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8 Keys to Needs Analysis for Furniture & Mattress Stores

KeysBecause many sales are lost at the end of the selling process, it makes one think that we need to improve our closing techniques when what we really need to do is improve our needs analysis. Nothing will help you increase your sales faster than fully understanding your customers’ needs and wants.

When the consumer walks into the store and is confronted with a sea of furniture and mattresses the salesperson quickly needs to focus the customer before they confuse themselves. Confused customers do not make buying decisions. 

If you went to your doctor’s office and the doctor welcomed you in and directed you to a desk where you could write your own prescription you would call that doctor a quack. Letting your customers aimlessly wander a showroom is no different. Tom Hopkins’ statement that “prescription before diagnosis is malpractice” is true. Sure there are times when we must allow the customer some space because they demand it. Incidentally the reason they want space is because they feel they know more about furniture than you do. They are also scared that you will sell them something they don’t want or need. Welcome to retail selling! The customer’s perception of us varies from an incompetent clerk that has no knowledge to a highly skilled witch doctor capable of casting spells on innocent customers.

Shop your competitors and then compare your experience to your customer’s expectations. Now do everything in your power to help your customer have a great buying experience with you. After a successful greeting nothing is more important than fully understanding what your customer is trying to accomplish. In the next Ezine we will get into the questions themselves. Here are 8 keys to uncovering your customer’s true needs.

1 Serve Your Customers- The better you serve your customers the more money you make. Your purpose is to help the customer to make the best buying decision possible. You are only here to serve the customer. When you live up to that statement you will transform yourself into a top retail salesperson and reap the financial and personal rewards that accompany high achievement.

2 Yes Attitude- This is a step beyond a positive attitude. It implies a degree of energy and is characterized by a contagious optimism that your customers want to be around. Did you ever have a special moment and shout “YES” as you waved your hands above your head? That’s the Yes attitude I’m talking about.

3 Conviction- Defined as a fixed or firm belief. Without the conviction that what you are doing is good and right the yes attitude won’t last an 8 hour shift let alone a career. My conviction when I sold retail was simple. There are two parts to it. When selling furniture I help make my customer’s house a home that they love to be in. When selling mattresses I help my customers get a great night’s sleep so they have the energy to accomplish all their goals in life. The second part is I am an honest person who deeply cares about my customers therefore I will sell my customer so they will not end up in the hands of my competitors who may not have the same ethics that I have. I believe that I have a moral duty to close my customers.

4 Ask Open Ended Questions- your ability to ask questions that the customer can’t say yes or no to is one of the most important skill sets that top retail salespeople acquire. Most importantly they build trust with the questions they ask. Good questions help you discover your customer’s needs. The next article will fully explore all the questions that top retail salespeople ask their customers.

5 Listen- You have heard this forever. God gave you two ears and one mouth. They should be used in that proportion. Right? Wrong! At the beginning of the sale you should spend 80 to 90% of your time listening to your customer’s answers. You should talk at the end of the sale.

6 The Real Secret- Repeat back to your customer what she just said. Ask her for clarification. Keep the conversation going with comments and body language that keep her engaged. A few well placed ohs will do the trick. I can’t capture the subtleties of this technique in the space I have available here. I will shoot a video demonstrating the power of this technique. The more she talks the better.

7 Tell Me More- I will also feature this in an upcoming video. When appropriate to draw out fully your customer’s needs direct them by saying “tell me more” When used in the right situation this simple statement helps further the dialogue with your customer as she unveils her needs.

8 Body Language- Lean forward to hear her answers better. Do not be intrusive. This is where selling is more art than science. Read the situation and feel what she needs from you. Leaning towards the customer can mean that you are focusing in on her answers or it could be perceived to be a threat. With certain customers you should lean away from them to gain their trust. Top salespeople also use the stepping back or leaning away to pull the customer towards them. Use your body language to establish and maintain positive communications throughout the sale.

Action Step- Go to Amazon.com and buy Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude. Then read it and implement the ideas that you feel are helpful. You will be happier and make more money. 

Next week’s article will focus on questions. Check out my YouTube station. I am posting a few new videos there before the end of this weekend. Also check out my Primeau Furniture Sales Page on Facebook for up to date industry information.

Wishing You Success,

Pete

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