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Make the Competition Irrelevant by Keith Castonguay

In our industry, much importance has been placed on shopping the competition. While it is certainly vital to do this and do it often, we also have the opportunity to make the competition irrelevant. How you ask? By creating a unique competitive advantage, YOU! That’s right YOU INC.

One of my favorite industry stats is the one put out by Furniture Today, that states, “40% of the people that become dissatisfied with a living room or family room set have failed to make a purchase after one year.”

What other industry or product or service can say the same?

Auto? I don’t think so.

Computers/Electronics? Heck no!

Even housing? No way!

I believe that is because many customers come in contact with uninspired and unmotivated salespeople. And on any given day that can be anyone. Even the best most competent RSA’s have an off day. However, the more experiences your customers have with these types of salespeople the harder it is for you to prove and differentiate yourself from the weaker links in our industry.

Generally speaking most stores carry enough selection to satisfy most customer’s needs. There are of course some exceptions. Whatever store you work in, it will more than likely never be the lowest priced store in town because there is no bottom in our industry, someone will be lower. And contrary to popular belief most sales are not driven by price. Sales are made by trusted relationships and creating a great living space.

That brings us to the tiebreaker. That’s YOU.

It’s you providing the activity and energy that transpires between YOU, the professional sales consultant, and the customer.

I say energy because sales are made emotionally and justified logically. The heart is the filter to a decision (anyone with any experience of irrational behavior in the throws of love will surely attest to this fact).

The customer falls in love with it then supports the decision with logic.

I can afford it.

It is a good value.

I have saved for this purchase.

It’s under budget.

Be prepared to stoke the emotion fire with enthusiastic demos that are rich in features and benefits that the customer needs.

Sketching the room for yourself and the customer can be a great vehicle to get the customer jazzed about their project, and bring you into their world .

Be assertive not aggressive.

Have an assertive attitude. Save aggressive for the football field.

Remember how Pete has so astutely reminded us of the fate Charlie Brown has found himself in with Lucy.

Assertive is having an attitude of positive anticipation, this means engaging the customer with a degree of certainty of a positive outcome for both you and the customer.

Assertiveness is a belief in yourself and the products and services that you sell. A passionate belief that the customer is far better off buying from you here today than they are anywhere else.

It has to come from the heart.

Keith Castonguay

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Comments (5)

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  1. Pete Primeau says:

    Thank you so much for this article Keith! I know it will help RSAs everywhere sell more furniture & mattresses!


  2. Marina Klima says:

    I think that you are doing a great job educating the sales people. Sketching the room is a great tool. But not everyone can draw and that is not necessary. You can make a floor plan and show the traffic flow patterns to make it more understandable. Any visual will help. there are many mood boards apps that you can encourage to use. great article.

  3. Bill Cooperstein says:

    Thank you Keith… you are spot on with today’s customers

    They want to be engaged with their shopping experience…its the reason they come out of the house and go shopping. Otherwise they could just press buttons on their cell phones for today’s kind of purchases…

    Bedding & furniture are always going to be the type of products you have to see to believe as well as experience… If a customer is going to expend the pheromones to come to your store. You better have your game face on, pre-qualification off, Spirits up, and facts & pearls of wisdom down when they do.

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