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Become A Power Talker - Part 2

Furniture World Magazine


More words you shouldn't say in the sales game!

In the February issue we looked at words that have the power to comfort or enrage your customers. Here are more words your sales people should not say and better alternatives.

Webster put them "in" - we're taking them out. Here are some more words to eliminate from your vocabulary.

MATCH: Nothing matches. We all know what may happen if you tell your customer that she can "order the cocktail table now and the end tables later. They will match." This word is a red signal for the consumer. Talk about a hot button! As soon as they hear the word match, and the delivery truck pulls up, they'll pull out the magnifying glass, telescope, binoculars and beacon. Your customer will say, "you told me this would match. Guess what, it doesn't!" That's right - you're done . . . Finished! All because you said match.

What words could you use instead? Compliment, coordinate, enhance, blend, mix, complete, go with. Anything but match!

SPECIAL ORDER & CUSTOM ORDER: Think about what your customer is thinking when you tell your customer that, "everything we do here is special order." She is thinking about the last time she placed a special order. They told her that it would take three months for delivery and it took six. She is thinking that your custom ordered home furnishings will cost her an "arm and a leg". She is saying to herself, "special order? That means I can't see it! No way! What if I don't like it?" Your customer is already looking for the door.

Keep this simple for you and the consumer. Instead of speaking of custom orders, you might say, "what I do here is help you create that special look designed for you and your family."

CATALOG: The dreaded catalog conjures up the exact same fears. Your customer is visiting your store to see your products. If they wanted to buy from a catalog, they would have stayed home.

Instead of catalog, let them know that, "we have so many resources available in our reference library. Let me do some research for you based on your needs for your new room. I'll do the work, so I can save you a lot of time."

When I started in retail there was lots of merchandise that wasn't displayed on our sales floor. I would apologize profusely for twenty minutes. Then one day it occurred to me that apologizing would not make the merchandise materialize. Instead, if customers were looking for a specific occasional table that we didn't stock, I would show them different pieces in the collection. This way they could see the wood, the finish, and the romance. Now the picture in the catalog could start to come to life!

If a customer wants to sit in a sofa you don't have in stock, do the next best thing. Take them to a sofa that has the same critical dimensions for fit: depth of the seat and height of the back. Don't just tell them they are the same dimensions. Show them the dimensions in your reference library and then take it one step further. Take out your tape measure and show them that the measurements are identical. Then get them curled-up or lying-down on the sofa. Get them comfortable and get off the fact that you don't have it. This way you accentuate the positive, not the negative.

FOREVER: Never tell them what it is you can't do. Never tell customers that a fabric will be available forever. They never are.

HOPEFULLY: If you are hopeful that your customer will like what you put together and tell them that, you just plant a seed of doubt. Even if it is false modesty, you will have your customers thinking that you might not be that good at your job.

PERFECT: Another problem arises if you specifically offer your opinion by saying, "this fabric looks great! It is perfect!" What will you do or say if she hates it. Never volunteer your opinion until you know how she feels about it. If you think it's perfect and she hates it... you're done! You have just lost all of your credibility as well as a potential client!

FAVORITE: The same thing can be said for this word. If she hates it, she doesn't care that it's your favorite! You're done!

PROMISE: Never promise anything you can't deliver. When you promise your customer that she is going to love her purchase, you are taking an unnecessary chance.

IF: Don't think or say the word if. Think and say "when!" A young lady once pointed out in one of my seminars, that when she was growing up, she was always taught that the word if stands for fail. I love this lady's parents! What a wonderful lesson to learn growing up!

HELP: Help is not really that bad, except that it sounds like you're sending out an SOS! It also makes you sound like every other clerk in town who says "can I help you?"

Assist is softer, more courteous, & much more professional. It's also a word that is soothing, psychologically. It calms them down, and takes away some of the fear for the consumer. It signals to them that you are a team - you're in this together!

Can't: Remember - never tell them what it is you can't do!

TRY: Don't try. Do it! (thank you, Nike!). In his book, "Maximum Achievement," Brian Tracy concurs, "whenever people say, I'll try, they are apologizing for failure in advance! The words, I'll try, mean I am going to fail at this and I want you to know ahead of time so that you can't come back later and say that I didn't give you any warning!" My favorite example for eliminating the word try comes from the movie "The Empire Strikes Back." Do you remember wise little warrior Yoda? He tells Luke Skywalker in no uncertain terms, "don't try, do - or do not! There is no try!"

Here they are. These are your tools. "Polish" them today and you will become a "power talking" pro!

Cathy Finney is President of Ancell Affiliates and "T'NT". She is a noted motivational speaker, sales trainer and management consultant. She has just produced an audio management tape series called "pass the power please." 10 audio tapes plus an instructors manual that has been receiving rave reviews. Questions can be addressed to her care of FURNITURE WORLD Magazine at finney@furninfo.com.