One of the things I learned to appreciate more deeply is the physical aspect in our business as it translates to what we are able to create with our designer clients.
I was in New York recently for an event and had the opportunity to speak with a couple of showroom managers whose business is actually pretty good…which you can imagine got my attention! I asked them what were the distinguishing differences that they believe contributed to the results they are achieving, and without prompting from me, their first response was identical: We stand UP!
Both of them (and their sales teams) are standing up when a designer enters the showroom. They may be on the phone or working on the computer when it happens, but they immediately get to their feet and look right at the designer and smile. If they are on the phone, they ‘mime’ their “hello, be right with you.” I asked why they thought it was so critical and what difference it made. One said that they were not seen before when the designer entered as their desk was in a ‘cubby’ – good for disguising paperwork mess, bad for greeting designers. He went on to say that when he stands up he pays closer attention to the person who walks in the door, something he never did before. And even if he just stays standing and doesn’t say anything, the designer is more apt to ask him a question…and then he’s off to Connecting and Qualifying.
The other manager said that he stands when they are a few feet into the showroom…but just a few feet. He doesn’t always look right at them right away, but they notice him when he stands. Once they get closer to his desk, he looks at them and smiles, says hello, and introduces himself if he doesn’t know them. He said that the number of quotes from new (to him) designers was significantly higher than the same time last year. But the thing that he said mattered most is that the designers spend more time in the showroom now that they used to, and they talk about their project more and the showroom has been quoting more product. For him, although his overall traffic is lower, his average sale is almost double that of last year…and he attributes it to spending more time with the designers.
When we sell a premium product we need to deliver a premium experience, and standing is a minimal level of premium experience. Try it everyday for 2 weeks and send me an email and let me know what happens. Resist the pull to be right about this (that it doesn’t work or help) and instead focus on the response from your designers. Follow their lead of what is comfortable for them, and STAND UP and let them know how happy you are to see them….because you ARE!
Until next time, keep swinging for the bleachers!