Professional Sales Attitude And Organization
Furniture World Magazine
By Cathy Finney
Is it time for you to realign your attitude and declare a "Dumpster Day"?
Editor's note: This is an article about Passion in selling written with a Passion for selling. Many apologies to Cathy Finney for deleting 4,569 exclamation marks from this article!!!
It's that time of year when the best sales professionals do their Spring-Cleaning. They take out their emotional garbage, give themselves an attitude adjustment, and polish their professional skills.
We are living through the first spring of this great new century. This is your wake up call to assess your flight plan for soaring! Your action plan for "Me, Inc." This is the perfect time to "get over it and get on with it!"
My motto is "Attitude = Altitude!" The better your attitude, the higher you will fly! It all starts with you. How are you doing? When you get up each morning, you decide. Are you going to have a bad day, a good day, or a Great Day! Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, "I want to be a member of the Loser's Club." The best athletes don't go to the Olympics and say, "I'm here to win the Bronze!" No way! They go to win. What is the essential ingredient you need if you are going to win? It is "Passion." Just hearing the word, saying the word, makes you feel terrific! Are you passionate about what you do? When you are passionate, your customers know, because you glow! When I first started my career in retail, I didn't know anything. My training consisted of a half tour of the store. I was put on commission, paid on delivered. "Dancing fast" became a way of life. However, I was so glad to be there and I loved every second of it. People would say to me, "You love what you do, don't you?" I would very enthusiastically reply, "Oh yes! You want to buy another one?" They bought another one.
Passion is everything. Are you glowing? Are you growing? It's hard to keep "shining" everyday. One of the toughest things about this business is that you must always be "up" and "on." There just are "No Bad Hair Days in Retail!"
It's hard to keep glowing when life keeps throwing pop quizzes. I've had to take a few of those tests myself, and have learned a tremendous amount. I adopted a second slogan. "It's not what happens to you in life ~ It's what you do with what happens to you."
DECLARE A "DUMPSTER DAY!"
It's time to take out the garbage! Once a month set aside a day to unpack the excess baggage that you've been carrying. Take it out, talk it out, hash it out and throw it out! It takes time, energy, and thought to lug around all that stuff. You are too busy for that. You are too good for that. You now know that "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts!" What did you learn from all this? If it's not teaching you anything, then why are you babysitting it? Throw out all the "stuff!"
Thou Shall Not Consort With People Who Make Thee Feel Bad About Thyself*
There is a group called the DE-MOTIVATORS roaming the planet. They come in different shapes, sizes and fall into several different groups:
The Rude Ones: You know that group of customers who had their sense of humor surgically removed without anesthesia! Go on a mission to turn this person around. Don't let them win. They need you. They just don't know it yet!
Never take rejection personally. Ladies, it could be your "UP," and you just happen to look like her ex-husband's new wife! You could walk on water, but, you're done! Never take it personally.
Elizabeth Kenny says it best, "He who angers you, conquers you!" So when anyone rejects you, for whatever reason ~ remember one word and one word only ~NEXT!
Thou Shalt Cease Trying To Make Sense Out Of Crazy Behavior
N-e-g-a-t-i-v-e People: Don't be rude or nasty to them, just get out of their space, and get out of their face!
When you let somebody bring you down, they are affecting your income. They are affecting how you interact with your new opportunities. They are affecting you and the bottomline results for your company. Try to remember that only you can give someone the power to bring you down, to affect your life, to mess with your day. Why would you ever give negative people that much power?
Besides, when you love what you do and you're happy and smiling it drives them nuts!
"Thou shall not keep company with those more dysfunctional than thyself!"
Dream Stealers: Don't let anyone steal your dreams. They try to steal yours because they're jealous of you and they don't have any of their own! Shut them out of your life and lock the door!
What thy brethren think of thee mattereth naught!
Friends: Only hang out with winners. People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it!
If you have negative friends, don't let them influence you. It's fine to commiserate, but don't "dwell!" Learn from them. They are teaching the lessons of how destructive, and unproductive, negativity can be. Besides, it takes much more energy to be negative than to be positive. Think about it. To be down, or stay down, you really have to work at it.
You're the one living with Passion. No wonder they're jealous. You're excelling! They're just existing.
Hey, you are an entrepreneur running your company, so dump the de-motivators! It's time for a fundamental re-think!
This "e- thing" is transforming history. It's rewriting the way we live, think, work and learn. We're no longer selling goods. We're selling dreams and making memories for one of the most important aspects of every consumer's life - their home! You are no longer part of the product ~ You are the product. Tom Peters calls it, "Brand You." He's right!
So now let's take a few minutes and dust off that mirror that you see yourself in every morning. You see a professional, right? A person who knows his or her stuff! Sales consultants are always selling themselves short. They know that they are not clerks, they know that they are professionals. They just forget to tell "Ethel." Remember she doesn't know you and won't get that important information through osmosis. She thinks you are like every other clerk that she has met. No way it's her lucky day! Not only is your "glowing" important, so is your "knowing" ~ that you are the best professional to assist her. People react to what you reflect.
Dust off your dictionary, too. What you say speaks volumes about you, your expertise, and defines who you are. In one of my recent seminars, salespeople were asked to write a 30-second commercial promoting themselves and their company, "Me, Inc." Now, it's your turn. Come on, sharpen those pencils!
Since you're in a creative mood, select a theme song, too (no, I have never seen Ally McBeal). Anyway choose a song, write a motto, and select a mascot! Do you need to do this? You bet! Have fun with it. In addition to retail, you are also in marketing. The marketing and promoting of you and your company. Your message should ring forth loud, and clear.
Thou Shalt Sing Thine Own Praises All The Days Of Thy Life
Next, let's move to your desk. Ah, ha! There it is. You will now pitch all those papers. You will now start to put into practice the P's of time management.
Parkinson's Law ~ Parkinson stated that work expands to fill the time available to accomplish it. If you give yourself two weeks, you'll take two weeks. If all you have is four days, you put yourself in high gear and finish with two minutes to spare! I believe that Parkinson was not only referring to time, but space as well. The more room we have to "spread," the more we branch out.
Planning ~ Time management expert Alan Lakein states, "Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail." You need a workable, flexible plan. What did the rabbit say in Alice in Wonderland, "If you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter where you end up!" People spend more time planning their summer vacations then the rest of their life. How scary is this?
Pareto's Principle ~ This is also called the 80-20 rule. It's very likely that 80% of your effectiveness comes from 20% of your activity. The crucial part here is to figure out which 20%.
Pace ~ Eliminate some of the Pressure. Start the project now. Don't Procrastinate. It's the putting off, and putting up with, that drives you nuts. Pace yourself. Slow down. There is a quote by Brian Luke Seaward, "Wisdom reminds us to stop and smell the roses, not eat them." In our fast paced society, it is very hard. We live in the age of speed. Try to remember that you have to "slow down to show up."
Priorities ~ Before you do anything, get your priorities straight. Remember: It's only a sofa. We are not working on cures for medical research, or writing treaties for a world peace alliance. It's a sofa! Keep this in perspective. Make sure that "Ethel" understands this premise as well when she is agonizing over the choice between the blue and the green one. Tell her to pick one (Don't laugh!). It jolts her back to reality. She gets her priorities straight and she picks one!
Prioritize ~ This is possibly the easiest way to manage time. Make a "To Do" list and then go back over it. The items that must be accomplished now or yesterday are assigned "A's." If it's not urgent, it is given a "B" status. "C's" are the categories that must be accomplished, but not in the next 48 hours! Learn the difference between "urgent" and "important."
PRIORITIZE YOUR PRIORITIES
Don't make other people's demands rob you of your time. They are "time bandits." That is one of the many reasons why it is so important to let your clients know how you work. They'll abuse you and your time if you let them. You must be in control of the clock and the selling situation. You know the rules. One of the things you are selling is your time. The more importance you put on your time, the more your client will value it.
Thou Hast Permission At All Times To Say NO, To Change Thy Mind, And To Express Thy True Feelings
Okay, man your battle stations. We are now gathering all of our weapons to confront our most formidable foe in our cleaning war. The follow-up file box. It's time to merge, splurge, and purge!
Merge ~ You sold her a sofa. Now let's do her room. You did her room. Now after sofa, after room, it's time to help her with her home. Help her get what she wants. She bought you, already, so don't send her all over town to finish this project. Dig her name out of your file box (if you haven't, already) and follow-up so that you can merge "Ethel's" needs with the products and services of your company
Splurge ~ You splurge after you finish the room for "Dorothy & Sam" by asking them to recommend you. I call this splurging because I'm going all-out. I am gathering all my courage and fortitude, and not choking in the process. I learned very early that getting a referral is just like closing. If you don't ask, you don't get. I also learned that once you ask, your customers will be more than happy to tell friends and relatives about you. Turn your clients into your salesforce. Let them market you.
Purge ~ If you live in Pittsburgh, and you have not talked to that old client in three years, they probably moved to Chicago. You have my permission to pitch that card. My dad always taught me, to never throw out anything. He said that if you have to throw it out, burn it. If you're going to burn it, then save the ashes. Think long, and hard before you pitch, purge, or dispose of client records.
Until you splurge, merge, and purge, you can't get organized. You can't be more productive. You can't take your company to the next level! You can't excel!
Remember the one key ingredient, next to cleanliness is to play. Have fun, it's only a sofa!
Wherever Thou Art, Therein Also Lies The Party!
I attended a seminar last year and found a great T-shirt that said, "The truly educated never graduate!"
It's easy to learn, to grow and to pass all those pop quizzes life throws at you when you live with passion.
It all starts with you. Are you existing or excelling. Clean house! Don't let anyone or anything mess with you.
Sting is right ~ "It IS a Brand New Day!"
All commandments (highlighted) are taken from, "The Ten Commandments of Self-Esteem," by Catherine Cardinal, Ph.D.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathy Finney, effervescent sales educator, motivator and management consultant was a longtime contributing editor to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine. Cathy helped retail furniture store sales and design associates to turn customers (she called them Fred and Ethel) into clients. An enthusiastic mentor and friend to up-and-coming salespeople, she told them to remember that they are skilled professionals and that “Ethel” needs them to get the best possible result for her room or project.
Finney got her start in the furniture business with Ethan Allen where she worked closely with Furniture Hall of Fame member Nathan Ancell. Her company, Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T" resulted from that close relationship. She passed away at 59 years of age after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. For more information about Cathy and here work email email@example.com.
Read other articles by Cathy Finney