A sales team can make or break a furniture company’s retail performance. Since a brand’s sales representatives often serve as the customers’ primary point of contact with a company, the experience that they provide can have a lasting impact on consumer opinion.
How can business leaders in the furniture industry help their sales teams to drive growth and create a positive customer experience? For starters, they can ensure that their retail sales strategies include the following important elements:
Focus on a Broader Mission
Centering a sales strategy around a company mission or a set of organizational values is one of the best ways to ensure a consistently positive customer experience. In order to effectively promote their products, furniture sales teams must have a goal beyond simply closing a sale. They must operate with an awareness of the value proposition that they are presenting to customers. They are not simply selling furniture. Rather, they are helping to fulfill their customers’ need to create a satisfying living environment. Furniture retailers and manufacturers are in the business of helping shoppers to transform their houses and apartments into attractive spaces. By keeping this in mind, sales representatives can offer a more effective style of customer service, striving to partner with customers in their efforts to find the perfect home furnishings.
Offer Extensive Product Knowledge
While uninformed employees can be a significant liability to a company’s in-store sales, a sales strategy based on comprehensive and up-to-date product knowledge can help to enhance the customer experience. This is especially true in the age of e-commerce, at a time when customers are well-equipped to conduct their own research online and can even fact-check sales pitches in real-time using their mobile phones. When sales professionals have the knowledge to position themselves as experts on the products that they are selling, they give customers a reason to venture out for the brick-and-mortar shopping experience and to choose their store over the competition.
Use a Customer-Focused Approach
In an effort to provide customer solutions rather than to simply sell products, an effective furniture sales strategy should consider consumer trends and individual needs. For this reason, sales representatives should adopt a customer-focused sales strategy that emphasizes learning everything one can about each customer. The sales team should listen closely to customers’ needs and ask questions to discover what room they are shopping for, how they will use their new pieces, and what the general look of the room is now. By zeroing in on customers’ specific product needs and design preferences, sales professionals can move closer to finding a unique solution to each customer’s situation.
In order to become successful, the members of a sales team must have the discipline required to work toward their goals, provide consistent customer service, and continuously strive to improve their own performance. To create this type of atmosphere, companies must begin at the top, selecting and training sales managers with the capacity to provide respectful, yet direct leadership.
At times, sales managers may struggle to inspire high-performing teams because they are overly concerned with being well-liked. While it is important for managers to be receptive to their team members’ opinions, they must also have the courage to make difficult decisions with authority. Likewise, while leaders should always treat their employees with kindness and support, they must also be capable of providing honest, clear criticism when necessary.
Develop a Structured Plan
Even the most highly motivated individuals can fail to perform when they lack a clear plan of action. This point goes hand in hand with the need for discipline within a sales department. In order to operate to their fullest potential, a company’s sales team should have a clear framework to guide its activities. In general, sales managers should promote a strategy for customer interaction that touches on all of the basic points of a sale, which include greeting customers, discussing their needs, presenting potential product options, and navigating barriers to the sale. In this way, companies can ensure that each customer interaction is meaningful and efficient.
Create An Assessment Strategy
Sales managers should also have a set framework for measuring their teams’ performance. Without a strategy to assess their operations, leaders have no basis to identify areas in need of improvement. Sales managers who stay abreast of their teams’ strengths and weaknesses will be equipped to spur positive change and inspire new levels of success.
Build Trust with Customers
A company’s sales representatives must instill confidence in potential customers, both in regards to their products and the company as a whole. Sales professionals can help to paint their organizations as honest and dependable by serving as a resource for product information and striving to be straightforward in all customer interactions. Members of a sales team should never sacrifice honesty for optimism. While stretching the truth about a particular store policy or product feature might help to close a sale in the short-term, it is unlikely to garner lasting customer loyalty. By establishing trust, sales professionals can position themselves as dependable advisors throughout the home furnishing process and inspire customers to return for their future furniture needs.