It’s not over ’til it’s over……

For sales/design and sales management professionals.
I had the excellent fortune to work with a new client last week in Houston: The Amish Craftsman. They have a 4000 square foot store of Amish/American made furniture in Arts and Crafts, Mission, Shaker styles and they do a wonderful job with customers, create great energy in the store, and are lovely people to be with.  We spent 2 days on sales training and when we wrapped up on the second day, there was still time to ‘practice’ and put into use what they has spent the last 16 hours learning and role playing.  So with direction and intentionality, we chose to call unsold quotes (made within the last 30 days) to reenergize them and either close them over the phone or set an appointment for them to come back in.  success-is-achieved-and-maintained-by-those-who-try-and-keep-trying
Ashley, who is fearless and adorable – a winning combination!, called 4 prospective clients with whom she had worked, sketched, selected and quoted product. They were good connections, nice size opportunities, and had already received a ‘thank you for coming in’ note from Ashley. The instruction was to DO what we practiced if the customer answered or to leave a message as we had pseudo-scripted if the customer didn’t pick up. She reached 3 and left a message for 1, who promptly called her back. In all 4 cases, none of them had purchased yet, all of them were pleasantly surprised to hear from her, welcomed her reaching out to them, and 2 of them scheduled an appointment right then to come back in within the next 2 days. The other 2 still had some thinking to do, so Ashley gave them some homework and set a time to call them back.  And the results were one of the 4 came in within 48 hours and bought….and it was a BIG sale!!
Moral of the story…neither Ashley nor the other sales associates have made it a habit to be in touch or to schedule appointments with the customers. It has been something missing from their repertoire, even though they are high producers and great customer relationship builders, and have LOTS of returning customers. The ability to control the communication and when the customer returns has been HUGE for them…and allows them to manage their time better, the customer can manage their time better, and the close comes quicker and smoother by making appointments and calling unsold quotes.
Go through your unsold quotes. What will it take to reenergize them? What is the motivating factor that will get them moving again? Pick up the phone and call them and ASK them to come back in… and schedule a time to be available that is low traffic for you and easy to arrange for them.
And then let me / us know what happens.
Don’t. Give. Up.
Now, go sell something.

From an ‘A’ to a ‘D’….Making Progress

Evaluating B-A-D-A-S Questions to determine outcome – D=Decision Maker

For home furnishings showroom sales professionals and sales leaders everywhere

This is a hotbed question! I find that salespeople and designers have a strong reaction to this question. Maybe it’s because in the past there was a gender bias attached to it…even though, in home furnishings and interiors  decision-making-mindset 80% of the decisions are made by the woman.  And that’s STILL not a good enough reason to not ask.  Maybe it’s because if it’s not asked with sensitivity, the buyer may feel disrespected (as if they don’t matter to this interaction).

We want to look at what the question is meant to determine – simply, is everyone here who needs to be here for us to make a decision NOW?

It’s not about who’s the boss, or whose opinion matters more. It’s about the seller determining if a sale can occur today, because it can only occur if all of the decision makers who need to be present are present. decision makers present

If you are a retail designer or salesperson, you would be asking this question directly to the buyer…and determining if all parties are present. You might ask if there is anyone else who needs to participate in the selection process and the clients says no. Double check by asking. “So, if we find what you are looking for today, can we go ahead with it?” and see what they say.  A spouse or best friend might miraculously appear!

If you are a trade showroom salesperson, you might ask a couple of questions: How do the clients make decisions on products and design? How do they take direction from the designer? The second question is a touchy one…as a designer you need to be real about what the client values in your opinion or direction.  How much does your client listen to you? When you tell them what they need to do, do they do it? If you are showing options to a design and have a personal preference, do they follow your direction? Just some things to consider in the decision making process. If you are a showroom salesperson, you need to understand when working with designers on projects, that different designers manage their clients differently.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if everyone is here – unless it matters  – like in a purchasing presentation, signing of contracts, legal decision making, as they are all actions that align with getting the business now.  It matters that YOU know who needs to be here and if they are here…or if you need to make an appointment to meet again in order to close the deal.

This is challenging but surely not impossible. And if you need help, you know I am always close by.

Now, go sell something!

Love, love, love….



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 Seivert 300 dpi