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Furniture Retail Tip #47 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90... 3 Minute Silly Sales Shpiels?

Furniture World News Desk on 7/14/2012

Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90)

Take a few wanderings any morning this week on the Internet and you will discover warmth and joy that might also be used to provide warmth and joy for your customers.

All you need to do is take a peek at the three minute shticks on YouTube that consist of snippets of once-upon-a-time crooners, wildlife or operas, or, perhaps itty-bitty travelogues, art or ancient history.

You will find segments that appeal to your personal tastes but which you'd never include in your TV wanderings if they lasted any longer.

The point? People will sit still for almost ANYTHING for THREE MINUTES! Even symphony or rhythmic black and white strips on a colorful background like you see these days on a New York subway station wall sketch. It's absolutely amazing!

How can we furniture industry guys and dolls take advantage of these short-term, three-minute phenomena that could end up as an adventure for our customers? Well, I'll tell you.

Most of our retail showrooms, even 30,000-square-foot ones, don't take much time to traipse through. Especially for "just-looking” looker couples. How about inviting them to sit themselves down for three minutes on an eye-catching sofa of yours or on one of your back-supporting dining room armchairs?

How, you ask? By having repeating, three-minute videos snuck in between your other fine piece displays. I said a video, not the day's hit soccer event. I’m suggesting you place a loop of video that’s part of your display, just like the vase you put on the dresser or some other tchotchkes, but more informative.

And what should be on that video? Well maybe a short message from you about the quality of the sofa they are sitting on and why you bought it at the High Point, Las Vegas or even one of those regional Amish furniture shows in Indiana, Ohio or Pennsylvania.

Will a video be disturbing if it features an eager salesperson of yours? I don’t think so. Even better, a customer testimonial! Check out research from www.goodbed.com that’s featured in the July issue of Furniture World (Bedding Anatomy 101) that talks about how bedding customers feel about independent third-party testimonials, versus anything that your salesperson could tell them. Or, perhaps, show a video shoot of kids climbing around on a bunk bed-desk combination and using all the features? I think that could start a conversation on design or quality construction.

Maybe by the monitor, it could say…

  •  “Press here to see why our head buyer Jane Doe thinks this seating group by XYZ Furniture might be right for you.”
  • •“Did you know that at Jane’s Furniture Emporium we only buy the finest, solid wood, American-made furniture? Click here to turn up the volume and find out more.”
  • •“Can’t believe how this quality dining room can be so much less expensive than at other stores? Here’s how Jane does it – all for you.”
  • “Would you like to know more about how quality is built into this sectional from ABC Furniture Company?”
  • “Do you want to help homeless kids in our area get a clean, comfortable bed to sleep on? Here’s how you can help support Jane’s charitable foundation when you purchase a quality Jane’s bed for your home.”
  • “Can’t decide if this bedroom is right for you? Go see James in our design department. He will be help you plan your beautiful room… even if you decide not to buy it here.”
Remember keep it short and creative.

A-n-d, while we are on the subject of short video – how about those Saturday morning sales meetings you hold? Maybe take a five-minute break (with low calorie doughnuts, of course) to show two quickies that have nothing to do with the meeting? And I mean NOTHING. Maybe a wildlife close-up photographed in the Pacific? Or a scene that shows a robot in a fresh-air mill repairing a spinning bobbin?

Or you could show a 3-minute clip of something serious that’s educational, but not political, controversial or uncomfortable for anyone. Perhaps something about a charity your store supports or a surprise video interview showing furniture delivered to a customer’s home. What about a testimonial from a happy customer you received that you asked for on your Facebook page or from a contest you had. Or again, another gamble with the cute-kids of salespersons? Especially if the mother works on your staff?

Silly stuff? No way, I say. The least that could happen is that your salespersons could have something different to interject in their sales shpiels that day. And, perhaps, one visiting couple, who didn't say a word during the whole event, will say "Thank you. We loved it and will tell our relatives."

Think on this silly stuff for three minutes.

Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90.

Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: grandpamike-e-e!@furninfo.com

PS. See the new 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.

Grandpa Mike-e-e

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