By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
I know it seems like a silly question, but what do you sell? Every day, customers enter your store with a thought in their head of what they want to buy. Whether their inspiration is from the internet, a designer or a TV show, they are coming to you pre-sold on what they think they want. Do you simply offer what they have on their mind or are you willing to go deeper and find out what they really want or need?
Many salespeople have become complacent and say yes to any sale. “Oh, you want that? Ok, let me ring it up for you.” But it takes a bit more psychology, patience, knowledge and care to really fulfill a customer’s dream. Do you ask questions beyond, “Will that be Master Card or Visa?” More importantly, do you listen or not to what they are saying?
Customer: “I’m tired of buying dishwashers every 5 years - what do you got?”
Salesman: “Well, here’s a cheap one if it will help you out.”
If you are a true salesman, or as I prefer: dream fulfiller, you would see that cost wasn’t the issue in the example above, it was the longevity of the unit. So, the answer shouldn’t have been a discounted floor model.
Stop taking the simple route. Instead take 5 to10 minutes and ask some questions and get to know your clients truth. If they’re just there for price you’ll know it quickly enough, but in many cases they came to you, the expert in your field, to get sound help and advice. Don’t blow that opportunity.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
Afew years back I purchased a classic and sturdy commercial backyard umbrella that has withstood the Vegas winds and heat, that is as fabulous today as the day I bought it. People constantly ask where I purchased it. Its price tag shocks most, but considering the countless umbrellas that have flown and shattered the glass tabletops, ended up in the pool or even in the neighbors yard, this one was worth the investment.
At Hospitality Design Expo, I was delighted to see displays filled with beautifully made products that far surpassed mainstream retail shops. The price tags also reflected the durability and uniqueness of these product lines, which is why many of these items won’t be found in your average store. But where can the consumer find these quality luxury items? Does the independent have to remain “just your everyday store?” If you don’t offer your customers a touch of luxury who will?
I think most of us stick to the same old stuff, not because we aren’t willing to pay more, but because “everyday stuff” is easier to find. Luxury manufacturers are realizing this and setting up pages on their websites to make finding you - the dealer, easier. Work with these companies that direct their internet business to you.
Become the place customers come for inspiration and great design ideas. Attend shows to find the gems for your showroom. Make your store stand out as cutting edge, and the go to destination in your community. Perhaps you will take a chance and find your inspiration at this month’s Dwell on Design show in L.A.
Until next time,