The more “musts” you can muster, the better your chance at converting browsers into buyers.
I’m often asked, “How can you spot good customers?” My answer always is, “They’re the ones who come into your store.” People do not go into stores that sell things they don’t need, don’t want or cannot afford, to “Just Look.” They know you sell furniture and are so interested in it that they’re willing to run the risk of dealing with a salesperson. That’s a good customer.
When the following six things take place, you’ll have a sale and your customer will have a new piece of furniture. That’s a win-win scenario, but first you must make sure the “6 Musts” take place.
— THE 6 MUSTS —
1: The customer MUST come into your store.
This is not to say you can’t sell via your website or over the phone to a past customer, but generally speaking, customers need to be able to physically touch that sofa’s fabric, sit on that easy chair’s cushions, lie on the mattress.
You can attract more people to your store in many ways. Maintain ongoing communication with past customers; tell them about new merchandise, special promotions and sales.
Don’t underestimate body language. It’s not uncommon for a customer to look into a store only to keep on walking because salespeople are standing behind counters or are at computers. There’s nothing more threatening to a customer than a salesperson without one—unless it’s two salespeople without customers.
2: The customer MUST find something they like in your store.
The salesperson hasn’t been born yet who can sell people things they don’t like, need or want; too many try to however.
Give your customers a verbal tour of your store. With so much to offer, it’s possible there’s something somewhere in your store a customer would like, but doesn’t know you have.
3: The customer MUST have the money.
You may have a customer who comes into your store, finds the perfect piece of furniture, but has no way of paying for it. Selling someone something they can’t afford is a good way to lose customers.
It’s easier to sell what the customer can afford than what you want to sell. Anytime the price becomes an obstacle ask, “Is the price your only concern?” Customers will often offer price as the objection when in fact there’s something else they don’t like. If you determine that price is the obstacle, quickly show something similar which is less expensive or introduce financing. Avoid offering discounts. A discounted price for the wrong piece won’t work.
4: The customer MUST be willing to spend the money.
Having the money may not be enough. Look around you. There are dozens of stores vying for that customer’s attention and wallet. There may be something else the customer would prefer to spend that money on.
That’s why it’s important for your sales associates to know when and how to nudge. A nudge will work if it’s truly what the customer likes and can afford. Nudging someone to buy is like asking someone to marry you. It’s something you don’t do unless you already know the answer. Be sure your nudge is in line with the customer’s objection. If price is an obstacle, talk about the quality of the piece. If the objection is time, offer to do it now and avoid a return trip.
5: The customer MUST trust the company.
If this is a customer you’ve already done satisfactory business with in the past, this trust may already exist. If not, it needs to be established BEFORE you start selling.
You can do this by clearly communicating the Four Ws to the shopper. In other words, the customer needs to know Who you are, What you are, What you sell and Where it is in the store.
Make the “trust sale” before you start making the furniture sale. What makes your store unique from other furniture stores? Tell customers how long you’ve been in business, something about your founders, other locations you might have, designers you feature and anything else that exists only in your store. Make a list of what makes you different and be willing to share that, up front, before you start selling furniture.
6: The customer MUST like the salesperson.
This is a big one since most people don’t like salespeople to begin with. This is why so many people come into your store with their guard up and announce, “I’m just looking.”
The reason many salespeople are not generally liked is because they make customers feel uncomfortable. Nobody likes to feel uncomfortable. One type of salesperson that makes customers uncomfortable is the pushy one. Pushy salespeople want you to listen when you aren’t interested in what they’re saying. They want you to buy when you don’t like what they’re selling. They hover over you and follow you around the store.
Another type of salesperson that makes customers uncomfortable is the one who say’s nothing, leaving it all up to you as the customer to make their buying decisions.
Customers walking around a store not knowing when, how and even if they will be approached becomes very uncomfortable.
The secret to successful selling in a home furnishings store is being proactive without pressure. Yes, this is a fine line to walk, but it can be done if you’re sensitive to your customer’s reactions and body language. What you want to say next is not as important as how your customer reacted to what you said last.