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You Know You Should Do This in 2015

Furniture World Magazine


I hope this article is a timely reminder to take a look at your business and see if you too have missed profit opportunities. These are simple tasks that most retailers know about, but not that many implement flawlessly. There’s a good chance you have room for improvement, and now is the perfect time to get things in order.

Do This First: Make a sale to get a customer!

For some, this notion is deeply implanted into their marketing mindset. For the rest, allow me to explain this in detail because it’s critical for you to understand and embrace. The average business owner typically thinks in transactions, for example, “I need to serve 30 lunches today” or “I need to fill 10 rooms.” Their goal is to get a customer in order to make a sale. They are content with the transaction and as soon as it’s over, they’re focused on the next one.

The smart business owner thinks differently and realizes the whole point of making a sale is to get a customer! Read that again because if you get this simple shift, I’ve just handed you the keys to higher profits and happier customers!

For 99% of business owners, the first sale could be the doorway to a long-term relationship with the customer, but most business owners don’t understand this or cannot figure out a way to make it happen. This is a huge mistake and one you must avoid! If you’re not thinking this way, the rest of this article will help you grasp this game-changer. If you already get it, this will be a timely reminder.

Do This Second: Offer opportunities to people to spend more with you.

I’m a firm believer in creating ways for shoppers who want more, to get more from you. I’m not suggesting cliché–type upsells. Instead, frame this process as a desire to fulfill the wants and needs of that percentage of your customer base who will be happier with additional or better quality goods and services. If these pathways do not exist in your operation, there is pent-up customer demand plus un-realized revenue potential. Neither are desirable.

In our world, presentation of products such as adjustable beds, furniture protection, and occasional tables are often lumped into the category of add ons. When presented at the end of a sale, they can be seen as blatant money grabs. However, when a proper sales presentation is used, and the right scripted sales choreography followed, you can create a systematized pathway for people to spend more.

As an example, when it comes to adjustable beds, a thorough discussion of shoppers’ sleep needs, and how they use their bedrooms, in almost every case, uncovers the need for an adjustable bed. A proper discussion of how the customer will use their furniture and proper timing will change what could become a negative experience. When presenting upholstered furniture, ask if they eat in their living room. Find out who uses the furniture (children, teens, pets?). Discover how the furniture will be used. Do they do crafts or office work that could increase the chance of a puncture or tear from scissors left behind?

Discovering the answers to these questions as opposed to just asking, “So do you like brown or black for your living room?” automatically puts customers on the path to spend more with you and adequately fulfil their needs.

Do This Third: Capture contact information. Use it for follow-up marketing!

You’re probably thinking this is too basic to include in an article like this, but most furniture retailers don’t do it.

Allowing somebody to leave your store or showroom without making an attempt to collect their name and email and/or mailing address is a wasted opportunity. Again, this doesn’t have to be a hard-sell type experience. Assuming you’re doing everything else right, there’s going to be a decent percentage of people who would appreciate hearing from you in the future, which leads me to Reminder #4...
Do This Fourth: Always follow up!

Making the effort to collect contact information is only part of the equation - you must do something with this valuable data. I recently consulted with a retail business owner in the Los Angeles area. He collected over 9,000 email addresses from people who visited his stores and never did anything with them! He never emailed them offers, specials, etc. The list sat unused and wasted.

Again, there’s going to be a decent percentage of people who want to hear from you. They want to know what’s going on in your business. They want to receive special offers and invitations. Not following up with unconverted leads is the single biggest missed opportunity among furniture and bedding businesses today.

Do This Fifth: Ask for testimonials.

Another basic strategy and one that is becoming even more important with the ubiquitous nature of online reviews. I don’t think you can ever have enough fresh reviews and testimonials in your marketing toolkit. You need to have a system in place to capture and use them.

Other Suggestions

So what are you doing to revolutionize your business? I won't even make the attempt to help revolutionize your business via these pages. But what I can do is offer some suggestions so you can begin to lay the groundwork.

1. Copy Success. Begin to look at what successful businesses are doing that excites customers. Apple and Starbucks are good examples. Another is Patagonia an outdoor hiking, climbing, and camping gear company.

2. Rub elbows. Interact with people both inside and outside of your industry. There are foundational truths present in every business. Furniture people can learn from Dentists. Chiropractors can learn from jewelry store owners and mattress people can learn from women with no mattress experience. The late great author, speaker, and marketer Jim Rohn says you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. If those people are your reps, staff, and fellow retailers then it shouldn't be surprising that you struggle to revolutionize your business. But when your five people are from varied and unique backgrounds all with proven skills and successes along with failures they've learned from, that is when something magical begins to take hold.

3. Fresh eyes. Always have your marketing radar turned on. Look with fresh eyes at every retail, selling, and service experience you encounter. My business partner and I have made Gardner's Mattress & More what it is today because of this principle. Without this skill set, our business would not exist.

4. Fail faster. That's right it's OK to fail. We've all heard that you can learn something when you fail. I suggest you just speed up the process. Stop thinking about the next outside the box promotion, just do it already. It's likely it will fail. The 80/20 rule in action. So what? The difference between launching a promotion once you have every last detail thought out versus rapid implementation, is the elapsed time. Think about it. If an early launch fails and you still think it’s a good idea, you can run that a promotion three more times and perfect it. Once you have perfected it, you will have a marketing asset to successfully use time and again. Failing faster can actually be a good thing.

About Jeff Giagnocavo: Jeff Giagnocavo is co-owner of the retailer Gardner’s Mattress & More and the co-creator of Mattress Retailer Weekly. Mattress Retailer Weekly is shared with you every week so you can get new customers, stay ahead of your competition and increase your sales tickets. Get your FREE subscription by visiting www.RenegadeMattressRetailer.com or text MRW to 484-303-4300.