When you take salespeople out for a ride on the delivery trucks they become better at heading off delivery problems before they occur.
Every so often you read about a mayor or judge or reporter riding a tour in a police car or spending a night with a busy fire company to get the feel of the job.
It reminds me of an idea we've suggested to many retailers for whom we deliver the goods.
Furniture delivery isn't as dangerous as fighting crime and fire of course. But there are good economic reasons for taking sales people for a ride on a delivery truck.
Stores that do this find a close-up look at the delivery process-starting with truck load-up at the warehouse -helps sales people become better "intelligence agents" who gather information that enables delivery crews to get in and out more efficiently. Probably far more importantly, good information cuts down on problems such as "Don't Fits."
"Don't Fits" is one of the most common reasons why large pieces come back undelivered. And nobody is ever happy about them.
Customers are disappointed. After all, they bought and want the furniture.
Crews are unhappy. They strained their backs trying to shoehorn in a piece that simply couldn't make it. "Don't Fits" become misfits back in the truck-they have to be moved every time another piece has to come out. That could lead to damages as well as time loss.
Sales people are distressed-especially if they work on commissions.
And, of course, all this wasted time and effort costs you dearly.
Sales people won't stop selling big, bulky, heavy pieces-nor should they -just because they've seen what it takes to get a 96-inch sofa around a tight corner or an enormous armoire through a standard door or a heavy convertible up or down stairs.
But they're sure to start asking questions to make certain every piece sold can be delivered and stays sold. If it can't be, they'll try to sell something that can be.
Some pieces, because of their size, shape or weight, require more information from sales than just customer name and address. Sales people should be encouraged to pin down door width, elevator height, number of steps, etc. whenever these potentially troublesome pieces are sold.
Take 'em for a ride. They may grumble a bit at first. But they'll wind up appreciating the idea because it can help them as much as it can help you.