Who do consumers trust? - The HFC knows.
One of the findings of a joint research project of the American Furniture Manufacturers Association and the Home Furnishings Council is that 50% of all consumers would prefer to get information from hang tags or signs rather than from retail sales people.
Does this mean that they don't like salespeople? No, it means that they want to learn at their leisure. I also believe it means that they just aren't ready to trust salespeople until they have a position on what they want to buy. This comes as no great surprise. But we should use this information wisely.
For example, we continue to learn from the 20,000 consumer calls the HFC receives each month. Consumers trust the HFC because it is an industry organization rather than a single manufacturer. They look for the HFC logo on stores and on furnishings. They feel safe when they see the logo. This is why we so strongly recommend that all retailers use the logo in their ads and feature it throughout their stores. It provides a point of trust.
This point of trust concept is something for us all to note. Our research shows that:
- Consumers trust retailers more than manufacturers, because they know them better. They feel that because their local retailers are local, they can get their hands on them if there is a problem.
- Consumers trust a "Council" more than a single company, because they know that the HFC has no single product to sell and is readily accessible by phone.
- Consumers trust a well-known brand name more than a little known name, because they feel that names that have been around for a while and "survived" must be acceptable to many people.
- Consumers also trust people they respect and like. They trust celebrities who endorse products and ideas if it makes sense that those celebrities would use or endorse those specific products.
- And, they trust people... regular people... who they like. If they like you as a person, they will trust you
until you do something that changes that opinion. The moral here is to be nice to people so that they will like you, and then give them appropriate advice.
Your salespeople then, can become a point of trust. Add this to your store's reputation, and the manufacturer's reputation and you are in a position to generate sales... and then repeat sales.
What most makes people trust you? In our printed publication, HAVEN: Planning A Comfortable Home, we give numerous ideas without advertising. Many, many tips without a sales pitch. This approach has helped to build trust and respect. You can do the same by:
- Offering advice and counsel.
- Not pushing to make the sale.
- Giving your friends time.
- Giving them printed information to take home.
It is the time you spend (invest) In the relationship that builds the trust. It is the information that you freely give that seals the relationship.
What we have learned through research is that our buyers want to spend time learning, not waste time shopping. They want to buy one piece at a time. Add to their room... make it a little bit better.... then do it again. If you intend to be a part of the process, then you need to build that relationship and become a trusted source of information. You will not be a best friend, but you surely can and will become a part of every furnishings decision they make. As a seller of furnishings, what more could you want.
For more information on HFC programs or questions about this article contact firstname.lastname@example.org.