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Personal Power Of Accessories

Furniture World Magazine


Add Dollars to Your Sales Figures

Selling accessories is an art form that perfectly fits the yearnings our customers have for changing their homes. Accessories are personal things that dictate and reflect style. The art is in building a bridge from the initial sale by persuading your customer how accessories will fit into their home... completing it and marking it with their own individualized signature.

To accomplish this and add a third more volume to your total sales, you have to recognize the personal nature of accessories. Then you have the difficult task of getting your customers to purchase these distinctive additions. One way of overcoming obstacles is by connecting one sale to the next. Visualize how accessories will fit into your customer's home. Finally, give them a plan and guidelines for making their choices.

More now than ever don't come to a dead stop when you sell the sofa and the loveseat, or the carpet. Keep moving by remembering your customers are shopping not just for a piece of furniture; they are shopping for a re-fashioning of their sacred living space. They are shopping for change.

You can change a room’s style from colonial to traditional to contemporary by adding dark oak tables or cherry tables or slate tables. You can add art work with cherry frames or brass frames or stainless steel frames and have different looks. In today's market, accessories are the key to individuality and change.

Accessories bring life to the room. Accessories also are a breath of fresh air for your sales. After you have just convinced your customer to purchase one, or perhaps two or more major budget items, continuing to persuade them they need the lamps, pictures, mirrors, trees—all the items known as accessories—calls for remembering the holistic principles at work in the furniture world

Furniture sales take place in a system. One change affects all. You've created a focal point with the sofa sale. Two things dictates what happens next in that room: the sofa and you. You've got control.

Keep it by integrating that purchase to the next. Help them visualize how the new purchase will look in their home. Most people]e will try to recreate what they see in the showroom, in their home. They will add chairs, tables and lamps that they see in your vignette rooms if they are persuaded they will fit in.

Many of the people you meet and are trying to sell, don't trust themselves. They aren't sure if “it will work” or “if it will go" or “they don't know if they like it or not.” We all need to feel comfortable in our mental rooms. Help your customers develop this self trust by using your powers to help them visualize. Visualization is made possible by experiencing their home and lifestyle. Here are some visualization techniques:

  • Draw a plan of their home as you talk/walk through it with them.
  • Dig for information by asking questions about the favorite colors of clothing or fabrics.
  • Use a yardstick to help estimate dimensions of the room or rooms in question.
  • Establish the main focal points of the room to guide the customer. For example, a fireplace would be a primary focal point, while windows in the same room would be secondary. Another consideration would be to define the non-functional areas such as a half-staircase or a small wall between two doorways. These areas would be appropriate for accessories such as a tree, a console or small art pieces.

By these visualization techniques, you are helping the customer understand and be an active participant in deciding what best fits in their rooms.

Next give them an understanding how objects relate to each other spatially:

• Never use the same size or shape twice.

• Use one large piece, use a middle size piece or two or four together. For example a wall unit, with a middle size piece and mirror.

• If you use a mirror and use a vertical line, don't repeat it again.

• Use a scale that's appropriate such as two thirds the size of the sofa to determine the size of paintings - one painting or two side by side or a collage.

• Break up the shapes you use; don't use two large pieces of art twice. Two trees can be used as long as they're not side by side.

• Lamps are an overlooked accessory. You can use five different types of lamps in a room: accent lamps; track lighting; lamps coming up from the floor; dimensional lighting for treating the sheers and drapery differently; floor lamps.

Now that you have gotten your customers on a path, help them to stay there. You don't want to fumble the sale and certainly you don't want your customers to grope with their decision because they’ll struggle their way to another store. You have to be the source they rely on and keep returning to.

As a knowledgeable authority in the business of selling change, give your customer guidelines for how accessories enhance a room. Help them see how their lifestyles and preferences fit into accessory choices for furnishing their home. Give them a direction for translating these principles by helping them develop a shopping list for future purchases.

The shopping list might be something like, "You need a chair, two end tables, a cocktail table, two lamps and an area rug. Just as an example of how accessories expand your total sales, let's look at the initial purchase of the sofa for $600 and the loveseat for $450.

Your shopping list purchase will add a chair for $300., end tables for $400., a cocktail table for $250., an area rug for $200., two pieces of art work for $200. each, trees for $300, and a floor lamp for $200. On each choice, test close with "Do you like the table, the chair, etc."

What other store could they go to that would offer this kind of personalized planning? You've become almost a family member, certainly a friend when you walk through their homes in this intimate room-by-room fashion. That's what elevates this kind of selling to an accomplishment accurately described as an art.

Bill Blake is President of WRB Associates a space planning and design firm that creates and maintains retail environments that increase sales per sq. ft. and boosts merchandise turns. Questions can be sent to Bill care of FURNITURE WORLD at wrblake@furninfo.com.