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Selling Furniture & Mattresses – 5 Tips to Close More Sales on a Fast Floor

It was 1982 and I had worked all day at Mr. Mattress without seeing a single customer. Sure enough, as I was locking up at 8pm a couple appeared at the door. I was tired and I told them I would let them in only if they were going to buy. I was half kidding but pleasantly shocked when they agreed. I was just about finished with that customer when another couple came in. I can’t remember how many more customers came in but I finally left at a little after 10pm with over $4,000 in sales.  With retail, you just never know what to expect. But when the time is right, it’s important to learn how to handle multiple customers at once and most importantly, how to close them.

Here are some of the lessons I learned that night combined with what I have learned from the top retail furniture and mattress salespeople over the last 30 years on how to close more sales on a fast floor.

1: Speed Up by Slowing Down– What! Have I lost my mind you ask? The very best sales manager I know closes more sales at a furniture store by not allowing his salespeople to take more than one customer at a time. The overflow customers are greeted by managers and worked until the next salesperson becomes available. Each customer has the undivided attention of their salesperson and the results are more sales. When a store is busy customers will buy faster because of the excitement generated by the traffic. They do not need to be rushed to buy.

Now is the time to follow your system to the letter not deviate from it. Don’t get hung up on the word system. What I am referring to is not a sales system, but your sales system, what you are comfortable with and has worked well for you in the past. Take the time and give the customer the attention they need to engage them and develop rapport. Once rapport is established the single most important step in selling is fully uncovering their needs and wants. By taking more time building rapport and uncovering needs you actually speed up the selling process.

2: Set Expectations– If you are in a store by yourself you won’t have the luxury of support staff to greet customers. After you welcome the customer into the store explain, “As you can see we are very busy right now. Are there any questions I can answer for you or is there something I can direct you to?” If you are in a sleep shop you can show them quickly how to test a bed and get them started in the test area. If possible find out the basic information. Who will be using it, how will they use it, and why they need it. Let them know that you will check back with them to answer all their questions. While it may seem obvious to you, it will pay big dividends to point out that there are many customers in the store because the store has a special sale right now. People like to buy from salespeople and stores they believe to be successful. More importantly, people like to buy from someone they trust and believe is working in their best interest.

On a high traffic floor, especially one that doesn’t have many salespeople, I have always found that by asking the current customer for permission to greet the new customer, they will always give it. This shows that you care about all customers and you can build and keep rapport with all of the customers. It’s important to refrain from small talk until the sale is closed. Once closed, small talk is permitted as long as no other customers are waiting.

3: Group Presentation– Sometimes you simply have no choice but to present to groups of customers at the same time. Some successful RSA’s announce to a crowded floor: Everyone gather around for Mattress 101. This will help you get started.  The basics still apply: explain the benefit first and then the feature. When explaining the benefit look directly at the customer seeking eye contact. When presenting the feature use the directional force of your eyes to get the customer to look at the product feature with you. Remember to engage each and every customer as much as possible. This is easier said than done on a fast floor.

4: Recruit A Customer– When this first happened it was an accident. One of my more outgoing customers told another customer what bed she bought and why. The new customer also bought a bed. Your current or repeat customers can be recruited to help you make a sale when you are over run with traffic. Most customers will help you if you ask for it. Warning, do not ask for help from a customer unless you have a great relationship with them. This isn’t something you can force, but when good fortune smiles at you, see it and use it to your advantage.

5: Hold Them In– With the prospect of a better deal. Before I go any further with this you know the rules in your store. It’s important that you follow the pricing and discounting policies of your company! If you do have some leeway on pricing, start by watching your customer’s body language. If they are getting frustrated break away by excusing yourself but assure your customer that you will be right back. Answer your frustrated customer’s questions as quickly as possible. If you have to get back to the other customer thank the frustrated customer for their patience and tell them that you will do something special for them. You don’t have to give the store away! You could give them half price delivery or some other premium that will make them feel appreciated. People do not leave the store usually unless they feel ignored or unappreciated. The key here is to make each customer feel appreciated and respected.

Note- Thank You to Gerry Morris who rewrote this article for me and improved it greatly. Thank you to Ira Fishman who caught a few mistakes and wrote the second paragraph under tip #2.

Action Step– How do you make more sales on a fast floor? Please share your wisdom with us! Your feedback is critical to this blog’s success. Please post your comments and questions. I answer them all. Please visit http://www.facebook.com/PrimeauFurnitureSales and Like us! Our like page has the latest breaking news in the industry as well as product information, inspiring videos, motivational quotes, and selling tips!

Articles? Please email me any ideas for articles that you want me to write. Have you written an article on sales, goal setting, or time management? I’ll be glad to publish them in my ezine and on my website! Please email them to me at peteprimeau@ameritech.net.

Wishing You Success,

Pete

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Comments (13)

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  1. Pete Primeau says:

    Pete,
    The MOST important thing to do when working multiple customers is to close one. It sends the message that this guy or gal is okay to buy from.

    The longer you can keep a customer in the store the more likely they are to buy. I use the Columbo close….Let me show you one more bed before you leave.

    ASK FOR THE SALE. No matter how good or bad the presentation it is your job to ask for the sale. The most common failure of a salesperson is forgetting to ask for the sale. If you don’t ask the answer will always be no.

    At the end of the night if a customer says are you closing soon I always tell them I am happy to stay open for buyers. It will speed up the process if they are serious.
    Brian Pancost

  2. Pete Primeau says:

    Hi Pete,
    I added a few comments.
    Overall, a great article leading into a very busy weekend.

    Kind regards,
    Ira M. Fishman

  3. Pete Primeau says:

    Pete
    Nice work!
    Very well written.
    Thanks for the preview.

    Kenneth Tatum
    Senior Territory Manager
    Southerland Inc.

  4. Pete Primeau says:

    Pete,
    Hope you are well! I liked the article as is. Add a comma after the word “Warning” do not use my…………..

    The only part I would add is to remember that a lot of store sell furniture and some of it is identical to what you are selling. The differences are the other store doesn’t have you. By emphasizing the building of a relationship with a customer you help to protect yourself from other stores and sometimes other salespeople on your floor. If all things are equal (and sometimes when they are not!) they will buy from the person they liked best. The be-back customer will also find it very hard to walk past you and let your co-worker write the sale if you established a rapport with them on a prior visit.

    Drew Reichart

    • Pete Primeau says:

      Drew,
      I did make that change. Congratulations on your third store! It doesn’t surprise me how successful you are. You have such a unique background in our industry as a wholesales rep and as a business owner. You are a true professional and we are lucky to have you in our industry.

      Thanks,
      Pete

  5. Pete Primeau says:

    Excellent! You never fail to amaze me, Pete.

    Enjoy the weekend.
    Jim Bodino

  6. Benny Pittman says:

    Pete, loved the article. I tried to get your ezine, but this is what I got.

    “Mailing List Not Active
    This mailing list is not currently active.
    Please push the “Back” button and notify the website owner.”

    • Pete Primeau says:

      Thanks Benny! I discontinued my Weekly Ezine. I might start up a quarterly one because quite a few people have asked me to. I will send you a few and please let me know if you want more.

      Thanks,
      Pete

  7. You remind me of me lol same experience and whene i closed the first sale everybody else in the store bought in 3 hours i sold $12000 and my average is of 800$ a day but that day the store was full ….

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