Successful Furniture Sales Training in 2020
Store owners spend thousands if not millions of dollars to lease land and a building to house their furniture sales operations. They spend thousands if not millions of dollars to secure furniture for showrooms and warehouses. They pay for advertising, electricity, and staffing, and a myriad of other goods and services.
The vast majority of their dollars are aimed at attracting customers into a store where they can find and buy the furniture they need for their families. For a variety of reasons, however, the typical store owner invests very little on their employees, who as Anne M. Mulcahy said “ are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage.”
While most furniture dealers recognize the necessity for furniture sales training, they often seem hesitant to actually invest in their salespeople. Look at these possible reasons you might not invest in sales training and see if they fit you.
Furniture Sales Training Hasn’t Worked in the Past
It’s likely that the sales training you’ve used in the past produced only temporary or imperceptible results. This may have led you to believe that furniture training is just a necessary evil that wastes your time and money. Answer this question: have you given up on all restaurant food because you weren’t impressed by the first McDonald’s hamburger you ate? Don’t make the mistake of lumping all furniture sales training together. Food is not created equally and neither is sales training.
Sales training consultants are expensive and their effects are felt for just a short few days after they leave your store. Sales managers have neither the time nor the ability to effectively train a sales team. Furniture manufacturer reps are difficult to schedule and more importantly, they’re better at landing new accounts than teaching valuable sales skills. The tough truth is that the notion that “anyone who knows something can teach it” is simply not accurate. Consider the example of NBA great, Isiah Thomas. He was a 12-time NBA All-Star. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Just because he played well didn’t mean he could coach well. He struggled as a coach and front office executive. The wonderful knowledge and skills he had in the areas of shooting, passing, dribbling and defending didn’t translate into him being the teacher and coach his teams needed him to be.
You shouldn’t be surprised that the solutions you tried in the past were unsuccessful. Don’t make the mistake of lumping all furniture sales training together.
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Some People are Born to Sell
Would you ever consider boarding the plane of an untrained pilot or allowing an untrained doctor to remove your appendix or gallbladder? It is ludicrous to imagine that someone could be born possessing the skills and knowledge to successfully fly a plan or successfully remove a body organ. At first blush, a career selling furniture doesn’t have the same “life and death” urgency that medical doctor or airline pilot careers have. When you recognize that the sales success of a furniture salesperson is tied directly to their health and wellbeing you might feel a little differently. The American Psychology Association published a report stating that:
“More than one third (36 percent) of workers said they typically feel tense or stressed out during their workday and almost half (49 percent) said low salary is significantly impacting their stress level at work. Twenty percent report that their average daily level of stress from work is an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale.”
Your salespeople have low close rates because they lack the skills and knowledge required to sell furniture. Furniture sales success, like all sales success, is based on the sales person possessing two types of knowledge. 1) knowledge about the product available to them and 2) customer knowledge. The essence of sales is marrying the needs of the customer with the product that fits the need.
You shouldn’t be surprised that the outgoing and personable salesperson you hired isn’t closing as many sales as you wish they would. Personality is great but it’s simply not enough. Don’t make the mistake of boarding the plane with a bright but untrained pilot and don’t bet your livelihood on smart and personable salesperson who’s not had expert furniture sales training.
Furniture Sales Training is Too Expensive
Depending on the sales training program you invest in the ROI is a no brainer. The program provided by The Furniture Training Company costs the typical store between $125 and $200 per month. Compared to the typical monthly outlay of $10k for advertising, this is a very small investment. Imagine a sales person who goes from selling $500k a year to selling $550k per year. This investment has been shown to yield average sales improvements of between 10% and 25%.
We’re often asked, “What if I pay to train my salesperson and then he leaves?” Our response is “What if you don’t train him and he stays.” It seems as though many furniture dealers worry that their investment will redown to someone else’s good or that they won’t receive the full benefit of their investment.
You shouldn’t be surprised that a failure to invest in your salespeople causes them to be haphazard in their commitment to serving customers and to you and your store. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a lack of success is caused by personality defects or disinterest in retail sales.
Summary – The Solution
You shouldn’t be surprised that your investment in furniture sales training solves two critical issues for every furniture dealer in America: 1) low close rates and 2) high turnover rates. Don’t make the mistake of believing that sales training doesn’t work, is too expensive, or that it’s not necessary because salespeople are born and don’t need training. Only then will you take action to ensure that your salespeople become your greatest asset and your competitive advantage.