High Point Market – October 2014

For anyone who went and especially for those who didn’t.

Jobi and Jody AD party 2014

Jobi and Jody AD party 2014

A common conversation at every Market is how busy it is….questions of how busy it is on the street, in the building, in the showrooms. In the nearly 3 decades that I have been attending, traffic is less as there are fewer retailers in business and smaller entourages who attend market.

Jody and Gloria

Jody and Gloria at High Point Market

On the flip side, it appears to me that there are also more designers attending than I can remember and more product vendors who are appealing to them. I suspect that some designers have replaced some high-end retailers who are no longer with us (and I for one am very sad to see them go). And there are internet sites who share that high end substitution and of course, customers who don’t value fine quality furnishings and shop lower on the list of retailers.

What I find very cool about the emerging designer/vendor relationship are the vendors who are vying for designer business and are creating interesting product. In addition to product showrooms in the buildings, HP Market has “Pockets of Cool” like Interhall, Market Suites, Art and Antiques at Market Square where the vendors are often new or in a new location, that offers new and interesting product and presentation….and fabric! Kravet made a splash this year with fabric and furniture. And while they have had a space for years, they (not surprisingly as they are first at so many things) are filling the fabric vacancy at Market that is critical to designer attendance. Thibault wallcoverings and fabric showed, and Phillip Jeffries, the king of cool and does so much with such a tiny space. Stanley’s new uptown Crestaire collection was lovely, and the designer PR party that Gretchen Mellon Aubuchon threw was also a new direction at Market – linking a designer or two with a brand, even if they didn’t participate in its design. Opportunity abounds for those who are looking to create it! I didn’t get to Stickley, although I heard it was a great presentation this Market, as was Century – who always pleases.

There were some disappointments with some of the older, established lines – either poorly presented or confusingly presented, and I was disappointed to see such beautiful product not shown to the fullest. The good news is that overall the energy was good, creativity was flowing, and enthusiasm for the future was high…and that’s good for all of us!

Now, go sell something!

Love, love, love,

Jody

Jody Seivert 300 dpi

Practice and Repeat

For designers, sales managers and salespeople everywhere

practice

As adults, why is it so hard for us to practice something new?

It’s been my experience that as grown ups we collapse several things that actually keep us from learning:
We collapse being familiar with something to actually knowing it.
We collapse knowing something with actually doing it.
We collapse not knowing how to do something with ‘it can’t be done’.

All of these impede our ability to learn and practice something new so that it can become a habit and then become second nature.  beliefs

So, let’s get the terms and the actions distinguished and disconnected.

Familiar is a vague notion, loosely understanding a concept of something and maybe the actions that go with it. It’s just an idea and may not be an experience that we’ve had.
Knowing something requires evidence. I know how to tie my shoes because I see that they are tied and I have done it many times…which is not the same as watching someone else or listening to someone discuss it…that would be ‘familiar’.
Knowing it and doing it aren’t necessarily the same. And in the sales game, the action is what counts. I teach the DiSC behavioral model and some of the learners ‘know’ how to fill in the blanks on paper – they ‘know’ the material. But they don’t USE it, rendering the information almost useless.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, “It doesn’t matter if you know how to read if you don’t read.” While knowledge is powerful, it doesn’t beat taking action.

And lastly, if I can’t do something it only means I can’t do it. I can’t run a 4 minute mile but many people can. It can be done, but I can’t do it. So “I can’t do it therefore it can’t be done” is ludicrous. This deflecting mechanism gets in the way of being realistic about our knowledge and skill and ability to produce results and creates an illusion of our skill level…which is not a good way to improve performance.

success

There’s only one way to do that: Plan time to practice. Practice the right things. And then practice and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Don’t know where to start? I do. Let’s connect and get you and your team on track!

Practice DOES make perfect!

Now, go sell something.

Love, love, love,
Jody

Jody Seivert 300 dpi

Selling is a Conversation

For sales managers, designers, and salespeople everywhere

convo

It really is just that – it’s a conversation.

And when you think about what makes a good conversation, it’s not that someone talks a lot, it’s that they are inquisitive, thoughtful, talk about things with the other person that are meaningful to the other person as well as to themselves, possibly have new information to share that is relevant and interesting, they are looking to learn as much as to share, and they conclude the conversation with both people glad to have participated…and both people have gotten something from it.

thoughtful questionsGreat salespeople make directing the sales process look invisible. This happens by asking questions…questions of genuine interest. Questions that forward the conversation. Questions that make the other person think before answering. Questions that the person asking them might not already know the answer to. Provocative questions. Thoughtful questions.

A conversation is what a skilled salesperson brings the sales process to by knowing what they need to know from the buyer so that they can ask those questions as they naturally occur in a conversation (versus an interrogation). They are not thinking about what they need to ask next, they KNOW what they need to ask and can weave those questions into the discussion so that it is a seamless interaction. That’s how buyers don’t feel sold – they feel helped, listened to, understood. You cannot be present to another person if you are thinking about what you want to say or ask next. And if you are not present, you will miss the nuances and subtleties that are as valuable as what they are saying.

How do you get to this point? You learn what you need to know and you practice asking the questions you need to ask until they are smooth and just flow. And that will take time, even years to perfect. And it’s worth every minute. Don’t know where to start? Need to create a supportive environment in which to develop your skills? Call me. That’s what I am here for!

Now, go sell something.

Love, love, love,
Jody

Jody Seivert 300 dpi