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Most Recent furniture industry sales management articles

Retail Phone Talk

Volume 147 NO.4 July/August, Furniture World Magazine

Five steps to help your people develop better phone skills and get rid of phone system features that annoy customers.

Seven "Magic" Traits Of Successful Sales Managers

Volume 147 NO.4 July/August, Furniture World Magazine

The seven traits of the most successful sales performance managers, plus tips on how to develop them.

furniture industry sales management articles

Published 2004 - 2017

Seven "Magic" Traits Of Successful Sales Managers  - 7/7/2017

The seven traits of the most successful sales performance managers, plus tips on how to develop them.  

Retail Phone Talk  - 7/7/2017

Five steps to help your people develop better phone skills and get rid of phone system features that annoy customers.  

Creating a Disney Effect  - 3/29/2017

Seven things Disney does to get people to happily open their wallets that are instructive for home furnishings retailers.  

Empower Your Sales Team  - 12/28/2016

Mobile analytics can prevent common causes of shopper anger & disappointment.  

Why You Need In-Store Wi-Fi In 2017  - 11/29/2016

Offering your customers a Wi-Fi connection is no longer considered a luxury, it’s a necessity in 2017.  

People Management Challenge 2017  - 11/29/2016

Traditional layers of management are focusing more on task-accomplishment rather than people-management.  

Sales Management: One on One  - 9/30/2016

Success at retail still comes down to what happens between one salesperson and one customer.  

Price Right!  - 6/2/2016

Earning the right to sell more at higher prices is the way the best retailers generate sustained profits and cash flow.  

A Store Design That Sells  - 3/25/2016

Sleep Simple store design boosts sales for Vermont retailer.  

Advancing Women in 2016  - 1/4/2016

Mattress Firm’s Abby Ludens outlines a program for hiring and advancing women in home furnishings organizations.  

Deceptive Pricing  - 1/4/2016

What to do if your competitor deceptively prices their products?  

Best Practices for Employee Retention  - 11/27/2015

You pay your employees, but do you need to show them that you appreciate them as well? René Johnston-Gingrich cites current research that will help you to maintain a healthy organizational culture.  

Retail Enterprise Thinking  - 9/28/2015

Enterprise thinking is your key to superlative leadership many retail home furnishings stores lack  

The Decision To Buy New Furniture  - 9/28/2015

This article is for those of you in traditional relationships who are running things in the retail furniture business.  

First Exchange At RetaiL  - 7/17/2015

Prospects may be the most overlooked people in your furniture business. Here’s what to do about it.  

EDITOR'S CORNER  - 7/17/2015

Elevator speeches for rvery sales associate.  

Maximize Return On Your Training Investment  - 7/17/2015

How to best select, design and deliver education programming that will have a significant and lasting impact.  

Rebuying and New Buying: Two Different Mindsets  - 6/9/2015

Executing these activities properly and coordinating them improves sales and profitability.  

Marketing Made In America  - 3/24/2015

Tips from retailers and marketing experts on how to position your company for success if you choose to promote domestically sourced furniture.  

Helping Before Selling  - 3/24/2015

Part 1: Free yourself from a “churn and burn” attitude that ignores the true value of your customers.  

Give The Lady What She Wants!  - 3/24/2015

Hint: It’s not furniture!  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Should You Draw A Line In The Sand?  - 12/30/2014

How one mattress retailer decided to stop selling lower priced mattresses that accounted for 20 percent of its sales, and why.  

The Sorry Truth About Training  - 12/30/2014

Nothing much will change for the majority of furniture retailers in 2015. But for those few who do what’s necessary to get to the next level, the sky’s the limit.  

What To Do About Those RSA’s In 2015  - 11/21/2014

Tips on how to find, hire, evaluate and compensate what could be your most important assets.  

How Much Is Too Much Busy-Ness  - 9/29/2014

There are quite a few four-letter words that might offend. Perhaps one of the most surprisingly offensive and counterproductive four-letter word is BUSY.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: A Bed Seller’s Guide To Customer Service  - 9/29/2014

What policies should you set to respond intelligently to a customer’s (buyer’s) after-the-sale enquiries or complaints?  

Getting Beyond Your Numbers  - 7/9/2014

The secret to selling more, earning more and improving lives.  

Open This Box If You Dare!  - 5/22/2014

Four out-of-the-box ideas for retailers who do the same things year after year.  

Managing Change: 2+2=5  - 5/22/2014

How to tell your staff that you plan to do things differently, and motivate them to do it your way!  

Managing Change: Eight Reasons Why Change Initiatives Fail  - 5/22/2014

There are eight main reasons why 90 percent of companies, large and small, fail at bringing new ideas to their businesses. Here’s what you can do to improve your odds of success.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales: Control Every Mattress Sale!  - 3/17/2014

The final outcome of the mattress sales process depends almost entirely on whether the RSA keeps control or gives up control to the customer. Here’s how to stay in control.  

Retail: Also A Game of Failure?  - 3/17/2014

Moving from failing 80% of the time to only 70% of the time, your sales volume goes up by 50%. It’s a lot like Baseball in terms of hitting and coaching.  

Sales Process Engineering 2014 - Part 2  - 3/17/2014

You will never maximize your customer opportunities, your store sales and your profitability without a sales staff that controls the sales interaction from start to finish.  

Connecting Through Rooms & Goals  - 1/3/2014

Before salespeople can effectively address shopper’s needs and motivations, managers must work to establish a meaningful connection between your salespeople and your store’s stated objectives and mission.  

Sales Process Engineering 2014 - Part 1  - 1/3/2014

Most home sector salespeople are amateurs. For them, selling furniture is like Las Vegas… simply a game of chance. Here’s how you can change all that in your organization.  

Sales Coaching 2014  - 12/13/2013

A detailed explanation of the best sales metrics to follow in 2014. Plus, Hal McClamma explains the best ways to coach your sales team based on this information.  

Dear Furniture Godfather  - 12/10/2013

Readers’ questions answered by the “Teflon Don” of the furniture business. The Furniture Godfather dispenses advice about getting sales associates to show up on time ready to work, how to improve the retail sales process, sell more accessories and achieve a higher percentage of perfect deliveries.  

Play By Play Coaching In Five Steps  - 12/10/2013

Some salespeople close at 30%, and some close at 15%. In most stores there is no plan, no strategic selling system, and no coaching initiative in place to fix this. Joe Capillo suggests a 5-step method to help you coach for success.  

EDITOR’S CORNER: Those Naughty and Nice Emails.  - 12/10/2013

There are cases where strongly worded communications with employees and others are required, but before you press “send”, I suggest the following five steps...  

Sales Metrics Coaching  - 9/30/2013

Most retailers capture dependent sales performance metrics such as sales volume, traffic, average sale, etc., but stand-alone, this data is not very useful. Here’s how to use precedent metrics to really get results.  

Ninety Seconds To Successs Series  - 9/30/2013

Eleven thought-provoking leadership precepts that ensure success.  

Better Bedding & Mattress Sales Series: Shorthanded Again?  - 9/30/2013

Training new-hires, as every small and large store owner knows, is a problem that never ends. This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to structure a program for new hires that will set them up for success and longevity on your sales floor.  

Should We Meet?  - 9/30/2013

Seven important meeting types that set the stage for retail success.  

Editor's Corner July 2013: “Groundhog Day”  - 7/11/2013

Are you a fan of the movie “Groundhog Day”? If so, you may remember the following lines which have implications for furniture retailers... "It's the same thing your whole life, wash your hands, sit up straight, don't chew with your mouth open,... Oh yea, don't drive on the railroad tracks!”  

Are You An Absentee Manager?  - 7/10/2013

You may be an absentee manager if you aren’t connecting with and mentoring your employees in a meaningful way. Here are tips for applying participative management techniques.  

Romance & The Big Ticket Sale  - 5/30/2013

A fascinating article on how to apply the concepts of romance and love to furniture sales. The article advocates for a profound shift in the attitude of retail salespeople away from a purely profit motive toward a more intense focus on service.  

Drop Those Percentages  - 4/1/2013

Observations on how percentage discounts and some sales goals expressed as a percent may be harmful to your furniture business.  

Time To Dump That Loser In 2013  - 1/10/2013

Do you devote precious showroom space and inventory dollars to merchandise that just doesn’t sell? Do you have low performing salespeople who are costing you lost sales every day? If so, here’s what you can do about it.  

Furniture Retail Success Stories Part 17: Crest Furniture  - 1/10/2013

Simon Kaplan, CEO of 14-store Crest Furniture explains his philosophy of continuous improvement based on the teachings of such management and leadership luminaries as W. Edwards Deming, Major Dick Winters and Lao Tsu.  

The Touchpoint Experience  - 9/25/2012

Multi-touchpoint analysis leads to a new era of branding.  

Building Your Dream Team - Part 1  - 7/12/2012

This is the first in a series of articles you can use to build a Dream Team from the ground up. This time you will get an overview of the three skills your team has to master to excel at home furnishings sales.  

Ninety Seconds To Success Series: Your Biggest Competitor  - 4/5/2012

"Who is your biggest competitor?" We answer this question and explain why seemingly small things in the “profession of persuasion” make a significant difference.  

Retailer's Stories - Part 11 Hermann Furniture  - 3/20/2012

Part 11: Retailers share interesting stories of growth, hardship and their strategies for success.  

90 seconds to $uccess Series: The Impact Of One More Sale Out Of 20.  - 12/2/2011

Making perseverance and constant improvement our daily motto, achieving one more sale out of 20 can improve a bottom line as much as 44%. Few investments in your time, interest and energy will provide you a greater return.  

The Sales Management Game: Your Next Buyer  - 12/2/2011

The one more customer out of ten you need to improve your sales revenue by 50%, is NOT among the next new first-visit shoppers you bring in.  

We're All Selling The Same Stuff!  - 10/4/2011

Ever notice that furniture retailers seem to all be selling the same stuff? Here are five ways to make this reality less important to your bottom line.  

Furniture Retailers Share Their Stories - Part 8  - 7/12/2011

FURNITURE WORLD’s retail readers share their stories of survival, growth and service. This series that commemorates Furniture World’s 140 year of publishing, continues with interesting stories from retailers Longs Bedding & Interiors, Verbargs Furniture and Design and Home Furniture.  

Setting Minimum Standards for Sales Performance  - 5/30/2011

Why is everything you ever thought about commissions, and the things that motivate salespeople to perform, probably wrong? Poor performing salespeople don’t need disciplinary actions or warnings, they need help, and they need coaching. To coach you have to have a game plan, a strategy, a plan, just like sports teams have.  

Case Study: Cost Of Not Managing Sales Performance  - 3/15/2011

If you title your sales manager a “Store Manager” you’re making a mistake. The store doesn’t need a manager. The salespeople need a leader. They need a coach. They need a teacher, a guide, a caring mentor, a person who knows stuff and can help them. Look at this real-life example to understand why.  

Retail Break Even Analysis  - 3/15/2011

This article will demonstrate how to calculate your break-even point of sales. It also provides real world examples of ways smart retailers can reduce their break-even points and level of risk.  

Furniture Retailers Share Their Stories - Part 6  - 3/15/2011

FURNITURE WORLD’s retail home furnishings store readers share their stories of survival, growth and service. This series that commemorates Furniture World’s 140 year of publishing continues with interesting stories from City Furniture, Gabberts Furniture and Furnitureland South.  

Nine Lessons On The Proper Use Of Retail Authority  - 1/5/2011

Retail furniture leaders wield authority and must submit to it as well. Here’s how to do both in a way that accomplishes key goals.  

Six Ways To Improve The Customer Experience  - 11/24/2010

Store traffic around the country is down, and for many salespeople, earnings have dropped as well. This has resulted in a palpable sense of low or negative energy on many furniture sales floors that can be felt by customers. Here are six tips that can help you to turn this situation around.  

Pay For Performance!  - 11/24/2010

A prime reason why top performing companies out perform their average performing peers is because they pay people extra when they perform better. Here is how to go about taking this path to success.  

Let’s Simplify Your Furniture Inventory - Part 2  - 9/22/2010

This article is about selling more inventory and improving inventory buying. David McMahon presents a coordinated approach to age your inventory, mark it down and provide sales compensation incentives to improve profitability.  

Trial Closing: The Art of Getting to YES!  - 9/22/2010

Trial closing questions ask for an opinion. Closing questions ask for a decision.The benefit of trial closing is that it helps you to get to a favorable decision at the end, by encouraging lots of small yeses along the way. Plus, you can check on the customer’s level of approval of the things you’re showing.  

I’m Just Looking... For Ideas!  - 7/9/2010

Research shows that many customers are really just looking for ideas towards the beginning of the shopping process. Trying to close them before they are ready can, therefore, contribute to overall low closing rates. Instead, work to get them back for a second visit.  

A Theory Of How Women Buy Furniture  - 6/7/2010

Most furniture retailers focus on selling features and what we call “benefits”, and leave the customers to choose the things she likes best or that she believes best fit her needs. This has little to do with how most women want to shop for furniture and accounts for the 20-30% close rates in our stores.  

Hiring Digital Retail Furniture Employees  - 6/7/2010

People have changed, consumption has changed, technology has changed, but - most importantly - what is cool has changed. So, have you changed? Tomorrow’s leading companies are changing hiring criteria and measurements of performance.  

Special Anniversary Issue: Big time Bling - 1950s Furniture Design & Color  - 4/6/2010

Style and color expert Stephen Bernasconi looks at how furniture styles and colors are determined by the social and economic conditions under which we live.  

Special Anniversary Issue: Retailers 25-165 Years Old Share Their Stories - Part 1  - 4/6/2010

Some of the best home furnishings retailers share their stories of survival, growth and service with FURNITURE WORLD readers. Due to overwhelming response from our retail readers, this will be the first installment of a multi-part series.  

Turn Furniture Supervisors Into Retail Leaders  - 1/19/2010

The best retailers teach their managers to work with subordinates in ways that help employees to feel good about their jobs. Skills that allow managers to accomplish this important objective can be divided into two categories. The first category is designed to maintain and enhance performance. The second is designed to encourage employees to change unacceptable performance.  

Six Steps to Juggle Aggressive Sales Goals  - 1/19/2010

If you can create a goal achievement culture in your sales department, you can structure information gathering, strategic sales process development, salesperson training, management training, and performance coaching in a seamless way to achieve your most aggressive revenue goals.  

Confessions Of A Family Furniture Store Owner  - 10/4/2009

As a leader of the organization, regardless of the title you choose, you have a responsibility to decide on a plan and chart a course to achieve your business dreams. David Lively presents a fictional story with which many FURNITURE WORLD readers will identify.  

Retail Life- How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It  - 10/4/2009

This article is excerpted from Michael Green’s new book, “Retail LIfe”, published by FURNITURE WORLD Magazine. Michael Greene also known in the industry as “Grandpa Mike-e-e” is the iconic 88 year old furniture retailer, author, composer, lyricist & industry newspaper columnist.  

What To Do Now About Generating Furniture Sales  - 8/19/2009

A commitment to change is necessary for home furnishings retailers that hope to relate to consumers in the post recession period.  

Can You Embrace Meaningful Change?  - 6/12/2009

When you do it right, the effort to embrace continuous improvement is worth it. Your company will be transformed from one where mediocrity is the norm, to one where high performance is valued and craved by everyone.  

Research Study: What Will The Furniture Business Look Like Post Recession?  - 6/11/2009

Part 1: Research identifies three trends that were transforming the luxury home furnishings market - even before the recession hit. Researcher Pamela Danziger looks at data from Unity Marketing's Home Furnishings & Décor Report and more recent tracking studies. In the August/September issue of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine she will translate the data into information that furniture executives can use to find a pathway to future success.  

Harness The Power Of e-Marketing - Part 2  - 4/6/2009

Old media techniques broadcast a campaign that is the same for everyone. Here’s how to target specific groups with messages they want to see, when they want to see them.  

Ascendency Of The Transactional Shopper  - 1/14/2009

There are two broad “types” of shoppers; transactional and relational. Most are not all one way or the other, but you’ll see a mix of these two shopping motivations in your customers that can help you to work with them appropriately.  

You Can Harness The Power of e-Marketing  - 1/14/2009

New media is uncharted territory for many furniture retailers, but with a bit of knowledge you can be one of the first in our industry to do it right.  

13 Ways To Survive In Very Dry Times  - 11/19/2008

In times like these, retailers need to hone cash management skills, buy smarter and sell better.  

What Are They Thinking, Those Crazy Store Owners  - 9/11/2008

Sometimes furniture store owners say and do things that defy reason. Three examples.... more to come.  

Staying Alive During Tough Times - Part 6  - 7/14/2008

Here are some suggestions for staying alive, and maybe even doing better, in these tough times.  

Don’t Annoy Customers With Poor Follow-up Calls!  - 3/10/2008

Although follow-up is the way to get be-back customers, when improperly executed, follow-up calls can be counterproductive. For mega-retailers, bad follow-up can work just enough times to keep them doing it, but for everyone else, it just doesn’t make sense.  

Staying Alive During Tough Times - Part 5  - 1/7/2008

Even with a great strategy and professional players, without a coaching staff who observe, adjust, consult with individual players, and perform ongoing training, and who measure everything, the results will not be good.  

Staying Alive During Slow Times- Part 4  - 9/14/2007

A formal customer engagement strategy helps salespeople produce sales from those customers who should buy from you, but don’t.  

Staying Alive During Tough Times - Part 3  - 7/27/2007

Joe Capillo explains how the most effective and productive salespeople can return 30% or more of monthly Ups as be-backs. Why is it important to have a system to encourage this? Because these customers are 40% more likely to buy.  

Revisiting Management By Walking Around  - 7/17/2007

Is Management by Walking Around still relevant for retail furniture stores in a cyber-based culture?  

Staying Alive During Slow Times - Part 2  - 5/11/2007

Consumer research suggests that furniture retailers need to have a strategy to stay connected to customers throughout each of the five stages of the home furnishings purchasing process. Most stores fall down right at the beginning “planning” stage because that’s where consumers need more help than most furniture stores are set up to provide.  

Double Your Store Traffic - Part 4 Lead Capture  - 5/11/2007

How many people call your store? How many come in the store but don’t buy. How many visitors do you get on your website? Here are surefire ways to collect information on every potential customer that calls, visits your website or walks into your store.  

Staying Alive During Tough Times -Part 1  - 3/7/2007

Everyone is a genius in great times. What is your plan to survive, say, a 20% reduction in traffic?  

Double Your Store Traffic - Part 2  - 3/6/2007

Your customers want to know what is unique about your store and why they should buy from you... and it’s not cheap prices! That’s why it is time to develop and formalize Unique Selling Propositions you can use to attract your important target customer groups.  

Easy To Keep Metrics Avoid Wasted Ad Dollars  - 12/11/2006

Track your advertising cost per opportunity to make more effective advertising decisions and leverage better media buys.  

Building Personal Clientele  - 12/7/2006

Developing a client base, and keeping it active and up-to-date is the one, key activity that can help our salespeople to earn higher incomes. That’s why it is imperative for retail managers and salespeople to take responsibility for pursuing a one-to-one marketing strategy.  

Sales Behaviors: How Do You Stack Up?  - 10/2/2006

Survey of how well retail sales associates greet and engage customers sheds light on the need for improvement. Compare your performance with other furniture retailers and the retail sector in general.  

Valuing vs. Evaluating Your Employees  - 10/2/2006

Dr. Peter Marino looks at research that shows a huge gap between what retail owners and managers think is most important to employees, and what employees say is most important to them.  

Time Management For Retail Sales Professionals  - 8/8/2006

If your salespeople just try to do their best everyday, but feel that they don’t have control over their schedule or their UP’S, then you need to read this article. Cathy Finney presents ways to stop wasting time and instead, plan each day for sales success.  

Get Those Profitable Be-Backs Back!  - 6/6/2006

If you are like most furniture retailers, Be-Back customers are closed at a 60% rate, while first-time customers close at far below 20%. Joe Capillo looks at ways to concentrate your efforts on getting Be-Backs back!  

Being Held Hostage By Your Repair People?  - 4/17/2006

Store owners are losing control of their repair departments. Easily fixable imported goods are going to clearance or being written off as junk. It’s a problem that negatively impacts profitability and customer satisfaction.  

Downside Of Experienced Salespeople  - 4/17/2006

Salespeople have a hard time changing their thinking, let alone their behavior. This has caused more underperformance in retail furniture stores than any other factor except understaffing. So what’s a manager to do?  

Time To Teach The Sales Success Equation  - 12/13/2005

The things we teach our new salespeople often have nothing to do with what it takes to be successful. Joe Capillo looks at the most basic equation that includes the variables of UPs, average sale and close ratio.  

Improving Employee Performance - Part 2  - 10/5/2005

Once you’ve found the factors affecting employee productivity in your organization that need improvement, you are ready to make performance improvement a reality.  

Great Sales Managers Don't Manage Salespeople!  - 10/5/2005

Sales people need to manage themselves. They should develop and then implement productive sales systems to achieve maximum results.  

Abuse of Power : Cautionary Retail Tale  - 10/5/2005

How to avoid the pitfalls of abuse of rank and its results; poor customer service and reduced productivity.  

Who Dreams Of Earning $50,000 Selling Furniture? -Part 2  - 8/11/2005

Let’s look at salespeople this time. Or, rather, let’s look at what we expect of our salespeople, how we hire them, train them to do what we expect of them, and how much we pay them to do it.  

Benchmark Factors That Affect Employee Performance  - 8/10/2005

Obtaining optimum performance from workers is one of the most urgent issues facing retail furniture stores. This series of articles gives an overview of a technique that allows retail managers to measure and then direct job performance enhancement.  

Variable Rate Commissions - Part 2  - 6/8/2005

A variable commission system can increase store margins and increase your sales associates’ income. This article explains how to design a system that will boost profits and be accepted by your sales associates.  

Pre-Employment Testing  - 6/8/2005

Pre-employment testing is being used by more retailers these days. There are hundreds of tests on the market and each one addresses a different combination of skills and traits. The right test depends on the position for which you are hiring, the skills you consider most important, and the characteristics that are relevant to the job and your work culture.  

Who Dreams Of Earning $50,000 Selling Furniture? - Part 1  - 6/8/2005

Adam hoped to earn as much as $50,000, but store traffic and staffing levels would provide him with about 150 customers per month. At the store’s average close ratio of 21%, and average sale of $1,100 he'd likely earn $20,790 - less than he earned at his old job.  

Guide To Optimal Sales Staffing - Part 3  - 4/7/2005

Getting started as a new salesperson in our business is a slow process. Often stores send newly hired associates out on the floor with very little preparation. Joe Capillo provides FW readers with a detailed orientation and training plan that cuts attrition rates and boosts early productivity.  

Variable Rate Commissions & Discounting  - 2/8/2005

Here is a way to maximize sales and gross margin without substantially increasing expenses.  

Sales Staffing Part 2  - 12/20/2004

First find the right people, set performance standards, compensation methods, goal management and accountability. Then teach them how you do business.  

Your Optimal Sales Staffing Levels  - 10/5/2004

Virtually all stores are understaffed to some degree and this article will explain how you can determine optimal staffing levels to make sure you don’t lose sales and negatively impact your profitability.  

Understanding Sales Metrics - Part 4  - 8/10/2004

This final article in a series offers more advice on making continuous sales performance improvement a reality for your store by using metrics.  

Understanding Sales Performance Metrics - Part 3  - 6/26/2004

This four part series continues with a discussion of additional sales metrics and begins to outline a system for using metrics to improve sales team performance over time.  

Building Accountability For Performance  - 6/25/2004

One of the most difficult management issues for small business owners and managers is the principle of accountability for performance. In most stores this one issue is the root cause of lower than possible performance in all business areas. The process must start by linking bottom line financial numbers with individual job performance.  

Is Your Sales Manager Filing Or Coaching?  - 6/25/2004

If your sales manager is tagging the floor, handling customer service calls, calculating discounts for customers to help salespeople close sales, handling display issues, reviewing sales orders, filling out or filing reports, or doing everything except managing and coaching performance, you need to seriously reconsider how you have defined the role.  

Herd Mentality & The Sales Floor  - 6/25/2004

A kind of herd mentality exists on the sales floors of furniture stores. If managers falter, then the herd will pick another “alpha’ animal to lead. Joe Capillo looks at specific ways that owners and sales mangers can keep control of their sales floors.  

Winning Bragging Rights: Keeping Good Salespeople Working For You  - 6/25/2004

Continued from the April issue of FURNITURE WORLD, is Peter A. Marino's series on how to keep those successful salespeople upbeat and working for you instead of your competitors.  

Best Ways To Reward Salespeople  - 6/25/2004

Continued from the June issue of FURNITURE WORLD, is Peter A. Marino's final article in his series on Keeping Good Salespeople. This month Dr. Marino looks at incentive plans and why Spiffs and incentives often undermine the process they are designed to enhance.  

Simple Ways To Handle Complaining Customers  - 6/25/2004

Studies have shown that customers whose complaints are handled well are often more loyal to a company than those customers who have never had a problem at all.  

Numbers Game - Part 2 - Is Your Best Salesperson Really Best?  - 6/25/2004

This article by John Egger (Winning The Numbers Game) will look at the reasons why it is important to know the distribution of UPs, the spread in closing ratios and the spread in average sale among salespeople.  

Weed Out Those Bad Apples At The Interview  - 6/25/2004

Have you ever interviewed a seemingly superior sales consultant only to find out when she shows up for work that there has been a terrible mistake? Cathy Finney provides step-by-step instructions on how to make sure that job candidates have the will, the drive and the understanding needed to become a productive part of your sales team.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 7 - Classified Ads  - 6/25/2004

It seems that it will continue to be a tight labor market for furniture retailers in 2001. That means that you have to have a recruitment program in place. Everyone uses classified ads... and the response can be discouraging. Here are ways to make the most of your classified budget.  

Confronting The Challenge Of Management  - 6/25/2004

Cathy Finney looks at some of the challenges of being a retail manager including: how and when to get rid of poor performers; strategies for teaching people how to solve problems themselves; how often to hold sales meetings; and how to honor and encourage good performance.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 2 - Recruiting  - 6/25/2004

Many retailers are working short-staffed. They say that everybody who's any good has a job, and nobody wants to work retail. But there's another reason why most stores don't have enough people, especially salespeople, to adequately service their shoppers and customers. The truth is that most retailers treat recruiting like a trip to the dentist. They don't want to go there.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 6 - They're Almost Acceptable  - 6/25/2004

The sixth part in Sam Leder's series on hiring and keeping the best people continues with a look at ways to avoid hiring salespeople who are "almost right". These are the ones you hire because of an immediate need and who you hope will "fit-in" with time.  

Mission Statement Possible  - 6/25/2004

Goals and the system for developing, managing and tracking them when tied to clear and understandable living missions can begin to drive your company toward the liberation from reactively dealing with urgent issues.  

Sales Manager's Role In Developing Achievable Sales Goals - Part 1  - 6/25/2004

While most salespeople have individual income goals, they lack any structured, organized way of achieving them. The sales manager is the person who must orchestrate and manage the process of goal setting and goal achievement.  

Recruiting, Hiring And Retaining Good Salespeople  - 6/25/2004

Recruiting should be viewed as an everyday part of working for your company. If you wait until you have an opening before you start looking, you are drawing most of your applicants from the ranks of the unemployed... who many not the best people for your organization.  

Finding Better Salespeople  - 6/25/2004

40% of college graduates start in jobs they're satisfied with at $25,000 to $35,000, and 10% more start at twice that. Most can avoid working weekends and holidays. Many can expect to advance in their professions while drawing a predictably increasing salary. Given the fact that successful retail salespeople need to have many talents and ccomplishments, how can furniture stores expect to attract the people who can do the best possible job?  

Multiple Entrances Can Ruin Your UP System  - 6/25/2004

Many retail managers who are having difficulty implementing their customer driven UP system or are unable to hold their salespeople accountable for the closing rate in their stores can solve both of these problems by changing the way customers enter their stores.  

Keeping In Touch With Your Sales  - 6/25/2004

Many owners allow themselves to become disconnected from key sales performance indicators that can forecast sales declines. Ted Shepherd gives step by step instructions for avoiding this situation.  

Do You Really Need Your Sales Manager?  - 6/25/2004

Many mid to high volume store owners are determined to hold on to their sales management duties. Their reasons are varied, but the result is always the same... sub optimal sales performance. Ted Shepherd takes a close look at this pervasive retail problem. Included is a complete list of sales management duties which you will want to use and keep.  

The Understaffing Crisis At Retail  - 6/25/2004

Understaffing at retail furniture stores is an alarming recent trend. If we want our sales people to increase the number and amount of furniture purchases, they need to be able to spend more time with customers. If, however, we do not maintain adequate staffing levels, these new selling skills are always the first thing to go.  

Are Your Salespeople Selling Customers Or Developing Clients?  - 6/25/2004

Many owners and sales managers are so busy handling other aspects of their jobs, that client development isn't a priority. Ted Shepherd explains the most troublesome roadblocks that prevent salespeople from developing clients and illustrates how to overcome them.  

Feedback Feeds Performance  - 6/25/2004

Salesperson feedback is a critical factor in determining both the success of your sales people and the effectiveness of your sales manager. If you have been reading this series of articles on sales management for the last 10 months, you will recognize this as the next logical step in sales management.  

Sales Management: What Should Happen Behind Closed Doors?  - 6/25/2004

The one-on-one meeting between sales manager and salesperson is an indispensable component of the sales management process. Last month's article looked at the one-on-one meeting as a venue to provide performance feedback to salespeople. This month we will delve deeper into the these meetings to give you some additional insight into what should happen behind closed doors.  

Recruiting: Are Your Salespeople Holding You Hostage?  - 6/25/2004

Recruiting should not be an event driven by circumstances outside of an owners control, like a sudden departure or the need for additional staff, but rather an on-going part of daily sales management and customer concern. Unfortunately, few store owners understand the significance of this sales management activity.  

Sales Floor Staffing Formulas  - 6/25/2004

Many retailers are overstaffed on weekdays and understaffed on weekends... their best salespeople resist helping to train new sales staff. and customers are getting uneven levels of customer service. Ted Shepherd looks at these problems and presents formulas which can help you adequately service your customers' needs, address your sales staffs' earnings requirements and meet your sales goals.  

Sales Measurement Techniques  - 6/25/2004

The vast majority of retailers use sales tracking methods which instead of motivating, act as a subtle form of punishment. This first article in a series by Ted Shepherd looks at ways store management can collect data, calculate performance indicators, interpret data, give feedback and get results.  

Employee Discipline - Negative Feedback  - 6/25/2004

Noted executive trainer Laura Laaman shows how you can give negative feedback to your employees and achieve positive results.  

Customer Service Surveys  - 6/25/2004

The goal of a progressive company must be to exceed it's customer's expectations! This means pleasantly surprising your customers- even dazzling them! But before you can do this you have to know what your customers want.  

Sales Follow-up Systems Help Close The Sale  - 6/25/2004

Even if you don't have a high tech computer software system to track customers who buy and also those who leave your store without buying today, you can still have your salespeople effectively capture names and follow-up to get them back in to close the sale.  

Sales Quotas: For Whose Benefit?  - 6/25/2004

Continued from the May issue of FURNITURE WORLD, is Peter A. Marino's series on Keeping Good Salespeople.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 4 -Care And Feeding Of Good Managers  - 6/25/2004

Nobody in a retail organization has a stronger impact on success or the lack thereof, than a manager. In the store or the warehouse, the right manager can transform a dull, drab workplace into a vibrant one where people are excited about their work.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 5 -Employee Termination  - 6/25/2004

Of all the responsibilities that business owners and managers have, none is likely to be more distasteful and distressing than having to fire someone. To do it right, communication and documentation are essential.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 3 - Big Sales Help Shortage  - 6/25/2004

There is intense competition from within and outside of the home furnishings industry, to attract and keep good employees. In this environment where employees can afford to be picky, you need to "sell" your company to potential hires. Sam Leder presents some easy rules for conducting interviews and making job offers in his continuing series.  

Customer Service Equals Customer Retention  - 6/25/2004

at two recent encounters he had with companies that really messed up! He explains why he will never return to one store because of their uncaring attitude. The other, however, got him to change his mind.  

What Salespeople Need To Know About Your Profits  - 6/25/2004

Ask a sales associate how much profit an average furniture store makes. Most will guess in the neighborhood of fifty percent. Larry Mullins explains why this impression, that is also shared by your customers, can sabotage your sales and marketing efforts.  

The Role Of Vision In Togal Customer Service  - 6/25/2004

Total customer service requires that an organization have more than a sense of goal. It requires that it have a sense of vision as well. The reason why organizations need to have a sense of vision is that total customer service is not a final destination. It is an endless journey.  

Sales Manager Compensation  - 6/25/2004

How do you know that your sales manager is doing a good job? If he or she is, how do you know that you're compensating him or her adequately? Ted Shepherd looks at why many compensation plans based on total sales volume end up rewarding sales managers improperly... causing bad feelings on the part of both owners and sales managers.  

Why Every Store Should Have A Customer Driven UP System  - 6/25/2004

If you have a customer-driven store, or are moving in that direction... even if you are high-end and low volume, having a well designed and implemented UPs system can make or break you.  

Do Salespeople Own Your Customers Or Do Customers Own Your Salespeople?  - 6/25/2004

Do your salespeople own their customers or do customers own your salespeople? This is one of the most controversial issues in retail sales today. Stores that allow salespeople to 'own' customers (that they have served or seen on previous store visits), take away important customer rights and help to encourage employee back-biting and in-fighting.  

Guidelines For Weekly Store Meetings  - 6/25/2004

How important are weekly store meetings? Who should conduct them? Which employees should be included? How can managers assume the three vital roles of organizer, instructor, and facilitator?  

Sales Manager's Role In Developing Achievable Sales Goals - Part 2  - 6/25/2004

Joe Capillo continues his series on sales management with a look at how to develop achievable sales goals.  

Sales Performance Accountability  - 6/25/2004

How many sales dollars do you loose every time your least effective salesperson is UP versus your highest earner? Joe Capillo of Shepherd Management Group explains how you can use a performance index to measure sales performance, motivate salespeople and improve sales per UP.  

Get The Negotiation Monkey Off Your Back!  - 6/25/2004

Price negotiation is a margin eroding practice that is simply not a necessary part of the sales process. There are a number of reasons why stores allow the practice to persist, however, the costs far outweigh the benefits. This article will show you examples of why negotiating is not in your interest as well as present a more attractive alternative solution.  

Does Your Training Strategy Match Your Sales Strategy?  - 6/25/2004

If your sales training programs do not match the reality of day-to-day sales in your store, it may be worse than no training at all. Here are some things you can start or stop doing to improve your training efforts.  

Is Your Business A Team Effort?  - 6/25/2004

Is your team all on the same page singing the same song, or is each department writing their own lyrics. Is the main goal of employees to cover the customer’s needs and expectations or their own butts? Cathy Finney looks at “imagineering” strategies for helping your sales, back office and delivery departments work together to serve your customers and your bottom line.  

Building Customer Relationships  - 6/25/2004

A Customer Relationship Management System is a set of policies and procedures that guide interactions between store staff and customers. It includes an Ups management component, customer sales and service history component, word processing for consumer communications and reporting capability for productivity analysis.  

Disconnected From Your Custumers?  - 6/25/2004

Questions that will help you gauge how disconnected you are from your customers and their needs. So, how do you change things? How do you get closer to your customer's needs and get better at giving her what she wants?  

Dealing With A Salesperson's Very Bad Day  - 6/25/2004

Retail sales people may have bad days, but they should never be allowed to communicate their malaise to rest of your organization, or to your customers. If management has the skills to deal with an employee's bad day, they can also prevent this mood from negatively impacting store operations and store sales.  

Your Most Important Asset - Shared Values  - 6/25/2004

Ted Shepherd looks at why many owners have not been able to transfer the very beliefs that were the foundation of their company to the people responsible for taking the business to the next level; their employees.  

Putting The Motivation Back Into Goal Development  - 6/25/2004

To be highly effective at the goal development process and at their jobs in general, sales managers' actions must communicate and illustrate that their only objective is to help each sales person reach his or her own personal goals.  

The Automated Salesperson  - 6/25/2004

Most salespeople forget about customers right after they leave the store. The solution to this loss of sales are easy to use, interactive systems that remind, coach and train.  

Understanding Sales Performance Metrics - Part 2  - 6/25/2004

The second article in this series takes a detailed look at close ratio and average sale. Joe Capillo explains how you can use these two measures as part of a system to promote continuous sales improvement.  

Understanding Sales Performance Metrics - Part 1  - 6/25/2004

Sales metrics, those calculations we use to measure our effectiveness in dealing with customers, are the most misunderstood and underused measurements in retail furniture stores.  

Get Out Of Your Office Now! - Part 1  - 6/25/2004

Well my friends, it's time to get in the trenches with your troops! The action is on your selling floor, not in your office on your computer screen! Most managers are so busy handling their employees' "monkeys" they can't spend time doing those things that could really make a difference to their bottom line. Here's how you can find every "monkey" a good home.  

Get Out Of Your Office Now! - Part 2  - 6/25/2004

When all the "monkeys" are living with their proper owners, retail managers can actually help their staff to sell, deliver and service more furniture! Here's how.  

Effective Retail Salesperson Compensation Plans  - 6/25/2004

This article reviews several common compensation plans. Although each seems straightforward, a more careful review finds that some plans 'de-motivate' salespeople, overcompensate others and even serve to encourage poor customer service.  

Point Of Consumer Trust  - 6/24/2004

Does the fact that 50% of consumers surveyed prefer to get their information from hang tags or signs mean that they don't trust salespeople? Maybe, but not definitely. Your salespeople can be "points of trust."  

Importance Of Having A Uniform Sales Strategy  - 6/23/2004

Many retailers allow salespeople sell the way they want. This sends the wrong message to customers and adversely impacts sales. Ted Shepherd explains how you can implement a store-wide sales strategy which sends the right message to customers without inhibiting creative selling.  

Sales Force Automation  - 6/23/2004

Are you cutting corners when it comes to consistent and persistent application of your systems? Are you reluctant to automate because your management act isn't together? If you have not automated your customer relations function you ARE leaving money on the table, lots of it.  

Are You Driven By Goals, Or Drifting On Hopes?  - 6/23/2004

Bottom-up goal development, setting personal goals and developing goals for new hires are covered in this important article by Ted Shepherd. Step-by-step calculations make this a valuable reference article.  

Earn 20-50% More And Don’t Work Harder  - 6/22/2004

Your salespeople can earn 20%, 30% or even 50% more without working harder or engaging additional customers. It all starts with how they say hello, how they think about why customers visit your store, and how they can truly help customers to get what they want.  

Customer Relationships - Part 3  - 6/22/2004

In the February/March and April/May issues of FURNITURE WORLD (posted to the Marketing Management Index on furninfo.com), David Middlebrook looked at ways store management can build good customer relationships. This article completes his series by further examining how the best retailers develop relationships with their customers that turn into bottom-line profits.  

Your Customers Don't Care What You Say!  - 6/22/2004

How is it possible that as many as 25% of potential furniture buyers can’t find what they need or want in our stores? Could it be that our customers want different things than we think they want. Could it be that they don’t care about our store layouts, product selections or current sales?  

Advertising Principles -Follow Up After Your Big Event - Part 7  - 6/22/2004

There are two big challenges that can confront the retail furniture organization after a major sales event. The first of these is to deal with the "after sales blues" - an emotional let-down that comes over everyone. Second, the CEO must move quickly to capture the knowledge that has been gained during the event.  

Strategic Thinking For Furniture Retailers  - 6/22/2004

Joe Capillo takes looks at the benefits of taking the time to develop and implement strategic goals. Aspects of this important topic have been developed in the past several issues of FURNITURE WORLD.  

Stoney Creek Furniture: Retailer Profile  - 6/15/2004

Dennis Novosel, President of Stoney Creek Furniture takes you inside his operation so you can see how practices such as intensive employee education and the elimination of traditional commission compensation plans have resulted in better worker morale, higher sales and increased levels of customer satisfaction.  

The Eight Worst Hiring Mistakes  - 6/15/2004

You can avoid much employee turnover by streamlining and organizing your hiring practices. Laura Laaman of Executive Training looks at the problem and the solutions.  

Employer Substance Abuse Policies  - 6/15/2004

What type of training should your managers and first line supervisors receive regarding the administration of your company- wide drug and alcohol abuse policy?  

Avoid The Top Five Management Mistakes  - 6/11/2004

What are the most common mistakes retail store owners make in the home furnishings industry? Joe Capillo takes a close look at each, and explains how the enlightened manager can avoid certain disaster.  

Winning The Numbers Game  - 6/11/2004

The factors most retailers focus on in making strategic decisions are merchandise based. The fallacy in this approach is that merchandise does not sell or buy itself. People sell merchandise and people buy it. John Egger explains how Performance Indicator Numbers (PIN) can help you to respond appropriately to changing market conditions.  

Hiring & Keeping Salespeople - Part 8 - Job Descriptions  - 6/11/2004

Without them you can’t develop effective recruiting, selection, performance appraisal, compensation, and training systems. Simply put, without job descriptions your organization is just not organized!  

It's Time To Prepare Your Organization  - 6/10/2004

Great business leaders have a goal that benefits society and inspires a workforce to do its best. They foster on-the-job growth in self-knowledge, wisdom, and relationships. Finally, they are engaged in creating a product that does more than just generate revenue.  

Leveraging Retail Technology  - 6/10/2004

The time when retail managers could grow their businesses by simply adding more bodies is past. Today, the best retailers leverage the efforts of the people they already employ by using technology.  

The Four C's Of Leadership  - 6/10/2004

Learn how to communicate your vision, boost productivity and lift morale through effective coaching, cooperation, counseling and correction.  

When Credit Is Due (Crediting Your People)  - 6/10/2004

This isn’t an article on the financial management of credit and collections. This month, Peter Marino looks at why giving your people credit for the jobs they do, is an easy and effective way to motivate and keep good employees. This is especially true for jobs outside of the sales department.  

Crisis Of Values At Retail  - 6/10/2004

Leaders have lied to their people, the public, and themselves. But things will turn around. Use this transition period to rebuild... and start by looking at MetaValues™.  

Follow-up Or Fall Down - Part 1  - 6/9/2004

Shy or uneasy about making follow-up calls? Don't like rejection? Here are sure-fire ways to follow-up successfully and consistently.  

Sales By Appointment - The Impossible Dream  - 6/9/2004

The best way to get your "be-back" customers to actually come back and buy from you is to set up specific appointments with them. If you think that this is an impossible dream, check out this article by Cathy Finney.  

Keeping Good Salespeople - Part 4  - 6/9/2004

Continued from the March issue of FURNITURE WORLD is Peter A. Marino's series on how to keep those successful salespeople upbeat and working for you instead of your competitors.  

Thirteen Fatal Sales Errors  - 6/9/2004

A list of common errors made by retail sales people. These include failures to: believe in and sell yourself; encourage customers to have a purchasing plan; use planned selling scripts; practice active listening; and handle 'just looking' customers properly.  

The Before And After Of Customer Service - A Complete Manual  - 6/9/2004

A manual for Retail Salespeople which looks at the principle of preventative selling through a series of role-play examples.  

Sales Mistakes Made In The Name Of Nice - Part 2  - 6/2/2004

Many salespeople just want to be nice. They don’t want their customers to feel that they fit the mold of pushy commissioned salespeople. In doing so, they may fail to meet the needs of their customers and cause them to buy from that pushy salesperson down the street.  

Wonderful Customer Complaints  - 5/22/2004

Studies have shown that customers whose complaints are handled well are often more loyal to a company than those customers who have never had a problem at all.