Are you doing everything you can to add to that sale — or are you pushing them out the door?
There’s one thing I know to be true from all my years on the retail floor—we are without a doubt in control of our own fate. We are the lords of the manor, the kings of the castle, and the masters of our own domains…in all things.
Allow me to digress.
It was requested by a rug rep that she conduct a Sunday morning meeting to exalt the benefits of the rug pad and how integral to any rug sale the pad truly was. Sunday morning! Why Sunday? Sunday is a day we open late and close early. Sunday is a day of rest.
You can’t even get a good chicken sandwich on a Sunday, but rug pads had to be discussed and to the bulletin board I went with a note that said MANDATORY TRAINING—10 AM SUNDAY. I may be dating myself, but that was the 2006 version of a text message.
That Sunday morning I arrived early to open the store and pull the reports I would usually do on Monday. I started the coffee for the crew and manually entered the reports on my spreadsheets (#Statsbaby!).
The team of 19 salespeople began to file in ready for a big Sunday, but none too pleased that they were coming in early for an unusual Sunday training. But hey, I was there too, while my family was enjoying a relaxing day at the beach. You’ve been there too, right? Furniture waits for no one and this was no exception.
I remember the morning like it was yesterday. The rug pad pro was two minutes late as she hobbled in with the usual meeting fair of industrially produced baked goods and her pad samples.
Now it was time to get down to business. No sooner had she told us what each of the pads were and that we should sell them because people buy them that she was thanking us for coming in early and threw the meeting back to me. It was 10:08 a.m. and she was done.
I was shocked. That’s it? We all came in early for that? On a Sunday no less?
What now? I looked left and looked right and every salespersons’ eyes were on me with mixed expressions of bewilderment and shock and with that unmistakable tinge of irritation. Take it away, Jonny.
I asked the rep to stick around until the end just in case there were any rug pad questions and then I started to talk. It was obvious that her management insisted she get into her stores to get the pads going, but she had no idea what she was going to say.
I searched the memory banks for something relevant to talk about and I remembered an article a rep sent me about sales. A well-known and discriminating credit card that charges higher interchange fees than their competition did a study to learn how to get higher dollar swipes.
The company armed a team of buyers with their credit card and instructed them to head out to the malls of America to shop for stuff with one mission: Don’t stop buying until the salesperson stops selling. (Oh, that they visited my store that day!)
The tacticians at the credit card company understood that to help increase swipe values they needed to understand how items are sold at retail. Each engagement, whether it was a CD, computer, sofa or a pair of jeans, had one thing in common: when the customer said that they would take the item, the salesperson wrote it up. I remember reading that and my mind exploded. How simple is that? We are so ingrained as salespeople to know that when the customer says, “I’ll take it” you shut up and write it up. Any good floor manager will scrimmage (role play) with salespeople working on trial closes and assuming the close.
Our discussion quickly turned to add-ons and the importance of building a ticket. We had the time, so we may as well use it…thanks rug lady.
“Quickly, what’s the add on to a sofa?” hands popped up.
“A love seat?” “A recliner?” “A rug?”
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
“Come on, guys,” I said. “What’s the answer? What are we doing here today?”
My top sales guy, who is still a beast of a closer to this day, stood up. “The add-on to a sofa is a bedroom!”
Yahtzee! The add-on to a room is another room. If I advertise a recliner for $149 that I paid $119 for and heaven forbid someone sells the thing, I lose money. Salespeople are there to create sales by turning the perennial shopper into a buyer by inspiring a dream of what life can be like at home. I do not hire a salesperson to accommodate a transaction because anyone can do that.
After the meeting I was still buzzing about this new discovery that smacked in the face of generally accepted selling practices, so I went to test the hypothesis. I called the rep who sent me the article and told him that I was going to get my car washed. I told him that whatever the guy at the car wash tried to sell me, I would buy. If he offered me an oil change, I would take it. If he offered me a detail, I was in. My credit card was his to assault.
With my friend listening in, I pulled up to the car wash and rolled down my windows. I was nervous, but at the very least, my car would be remarkably clean.
“What can I get you today?” asked the employee.
I wasn’t prepared for that question, so I kept it brief. “Just a car wash,” I said.
The guy scribbled on a receipt book “$7.95 wash” and silently handed it to me.
“What happened?” asked my Bluetooth.
“Absolutely nothing” I said. “I’m getting a car wash for eight bucks. This guy is running around handing eight dollar tickets like they’re candy…I can’t believe it.”
You have to wonder how much money this chap was leaving behind by not asking for more. How many times does that happen in your store? A better question is how many times does management allow it to happen?