Upholstered Furniture

high percentage of them "see it" in your store and "know it," and if customers who are just looking, can get help quickly when they need it, then the skillful and early sounding out of customer needs may not be appropriate. If not, then the next time one of your customers tells you, "I'll know it when I see it," be a wizard, a Sherlock Holmes. Try to get to the bottom of what that customer is telling you without annoying them. Your response calls for more than rocket science, since many customers simply don't know

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enough about furniture features and how these features will meet their needs, to know it when they see it. They won't know simply by looking at a recliner that it has a built-in mechanism for assuring the recliner will hold a given comfortable position for years to come. They won't know that a mattress is not to be judged by the number of its coils alone, or that a proper comfort test is necessary to pick the right set. They won't know that, depending on a customer's personalized needs, a fabric that is a blend may be superior to a fabric consisting of, say, Olefin alone or of Nylon alone. In other words, the average customer requires a consultant's eyes, backed up by specialized product knowledge.

For all salespeople there will remain these three requirements: product knowledge, selling skills, and attitude. How well you can provide your customers with the consultation they require will always depend on how well you can recommend the best product, once you have uncovered the customer's personalized needs. Only with your help does the customer have a real chance of knowing it when he or she sees it.

Trainer, educator and group leader Dr. Peter A. Marino writes extensively on sales training techniques and their furniture retailing applications. He has deep experience as a top salesman, sales manager, corporate trainer and consultant. Dr. Marino has undergraduate degrees in English and philosophy and a Ph. D. in ancient Greek and Latin. His books include "The Golden Rules of Selling Bedding", "Stop Losing Those Bedding Sales" and "It's Buying, Silly!" available through FURNITURE WORLD. Questions can be sent to Peter Marino at [email protected]. You can read all of Dr. Marino's articles on furninfo.com in the Sales Skill article archives.

See all 20 guide topics and order form on page 57 of this issue, order online at www.furninfo.com or call 877-235-3095 for more information.

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