How Much Do Furniture Salesman Make – What is the biggest mistake a seller can make? Failing to overcome customer objections can be costly, so it’s vital to make sure all the bases are covered, writes Adam Hankinson of Furniture Sales Solutions…
“Did you ask for an order?” asked Les Ewings. He was the assistant manager, he was about 60 years old at the time, the best salesman, and I was his protégé.
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At least I thought so. It later turned out that he thought I was a giddy and excitable 16-year-old who needed to be tutored, but it would probably cost him more money than I made him!
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Les was built like a 5’9″ Silverback, about 18 years old, with a nearly bald head and thick-rimmed glasses with large lenses. His whole head turned red.
For the next 30 minutes, Les continued to “re-educate” me, asking me all the questions I should ask a customer.
It was 39 years ago, but I still remember his coffee breath entering my nostrils as he “explained” things to me, standing two inches from my face. I laugh now and am forever grateful that my first, best, and most powerful sales lesson was (fortunately) early on in my career. The message stayed with me forever.
So what is the potential cost of not being able to get the order and close the sale? We know that the average order in our industry is around £1,500. If you have five salespeople and they all miss the chance to close one order a week for a year, that’s over £350,000. Ten people means over £700,000 and so on. You got the point.
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How can you solve this problem? It’s simple, but not easy. We have to think about and accept a number of basics: accept that we may be missing out on some opportunities and that it is our fault (1); accept that sometimes clients will tell you they need to go away and think about it, when in fact they don’t (2); agree that sometimes they say it and really mean it! (3); remember that it is our duty to find out what “it” is every time before they go (4); and no one ever died because they asked for the order (5).
1. Accepting some additional opportunities means that we have a positive challenge to get additional sales. When we take responsibility and don’t blame the client, that’s the first step to finding a way to solve our own problem. It makes us think, OK, what do I need to do differently with my next client?
2. Often times when customers say they need to go and think about it, they really believe that’s what they need to do and actually leave the building. What they really need is some time and sometimes physical space to consider the facts/options/pros and cons, etc.
We definitely shouldn’t just accept that they need to go and give them everything they need on a card or piece of paper (in effect giving them a ticket to leave the store). We need to help the client think clearly and feel good by asking clarifying, qualifying and disqualifying questions.
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“Did you want your new couch/bed/carpet to have the letters d, e and f on it? Do you feel this product does that?”
3/4. With an industry average of less than 30% first visit conversion, we know that most customers will and should “go home and think” about it. The point is to discuss size, finances, suitability and any other relevant reasons. Our job, as always, is to learn more about what “it” is and to make sure we’re clear to the client about their priorities, needs and wants.
We have to create a checklist in our mind and in our customer’s head that we can ‘tick off’ by first confirming these as their problems and then responding to those problems in a way that the customer is satisfied. Always remember that it is the doubts and insecurities that keep these clients from moving forward.
5. Smile and ask for an order – every time. If you’ve asked all the relevant questions and answered the wants and needs, you’ve earned the right.
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Then just say, “How would you like to pay?”; “We are writing an order”; “Let’s go forward”; “Let’s do it”; or “It’s £1,500 please, are you paying by cash or card?”
How you ask is much less important than actually asking every time. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you’ve done enough to order: Buying furniture without a plan is a sure way to accidentally spend more than you expected, or worse, walk away with what you did. I don’t really want to. Doing your research ahead of time and being prepared to negotiate in store will help you get the best deal for your budget and items for your home.
Whether you’re visiting your nearest IKEA store or an independent furniture store, you’ll have a great furniture shopping experience with these tricks up your sleeve.
Walking into a furniture store can be difficult. With all the tempting things to choose from, you might not even remember what you came for. Do yourself a favor: planning ahead will make your shopping experience more manageable and enjoyable.
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Bookmark or download your favorite pieces and keep your phone handy so your links are close at hand. It will also allow you to be more spontaneous because you will have more space to think freely when you are not overwhelmed by so many new choices.
Once you know what you want, it’s time to look for it. Furniture prices can vary greatly from one store to another, even for the same item. Researching your options carefully is the secret to getting the best deal overall.
When you’re shopping at a furniture store, look for the model number, grade or fabric number (for upholstered or leather items), and the manufacturer. Then go directly to the manufacturer’s website before making any purchases. Use this information to determine which furniture stores in your area carry this particular product. Some manufacturers offer store locators on their websites, but you’ll have to pick up a phone for those who don’t.
From there, call each retailer on your list and ask for a quote. Compare and contrast each rate to make the best choice. You’ll have the most success with this trick at independent furniture stores, not chains like IKEA, where the price is usually set in stone. But it’s a good idea to check if your product has been discounted due to returns or defaults (more on that later).
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If your goal is to get the best product at the lowest price, furniture with defects is highly discounted, and most of their so-called defects are hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. A furniture refinisher near you can restore or refurbish many pieces of furniture with more serious defects.
Returned furniture is sometimes, but not always, offered at a lower price, so don’t be afraid to ask retailers what they have in this category. Even floor models of furniture often cost a fraction of the original cost because of all the action they see in the store.
Avid furniture shoppers know you’ll have to scour every nook and cranny to find the best savings. The crème de la crème don’t even bother with the front display (unless it’s to buy a floor model of the furniture), often heading straight for the back instead. After all, that’s where most retailers hide deeply discounted furniture that they don’t want you to see right away.
It’s always a good idea to collect furniture coupons and promotions, even if you don’t actively shop for furniture. Many stores offer ongoing sales, so you don’t have to worry about expiration dates either. Bring what you have and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts, no matter how old the coupons are.
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While you probably won’t be able to negotiate prices on furniture in chains, independent stores are usually more open. Bargaining is an art form in itself, but there are a few tricks that anyone can use successfully when shopping for furniture.
Feel the store before you start asking about discounts. Are retailers ready to answer your questions? Or are they not interested in your presence? Use your best judgment to determine if the store will be open to your bidding attempts.
Don’t ask questions with easy yes or no answers when trying to get the best deal on furniture. You want the interaction to last as long as possible because the retailer is more likely to give in the longer they spend with you.
If, for example, you’re interested in a six-seater sectional but only have the budget for four of those seats, ask the seller how you can make your dream a reality. They may give you a discount or point you to a less expensive but equally good alternative.
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When it’s finally time to bargain, show the number
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