New Retail Reality.
"The world around us has changed dramatically in the past 18 months, Joe commented, "but for most furniture retailers business continues to be transacted in the same old ways. Nothing fails like success. Everything that’s been sold for the past 5 decades or so has been sold using the same methods, approaches, and thinking. Store owners know things have changed, but don’t always know what changes to make in their operations to meet these new challenges, or how to make them.”
In this down-to-earth book Joe Capillo draws on three decades of observations of the “old” retail models and his thoughtful understanding and use of the relevant metrics, plus some new and very relevant consumer research that targets how consumers think about and execute home furnishings purchases, to present simple methods and strategies that will improve sales performance and profits and help retailers retain customers over the long term.
"Living On The Top Line" deals with the challenges of changing long-imbedded notions regarding what our business is really all about so that new strategic and tactical initiatives can take root in a home furnishings retail company’s culture, and don’t fade away in the face of the resistance to change caused by institutional gravity. “When your business is all about rooms and homes, and you believe it’s all about the furnishings you sell, there’s a fundamental disconnection built into your relationships with your potential customers.” In “Living on the Top Line” Joe explains how to understand the phenomenon of change, and how to deal with it.
"Today, consumers have options as to how and where they shop some of which didn’t exist a decade ago, and in very large numbers they begin their search online and will first encounter your company at your website," Joe continued. "Increasingly, furniture websites are becoming selling venues despite the common wishful thinking of many retailers that furniture is a “touchy-feely” product that people need to see up close and feel. Successful retailers have to make shoppers’ experiences exceptional, far exceeding their expectations based on what’s happened to them in the past. How can you explain the consistency of 20% to 30% conversion rates across all stores? That’s a dismal close ratio for any retail model, but it is our performance reality. From your website to your one-to-one engagement with shoppers in the store, the experience should be fun, targeted at the right things, and seamless."
A second disconnection, the book examines is the disconnection of too many retail owners from the true performance metrics of their own retail reality. “Recently," Joe noted, "I reviewed metrics with a client who measures everything starting with served customer opportunities (he has no way to track the un-served ones) and discovered that a top performing salesperson who had served 980 customers so far this year had generated $571 per opportunity (Performance Index or Revenue-per-Opportunity) while another person who had recorded serving 990 opportunities generated only $379 per opportunity. Is the difference in revenue of $190,000 an acceptable price to pay for low performance?"
The final critical disconnection for furniture retailers the book deals with is that between owners and salespeople. “Whose goals do we chase?” Joe asks, “The owners goals or the salesperson’s goals? In almost every situation I’ve encountered over two decades of consulting, commissioned salespeople want more than they’re getting, but seldom is there a planned course for them to follow to achiever that.” Living on the Top Line shows retailers how to think about and deal with driving individual performance by attending to individual goals.
Every furniture retailer and every retailer who depends on one-to-one selling for all their revenue will benefit from reading this book and applying the solutions Joe Capillo suggests.
"Living On The Top Line" is now available on Amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/ylsjjoo ($24.95)