Agree With Your Customers
Research tells us customers are very apprehensive about shopping for home furnishings, whether upholstery, case goods or bedding. They don't invest in these items often, so their general knowledge of these products is minimal. This problem is compounded by the limited amount of information on the kinds of quality products available in the market. The shopping experience is perceived as confusing and risky, giving the customer a strong feeling of uneasiness even before they walk into your store.
Your role as a home furnishing consultant is to make the customer feel comfortable with you, your store and your recommendations. It is also your role to be a problem solver and to provide specific solutions. But first you must determine what is important to your customers, what problems they have and what they want to accomplish with their purchases or investments.
Your customers need to know you have both a sincere desire to understand their needs and the keen ability to match those needs with the appropriate product. In essence, you must relate to your customers by identifying their goals and helping them reach them.
Your ability to solve specific problems depends upon how well you support the customers needs with appropriate product benefits. You can do this effectively with a communication skill called a Support Statement.
The Support Statement is designed to bring the customer closer to you, to overcome uncertainty and apprehension, and to build a trusting relationship. This selling skill allows you to identify a specific problem, then to introduce a specific product benefit which solves that problem, thus achieving the customer's goal.
There are two parts to a Support Statement. First, you agree with the customer. Second, you offer an appropriate benefit, i.e., ask the customer her needs, then agree with those needs as being important and include the specific benefit that offers a solution. For example, when a customer says, My mattress just is not comfortable anymore. I don't get a good night's sleep, your response could be, That's a good point. I hear that all the time. Simmons has considered that problem and solved it with the Beautyrest® individual Pocketed Coil.® Each coil operates independently to conform to the contours of your body, thus providing superior comfort and support exactly where you need it. The Simmons Beautyrest® will give you years of comfort and support.
You have agreed that comfort is a major issue in a good nights sleep, you understand the problem and you have the solution.
Let's discuss the individual parts of the Support Statement skill. The first part, the agreement, is critical to the success of this skill because it indicates that you are, in fact, listening to the customer and that you understand what she is saying is important. You are relating by saying, What you're saying makes sense. I feel the same way. This agreement magnifies the importance of the problem, so the solution, when you provide it, becomes equally important. By agreeing, you are building a trusting relationship and providing the reason to buy. You are saying, I can solve your problem with this product.
The more Support Statements you provide, the more benefits you introduce. More benefits means more reasons to buy, resulting in a stronger close to your sale. The agreement is the easy part of the Support Statement. It is natural and pleasant. People enjoy hearing You're right, or I agree or That's a good point. The more you agree with your customer, the more your customer will listen to you and learn about the products that you are offering as solutions.
Ron Wolinski is Manager of Simmons Education. Questions can be sent to Ron care of FURNITURE WORLD at firstname.lastname@example.org.