Looking at furniture in the store is one thing, but imagining what it would look like in another color, another configuration or at home in the living room is difficult to do.
65% of people are visual learners, meaning they understand things better when they have visual aides to guide and assist them. Perhaps that explains why more than 40% of furniture shoppers have trouble making up their minds when it comes to design related decisions.
Human beings are also hard-wired to being risk averse, we do not like making mistakes or losing stuff. So if you are not too sure what the sofa will look like in beige, with different armrests and how it will fit at home, you are probably not willing to take the chance and buy the sofa.
Furniture sales require good customer service
Nothing makes customers swipe credit cards more willingly than when they are confident. And everyone we have asked agree – nothing makes customers more confident than good customer service.
Good customer service is making your customers feel you have their best interest at heart. It is not the same as being able to rattle off all the items on sale or all the fabric options available. Good customer service requires you to make time for your customers. It is difficult to trust you if you seem too busy to listen.
A big challenge store associates face when tasked with providing good customer service, is that they are also tasked with hitting sales targets. It is very tempting to go for the quick sale instead of investing time and energy in closing a (possibly) larger sale. After all nothing is given, you are not guaranteed to close anything, so many think “better get a little now and then move on to the next customer”.
Spending the extra time is a good investment
Say your close rate is 20%, so you close a sale with one in every five customers that walks through the door, and say you spend an average of 15 minutes with a customer to close a sale. What if investing 30 minutes per customer would increase your close rate by 50%. Would that be worth your while?
Spend the extra time engaging with your customers and make them open up about the home decor project they are working on. You will build rapport and trust, and make it easier for them to decide to buy from you.
If, on top of that, you help them visualize what their project will look like, you will reap full value for your extra effort. You can do so by using a Room Planner as a visual aide. Giving customers the chance to see what you are talking about makes super confident customers and increases the value of the sale by A LOT – up to x3 or x4 times your average sale. Now surely that is worth spending time on!
How to introduce the Room Planner to your customer
Sometimes sales associates ask us for advice on how to bring the Room Planner into a conversation with a customer in a way that feels natural. Introducing the Room Planner the minute your customer steps through the door can make them feel like you are trying to get them to commit to something they are not prepared for. Do not pounce. That goes whether or not you have a Room Planner. Pouncing is not a good strategy. Period.
Let your customer enter the store peacefully and greet them with a smile. Nothing says you are welcome here like a genuine smile and a hello.
After a couple of minutes ask them “What brings you in today?” Avoid the usual “Can I help you?” the answer is all too likely to be NO. The customer will probably say something along the lines of “oh I’m just looking at a sofa for my living room”
If the customer seems forthcoming, ask them to tell you a bit about their living room, like how big is it, what color scheme does it have. Once the customer starts to include you in the details of the living room then say “Hang on a second, let’s draw this so we know exactly what we are talking about” bring the customer to your in-store computer or even smoother have a Room Planner available on iPad.
If the customer is not forthcoming, let them know where they can find the sofa section and ask if it is ok you check in on them in a little while. By obtaining permission to check in you will not become a nuisance because they have given you the permission themselves. This gives you the opportunity to introduce the Room Planner at that stage.
Once you get the hang of this, bringing the Room Planner in to the sale feels completely natural. Just like you used to be grabbing pen and paper to sketch a living room. No difference. Except the Room Planner makes designs look stunning – not disrespecting your artistic skills, but if they are anything like mine, the Room Planner is a definite improvement.
What if the customer leaves without buying?
Not all customers are going to buy the same time. Unfortunately. But you can increase the chances they will return to you when they are ready to buy.
If your customer cannot make a purchase decision, your challenge is to ensure they will not forget you.
First, do not let them leave the store without a printout of the design. A piece of paper is like a physical confirmation that they have made this design with you and it will psychologically tie their design – and the purchase decision – to you, and not to anyone else.
Email the design to them the next day and include a personal message. If you still do not hear from them, you can spice up the next email with a personal offer based on their design. So give them 20% off the lamps or 30% the rug that appears in the design.
The formula for increasing your close rate and stop losing sales is:
1. Provide outstanding customer service by taking the time to engage honestly with your customers.
2. Listen to them and make them open up about what they are looking for.
3. Give them real and knowledgeable advice.
4. Make everything crystal clear to them by showing them what the design will look like.
We hope you have found this advice useful. For more information about acquiring a Room Planner please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cylindo.com/software/room-planner