Furniture World Articles by
Success at retail still comes down to what happens between one salesperson and one customer.
This article is for those of you in traditional relationships who are running things in the retail furniture business.
Hint: It’s not furniture!
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.
The secret to selling more, earning more and improving lives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An innovative group of smart people have developed an iPhone app called Furniture View® that allows phone users capture images of items in stores and project them into photographic images of their rooms, helping to answer the question “How will this look in my room?”
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.
Systems most furniture stores put in place to implement a customer focused sales strategy are being subverted and hijacked by salespeople. When this scenario plays out in your store, your selling strategy and training programs that aim at having salespeople establish strong relationships with customers are sabotaged.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The right way to connect to potential customers, whether through advertising or in person, is to tell the customer’s story. Now, you’re probably wondering, “How can I tell the customer’s story? Here’s how.
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.
A commitment to change is necessary for home furnishings retailers that hope to relate to consumers in the post recession period.
You don’t want to have just an informational website that looks and acts like an electronically expanded yellow pages ad.
Is your website an extension of your store? If so, you’re doing it backwards.
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.
Furniture World Contributing Editor Joe Capillo reviews research studies that looked into what home furnishings customers really want.
Suggestions for actions you can take right now to improve performance. Prepare for the new retail reality that will emerge as the economy heals from this deep recessionary funk.
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.
In times like these, retailers need to hone cash management skills, buy smarter and sell better.
Sometimes furniture store owners say and do things that defy reason. Three examples.... more to come.
Here are some suggestions for staying alive, and maybe even doing better, in these tough times.
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.
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.
A formal customer engagement strategy helps salespeople produce sales from those customers who should buy from you, but don’t.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
Sales people need to manage themselves. They should develop and then implement productive sales systems to achieve maximum results.
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.
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.
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.
Now, there appears to be a new awareness among furniture retailers of the importance of furnishing new rooms vs. just selling new products.
First find the right people, set performance standards, compensation methods, goal management and accountability. Then teach them how you do business.
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.
This final article in a series offers more advice on making continuous sales performance improvement a reality for your store by using metrics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Joe Capillo continues his series on sales management with a look at how to develop achievable sales goals.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
Probably the most important question not being asked by people in our industry, particularly retailers is, what is going to be the impact of the internet on furniture retailing? Most retailers think the that E-tailing on the web is all about price. Furniture.com is taking steps to make selling furniture on the internet all about customer service.
One of the most difficult issues now facing family-owned home furnishings businesses is succession. The challenge facing these companies is how to turn the business over to the next generation with a minimum of family stress and maximum financial security for everyone involved.
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.
Everyone has heard of families divided and thrown into dysfunction and resentment by the stress resulting from low trust and respect. How can these problems be avoided or resolved?
Probably the most destructive outcome of micro-management is that it stifles individual initiatives and innovation and fosters mediocrity. Micro-Monitoring has none of these drawbacks and helps keep furniture retailers on track toward meeting their goals.