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Golden Nuggets from Alan Barnett

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Before I discuss the contents of this article, I just wanted to provide you with the backdrop from where I am fortunate to derive a lot of this information. The showroom I work in has 15 full time salespeople. Five of them have delivered over one million dollars of furniture in a year, at one time or another. Of those 5, two have done it ten times, one has done it 5 times, and the other two have done it once. Needless to say, there is a wealth of knowledge and skill in this showroom. I watch and learn from these pros every chance I get. I am going to refer to a saying that I came up with. “It is not what they say; it is how they say, what they say.” This is in many ways the basis of the successes I see.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, this saying will make more sense. Starting with the greeting, the pros, do not approach the customer, they wait for the customer to approach them first. If the customer darts off in a direction, before a formal greet can occur, they will let the customer wander, and greet them at a more appropriate time somewhere on the showroom floor. The pros, establish rapport and trust very early on in the sales process. In many cases, they are not even discussing furniture on the re-approach. Their goal early on is to make a friend first. The pros are always watching the moves the customers make, even if it’s from afar. They see the customers touch, feel, sit on the product etc. They start to formulate what the customer likes, and does not like.

The best time to reconnect with a customer is when they re-approach an item for a second time. This is where the pros start to zero in on the sale. They ask the right questions, they have total belief in their products, and are asking all the pre-qualifying questions leading to a close. Would you like me to check the availability of the inventory? Would you like to pick-up or have it delivered? How would you like to pay for it? Do you need existing furniture to be taken away? The pros never give the customer a reason to doubt them. All their responses are with conviction.

They know the product; they overcome objections, and are always asking for the sale. Because they have gained trust, they have more latitude with the customer. They have earned the right to ask for the sale on multiple occasions. As one pro put it, if you don’t hear 6 objections during the sales process, you have not done your job closing the sale. The gentleman who has shipped over a million dollars 10 times, told me the following, “If you have established rapport with a customer, you are entitled to ask the toughest question that a salesperson must ask of a customer, Sir or mam, or use customer’s name, what is really holding you back here?” Always emulate the customer. If the customer is sitting, you sit. If they are standing, you stand. If they lean forward, you lean forward, etc. In closing, “it is not what they say; it is how they say, what they say.”

Alan Barnett

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Comments (3)

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  1. Pete Primeau says:

    Thanks Alan! I am sure that many of your fellow RSAs will enjoy and benefit from your article! It has been a pleasure watching you develop into a top professional furniture sales pro!


  2. Marina Klima says:

    Great article and very true. Believing in your products and having knowledge is crucial to sales. If you know your products it gives you instant confidence that is reflected in your presentation.

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