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Lessons learned: Your first impression

February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19

By Tom Jennings

 

This past year I had the opportunity to visit a number of flooring dealers around the country. In nearly every case, I was seeing their showrooms for the first time, much like their own customers do. In doing so, I was reminded that one can learn volumes about how an operation is run three steps inside the front door before ever saying a word to anyone.

The overall best showroom layout I witnessed was completely wide open and welcoming at entry. There was at least a 10- to 12-foot area in all directions that was completely free of displays or merchandise, leaving one with plenty of room to acclimate to the surroundings. The store signage was proper and professional. The lighting was both dramatic and effective. The salesperson who rose to greet me was smartly attired. Not a word had been uttered, yet I felt both comfortable and confident that this store had its act together.

Contrast this with a showroom I had been in just a few weeks earlier. The first thing that greeted me was a pile of discontinued carpet samples offered for sale at $0.50 each. They were impossible to ignore, since one stack had toppled over and I had to walk around them. I noticed not all of the showroom lights were operational. When I was approached, the clerk had on an untucked golf shirt bearing the logo of a tool supplier.

Again, not a word had been spoken yet I felt totally different about the competency of this operation. The pile of samples screamed cheap. It may have been a good deal for a customer who needs a couple, but I think it was very expensive for the merchant. If he sold them all, he might have generated a hundred dollars. Contrast this to the potential cost of having to reduce margins on larger sales to offset the customer’s diminished perceptions. Remember, to a great extent it is you who sets the product’s value, not the customer.

In my experience, these samples would have generated far more value for this store if they were offered free to kindergarten teachers, Sunday school classes, etc. Plus, you can give them away in the warehouse, not in premium space by the entry.

The lights not being completely operational conveyed the impression this dealer either didn’t notice they were off or just hadn’t bothered to have them fixed. Either excuse would worry me. When I trust someone with a portion of my paycheck to perform work at my house, I want someone who pays attention to the details.

The golf shirt showed a complete lack of attention to detail as well. The shirt tail hanging out screamed “sloppy” and the distributor’s logo told me this guy was probably too cheap to buy a proper shirt. I am not talking about logo wear promoting your own business but rather a giveaway from a supplier. You will never walk into a nice automobile showroom to find a salesman wearing a shirt from the parts house down the street.

Many dealers mistakenly feel what they “have to say” will trump whatever the fancy store down the street may have to offer. What they fail to remember is if the customer’s initial impressions aren’t favorable, they may never get their chance to explain.

Most of the impressions that a potential customer may form come as a result of non-verbal communication. It’s usually no one thing that forms an impression but rather a compilation of many seemingly small things.

Tomorrow morning when entering your store for the first time that day, take three steps inside and stop to look around. Ask yourself: Would I be impressed with what I’m seeing?

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Lessons learned: Change your focus from someday to today

January 21/28, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 17

By Tom Jennings

Do you ever notice how many people seem to have big plans, yet have very small accomplishments? You know the type. They are the ones who can always tell you everything that’s wrong but are doing very little constructive to make positive changes.

At work, they usually spend more time determining how to get around performing a task than completing the task itself. These folks all seem to live in a different time zone. I refer to it as “Someday.”

We’ve all known residents of Someday. Perhaps we’ve even visited that place ourselves at some point. You will have no problem recognizing Someday inhabitants. They identify themselves constantly by stating something along these lines: Someday I’ll have a nicer car. Someday I’ll start to eat better. Someday I’ll spend more time with the family.

Residents of Someday all seem to have great plans. However, the critical element missing is execution, sometimes known by that dreaded term: hard work. While planning may be fun, and even occasionally necessary, over time I have discovered a funny thing about plans—they only seem to work when I do.

Don’t get me wrong; intentions do not count. Virtually all decent people are filled with good intentions. There is nothing rare about that. However, nobody ever accomplished anything meaningful by “intending” to do so. Results are only accomplished when we put some fuel into our tanks, turn on the engine and begin the journey from someday into “now.”

Only then will we see our results change from the limited success that “talkers” realize to the unlimited success that many “doers” achieve. The reality is we all have to put forth the effort to make a showing at our jobs every day. Since we are going to put in the time anyway, it seems to make sense that we reward ourselves by actually achieving measurable results rather than just talking a good game. Not only is the paycheck more pleasing, but you will find that time actually goes by at a much faster pace when you are able to begin measuring your accomplishments rather than just thinking about all of the things that you want to do someday.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of helpful advice on the issue. In an article that appeared in Forbes magazine, Vanessa Loder, co-founder of Mindfulness Based Achievement, outlined scientifically proven tips for beating procrastination. Among the most effective strategies:

  1. Pick your poison. The key is focus. We often give ourselves too many things to do and become overwhelmed. Start by choosing just one thing you’ve been putting off and make a commitment to complete that task in the next week.
  2. Employ the “five-minute miracle.” This involves asking yourself what action you can take in less than five minutes today that moves this forward even the tiniest bit. Once you’ve identified a small action, set a timer for five minutes and work on the task.
  3. Do a power hour. This consists of putting away all distractions and working in concentrated chunks of time, followed by short periods of rest, in order to harness the optimal performance of your brain and body.
  4. Let it go. Research shows the more you can forgive yourself for past procrastination, the more likely you are to overcome your current procrastination and take action.
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Lessons learned: In selling, credibility means everything

January 7/14, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 16

By Tom Jennings

 

One of the greatest attributes any salesperson can possess is the ability to be believable—regardless of what they are selling. But this is even more critical in our field.

Generally speaking, the public does not stay abreast of changes in the flooring industry. The frequency of the purchase cycle is too long to hold most people’s attention.

Simply stated: If the customer doesn’t have complete confidence that she can make a correct decision on her own, she needs assurance that you, the professional RSA, possess the competency to guide her into making such a decision.

Many of you are likely thinking, “That’s what they pay me to do.” The only problem is she will never be able to believe what you say and show unless you believe it as well.

If you don’t believe this to be true, I challenge you to spend one week observing both the body language and verbal comments of every service provider you come in contact with when you are the customer. Take note of your reactions to each presentation made to you.

For example, when you are in a restaurant, make a special effort to ask questions regarding the food and the chef’s capabilities alike. Ask the waitress if the cook is particularly good at making omelets, then observe the response. My guess is for every bright-eyed “he’s the best” reaction you get, you’ll receive a dozen that are something to the effect of “he’s not too bad” or “no one seems to complain.” How inspiring. It makes you want to order two, doesn’t it?

Ask if the cake is fresh. Do you get a “made fresh in our bakery this morning” response, or an “I checked it this morning, it still looks OK” answer. What was the body language saying when you received each response? It is almost impossible to give an enthusiastic response when you are not enthusiastic about the answer that you are giving.

Do you think a waiter’s or waitress’ tip income will be affected by the enthusiasm and believability which they exhibit? Of course it will. Aren’t tips just the waiter’s equivalent to a retail sales commission? Based on that logic, would it not be reasonable to assume the level of believability you exhibit is affecting your income as well?

To succeed at the highest level possible, you must believe in your company. Tell the customer why you choose to be on this team. You must believe in your products—whatever you are selling. Explain to the customer the ways she will benefit by selecting them. Likewise, you must believe in your service. Show the customer how great craftsmanship can turn a box of tile into a beautiful kitchen floor—just as it is that a great cook can turn a bag of flour into beautiful biscuits. Good products alone are never enough.

More importantly, you must believe in yourself. Tell the customer you have the confidence and ability to make the purchasing experience a pleasant one.

When you believe deeply that you, your fellow staff members and your products are a winning combination, your message will be so enthusiastically presented to your customers that they, too, will buy into your passion. When this occurs, sales are sure to follow.

It’s like the old adage, “It’s not usually what we say but rather how we say it.” It’s true. Believe me.

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Lessons learned: Empathy is king when handling complaints

December 24/31, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 15

By Tom Jennings

 

My wife and I were recently having breakfast in a very nice local restaurant. While not the Ritz, it was certainly not an all-you-can-eat chow hall. It had very comfortable décor, properly attired staff, handy location and an interesting menu. Most business owners only wish their operations looked this appealing. The store planners and design staff had obviously done their homework. So far, so good. What came next was not. If only management had spent as much effort properly training the staff as they had designing the décor.

I am certainly not a food critic. How we enjoyed our meal is likely of very little interest. What we should all take note of is how the staff reacted to adversity.

My wife ordered a waffle purely due to the well-written descriptive copy on the menu, stating, “This sounds delicious.” What she received was so cold it would not even melt the butter. Disappointing for sure, but no big deal. We have all had it happen. What happened next was a critical point in “saving the customer’s confidence” handled poorly.

When I observed she was not eating much, she commented the staff was busy, and she did not want to bother them nor wait for an appropriately warm replacement. (Remember: it is estimated only one in six customers will advise you of minor disappointments. The problem is they will tell everyone but you.)

Then the waiter asked her if she was hungry since she had not eaten much. Rule No. 1: Never attempt to shift blame or responsibility to the customer. He should have asked what he could do to make her breakfast more enjoyable. Instead, he acted like it was her fault.

I then commented that there was nothing wrong with her appetite—the food was cold. She was just being nice. His response was classic. He stated that should not have happened since “we get these things frozen. You’d think anyone should be able to warm one up.” If this were bowling, he would have gotten a strike with this comment. He managed to knock everyone down with one roll of his tongue.

He threw the kitchen staff under the bus as being incompetent. He undermined the great menu presentation by revealing they basically served overgrown toaster waffles. By doing so, he cast suspicion on all other menu items as well. He then acted like an authority when he proclaimed he could remove the charge from our ticket. All this accomplished was reducing the revenue for all involved. Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

What he failed to do was show the least bit of empathy. Never once did he say he was sorry or disappointed. He was too busy pointing fingers and trying to solve a problem with a discount. I am sure he told his boss that “he took care of it.” Remember, customers are not really interested in how things happen. They just want to know what you are going to do about it.

The restaurant business is not easy, but neither is the flooring business. Always remember it is most important to manage the emotions of the customer first—then worry about the product. My wife did not want a free breakfast. She wanted to pay for a hot and delicious one. When things do not go as planned in your business, make sure you take great care of the customer first. They will be quick to forget a “cold waffle,” but a “cold attitude” will linger much longer.

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Lessons learned: Monitor performance, generate better results

November 26/December 3, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 12

By Tom Jennings

 

Store owners and managers, this one’s for you.

In my experience in consulting retailers on a national basis, I get the opportunity to observe a large and varied amount of sales personnel in action. One glaring observation I have noticed is most of these salespeople need one thing that appears to be sadly lacking in most operations: some constructive and active management.

I am not talking about someone who makes out the schedule and has the ability to approve offers. (Every store has someone who fits this description; their primary job seems to be to manage people.) I am referring to someone who is routinely analyzing and adjusting sales performance. This is a task that extends far beyond just reviewing sales totals.

I often ask myself why this critical task seems to be minimized, if not completely ignored, when the tools with which to do so are easily accessed. To me, this seems to occur for a number of reasons.

Decision makers in many retail businesses appear to not highly prioritize managing the performance of their people. They seem to spend the bulk of their time and energy on everything from store location, relations with current vendors, seeking new vendors, advertising expenditures or other big picture issues. Often it appears to be an issue of spending so much time and energy on the “urgent” things that they forget to do the “important” things.

What is gained by trying to always buy a dime cheaper or to invent the next great promotion if your staff is routinely letting sales and profit opportunities walk out the front door?

As a manager, ask yourself: Do I know the actual close rate of each salesperson? What about average ticket of each salesperson? What percentage of each salesperson’s sales are good, quality items as opposed to promotional products? Do I know the mix of goods being sold? What percent of their sales contain an upgraded or add-on purchase? You get the picture.

My guess is you keep score when you play cards, go golfing or go bowling. It is the only way that we can measure our performance on a given day. Why is it, then, do so many owners and managers not keep score at work?

Managing performance has always been important, but it is even more so in today’s retail climate where we experience decreased customer traffic and increasing big box and online competition. Imagine how beneficial it would be if we could raise the close rates and average ticket of each customer that we sell by even a percentage point or two. Since the overhead does not change, a great percentage of this increase will go straight to the bottom line generating more profit dollars.

The opportunity to boost your margins is great. However, you must first take a deeper look into your sales team’s current performance, then set individual goals and offer coaching as to how these improvements can be accomplished.

Remember the old saying: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t grow it.”

Just telling an RSA where to go is never enough. First, you must show them the way. And this only comes from taking the time required to working closely with reps to ensure they are always improving.

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Lessons learned: Gain an advantage by putting customers first

November 12/19, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 11 

By Tom Jennings

 

It is a reality that most local, independent businesses are constantly being pressured by large mass merchants. It does not matter if you are selling toothpaste or televisions, some large firm is bound to have a bigger, faster, cheaper version that they are promoting with yet another barely believable offer. The floor covering business certainly falls into this category.

Too often it seems as if the local merchants view this form of competition with something between disdain and contempt. They want to blame the suppliers, the media and the gullible public. This is understandable; however, it is flawed logic. To compete with any opponent, you must first find out what their strengths are before you can determine where any vulnerabilities may lie.

Remember that large businesses did not begin big. They were born small and grew only because in the public’s eye they did a lot of things right. One of the key common aspects of these successful businesses is they all developed strategic operating systems. They have learned the most effective methods to bring their goods and services to market at the lowest possible costs. That is one of their strengths.

Think of these systems as the “rules of the game.” As customers, we are asked to play by the vendor’s rules. That is not a problem—until it becomes a problem. This is where, in many operations, a weakness exists on which you can ultimately capitalize.

Always remember that at the core, the customer only cares about her own situation—not yours. We have all been told something to the effect of “the computer will not let me do that,” “no substitutions allowed,” “deliveries to your area are made on Tuesdays only,” or the classic “you do not qualify for this offer.” It certainly seems that the bigger the company, the more bound they are to doing things their way.

As the customer, how do you feel upon hearing these types of comments? My guess is, these remarks do not exactly warm your thoughts. What we need to learn from this is that the core problem usually does not lie with the message, but rather the messenger.

Rather than projecting an attitude that says, “I will do everything within my power to see that your wishes are honored,” you are more likely to hear, “That is not our policy.” These untrained sales representatives just do not understand that it is the customer’s total purchasing experience, not just the product alone, which is most important.

All businesses must have clear policies that are fairly administered. Without them there is chaos. Just remember that when we explain these policies to the customer, it must always be with her point of view in mind. She should always sense an attitude of, “I am working for you.”

Big stores with big offers will initially attract customers, but without the right messengers they will always struggle to keep them. Use this weakness to your advantage. Make a customer-first approach one of your greatest strengths. You and your customer will both be happier for your having done so.

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Lessons learned: Avoid mixed signals when training newbies

October 29/November 5, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 10

By Tom Jennings

 

Frequent readers of this column will recognize I am constantly harping the point that there are lessons to be learned regarding the care of both customers and staff everywhere you look. Please allow me to share one with you.

While having a lazy Saturday morning breakfast at a franchise restaurant recently, I observed an assistant manager training three new hires at a nearby table. While they were all young, it made me smile looking into their bright eyes on their first day. I suspect that for a couple of them it may have been their first job ever.

They looked great in their newly issued uniforms. (Can you say the same about your employees?) When I first observed them, they were getting a large dose of corporate jargon, such as harassment policy, company history, etc. Not exactly riveting to any of us at any age, but it must be done. (You do have all of your corporate policies written in an official employee handbook, don’t you?) I was thinking to myself: No matter what these young people do later in life, working regular hours and serving the general public would provide them with so many valuable lessons to draw upon as they progress. What I didn’t realize was one of these lessons was going to come immediately.

About that time a middle-aged lady came over to the table and introduced herself as the general manager. It was a nice way to begin. Her next comment confounded me. She stated, “I have been at the restaurant for 12 years and a trainer for eight years. I know you’ll find all of the correct procedures in the manuals, but Deb and I have learned a lot of shortcuts over the years. If you want to do things faster, watch us.”

Unbelievable. It had just taken her about 30 seconds to effectively dismiss years of experience that had gone into building the corporate brand and image. These kids had been on the job about two hours, and now they are already receiving mixed signals. If they do things according to company policy, will they be scorned by immediate supervision? Or, worse, if they do things the “fast way,” will they jeopardize their opportunity to advance within the company? Worse yet, will they take the path that so many do and just proceed to disengage and care a little less? The lessons to be learned looking into those six young eyes were very real.

Then the manager put the cherry on her toxic sundae. She said, “If I call you by the wrong name, don’t be offended. I’ve seen so many trainees come through here that it’s hard to keep them all straight.”

Perfect. Now the kids have been both confused and diminished, and they haven’t served a single customer yet. You don’t suppose his lack of clear direction and sense of insecurity will be transferred in some fashion to the customers that they will be serving, do you? Of course it will. Then, when the majority of them inevitably grow frustrated and move on, management will be in a state of denial, lamenting, “They just can’t find anyone good to hire.”

We all hire new staff. Make sure both your mouth and your manuals are saying the same message. No matter what your age or experience level, beginning a new career can be both exhilarating and intimidating. Don’t make it any harder for all involved than it needs to be. Exhilarating is a lot more productive and enjoyable for all concerned. This is your responsibility. Be the lead that they need.

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Lessons learned: It’s hard to retrieve missed opportunities

October 15/22, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 9

By Tom Jennings

 

Recently while having lunch at a nice restaurant, I observed an example that everyone in management should have witnessed. At an adjoining table, a service technician for a local automobile dealership was seated with the firm’s general manager. The manager proudly told the server that his companion had won a contest for having received the highest ratings during the previous quarter for customer satisfaction. His instructions to the server were: “He is a winner—give him whatever he wants.”

The entire time I was sitting there soaking this all in, I was thinking that I was observing a boss who “gets it.” Boy, was I wrong. For the next 30 minutes, what I mostly observed was a service technician having lunch by himself.

The manager must have taken half a dozen phone calls, each with the excuse that, “I need to get this; it’s important.” In addition, he must have sent a barrage of text messages during the meal. Seemingly, the minute the employee swallowed the last bite of his meal, the manager said, “If you are done we may as well head back.” Can you believe that? This entire scenario had so many behavior flaws, I could hardly eat my lunch. I really wanted to walk over to that table and give the employee a hug.

Throughout this experience, one thing was painfully obvious to me: Clearly the boss did not want to be at this restaurant at this time with this person. He was merely fulfilling an obligation that someone else had entered on his calendar. His body language clearly said he had no real interest in learning anything about this employee on a personal level. He made no attempt to discover any common interests they may have shared. Nor did he make any mention of the exemplary behavior that earned the employee the opportunity to be acknowledged. What he basically expressed to this guy repeatedly—without actually stating it outright—was that his phone calls were more important to him than the occasion that had brought them to lunch.

To this observer, what a few minutes before had appeared to be a genuine gesture of reward had instead been exposed as merely a promotional stunt.

What this manager clearly failed to realize is that over time it is impossible for an employee to consistently treat his customers better than he is being treated by management. He may genuinely attempt to do so at first, but eventually it is certain his spirits will wane. The result will either be him giving more indifferent service or, more likely, seeking another place of employment where the attitude is more to his liking.

When this occurs, I can just hear this supervisor saying that “good help is hard to find today.” From the employees’ perspective, I think many people would be justified in making a similar statement regarding management.

Remember that the honored employee did not just desire a free steak dinner; he also felt he had won a period of undivided attention from his boss. That is really what he bragged about to his friends and family. From where I sat, I hope his lunch went down well, because the treatment I observed him receiving was really hard for me to swallow.

 

Tom Jennings is vice president of professional development for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). Jennings, a retail sales training guru, has served in various capacities within the WFCA.

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Lessons learned: Installation—The more things change…

September 17/24, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 7

By Tom Jennings

In the early 1990s, my firm was among several dealers asked to monitor all installation-related interactions with customers. We not only tracked installations, but all correspondence that we had with customers, which may have led to disappointment with the service experience they received. There were single and multiple store operations included. This group represented dealers with both employee and contract installers. These surveys were gathered over a period of several months. There was no doubt that installation-related concerns were driving us all to distraction. What we found surprising was why.

As a company, we all felt the primary cause of complaint was typically an installation team lacking the proper skills or using incorrect methods. We found this perception to be true—less than 20% of the time. Nearly five of six customer calls were triggered by some form of poor communication, unrealistic expectations, etc. While surprised, we were also pleased. We thought this would be an easier “fix” than the physical installation process. Wrong again.

Fast forward 25 years to today. It’s debatable that much has occurred to improve the actual installation skills we can expect to find among installation as a whole. While some stores have taken strides to improve their staffs at a local level, the skilled craftsmen have inevitably gotten older as their replacements continue to not be fully trained. In our customer’s eyes, it’s not the problem.

Without question, our abilities to communicate with the customer have improved in ways no one imagined a generation ago. Virtually all of our customers and installers have a phone in their pockets. Most have navigation systems to easily find the customer’s jobsite. In light of these advancements, few of our problems have been solved in the last 25 years.

Studies in both flooring and related fields seem to indicate the customer is still putting up with the same incompetence she has in the past. Ask yourself: Is your wireless company significantly easier to deal with? Are the utility companies treating us the same? If anything, what we have grown to accept as service has further deteriorated. Instead of conversing with an indifferent receptionist, we take orders from a synthesized digital voice. What’s more, there is now a new generation in the marketplace that has yet to experience care from a concerned retailer, as most of their shopping experiences have been with mass merchants or online.

While both the problems and solutions are frustratingly similar to the 1990s, one thing has clearly changed: our ability to shine when we satisfy our customer. Make the effort to widen the gap between businesses that proclaim to give outstanding service and those that actually do. Create accurate work orders for your staff. Use pre-installation checklist forms religiously. Seam and layout diagrams aren’t an option. Installers are not mind readers, yet far too often we presume they will intuitively know what the customer wants. Let there be no doubt what the customer should expect when she places her trust in your firm.

It was considered easier and faster to improve communications and attitudes 25 years ago. The same is true today. The goal hasn’t changed; the stakes have. With the proliferation of both big-box and internet sources now available, great customer service will stand out more.

Tom Jennings is vice president of professional development for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). Jennings, a retail sales training guru, has served in various capacities within the WFCA.

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Lessons learned: Why ‘infomercial RSAs’ consistently excel

September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6

By Tom Jennings

I was recently coaching a group of retail salespeople who were new to the flooring industry. While having a coffee break, the conversation shifted to infomercial salespeople. The general tone was one of amusement at the manner in which they conveyed their particular message for the product they were currently promoting.

When I inquired whether they thought this method of selling was effective, the general tone was, “It may work for them—but I couldn’t do it.” My response was if they were serious, then possibly they had chosen the wrong career path. Explaining my remarks, I reminded them of the selling basics these late-night salespeople have mastered. Let’s examine a few:

Be a believer. If you want to be believed, you must first be a believer yourself. Always remember that we buy based on emotion. Is there ever a shadow of doubt that these product pitch people believe they are selling the very best solution to the problem at hand? They are enthusiastic to a fault. Contrast this to the indifference that is so prevalent among most clerks you encounter today. When we are positive with our message, sales always increase.

Your job is to sell. Is educating the customer an important factor in a sales presentation? Absolutely. However, education is only a vehicle to help the customer make a decision. Too many salespeople see the “education of the customer” as their primary goal. It is not. Your job is to sell. Never forget to create a compelling reason for the customer to buy now. You’ll never hear a professional salesperson say, “Call me when you get a minute.” It is always “call now.” Their voice inflections and facial expressions help create a slightly urgent tone to encourage the prospect to move quickly. I’m living proof that you certainly do not have to be an “in-your-face-hard-closer” type to ask for the order. Develop your own technique. Just don’t forget to ask for the sale.

Do the demo. Infomercial salespeople never make a presentation where they fail to visibly demonstrate the superiority of their product. They don’t just tell you a product works—they show you. What do you do to demo your products and services to get the customer excited? This is crucial to your success. Without the “wow,” they won’t be buying now.

Be the difference. Let’s be realistic—most salespeople sell products and services that are nearly identical, or perceived as such, to those sold by the competition. So how do you differentiate yourself and your firm from similar competition? The answer is simple—it’s you. While products may be similar in the customer’s judgment—you cannot be. While your product may be hard to differentiate, you are not. You must stand apart and be memorable.

Successful salespeople always develop a style that works for them. Don’t try to copy their style because it won’t work. It’s critical that you be yourself to be perceived as genuine. You need to develop your own style that is comfortable for both you and your target customer. What you do want to emulate, however, are some of the techniques proven to get people off of their couches and reaching for their wallets. In today’s retail environment, this is more important to your success than ever. As they say on late night television: “Act now.”

Tom Jennings is vice president of professional development for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). Jennings, a retail sales training guru, has served in various capacities within the WFCA.