THANKSGIVING IN AUGUST

Observations and Recommendations

For designers and showroom salespeople everywhere

It’s still August. The temperature in New England is hovering around 90 today with a lovely breeze. The mornings have been cTime-for-Actionooler, foretelling the Fall to come. NOW is the time for customers, clients, end-users to be buying furniture for the holidays … even though it seems ridiculous. We are about 15 weeks from Thanksgiving, 20 weeks from Christmas. NOW is the time to buy. 

A while back I stumbled into this product when Dennis Miller and I were discussing the hard copy version of this time line instrument.  Dennis had been ordering the 3D version of this product, with his company logo on it, to give as a gift/give away to designers (a great idea!). I investigated this product for the same reason, but when I went online, I found the app instead and fell in love…and loaded it on my iPhone immediately. (sorry, not available for androids). And I decided to share this with you along with some thoughts on how to use it effectively. Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.01.00 AM

When trade showroom salespeople quote product lead time to a designer, they often speak in vagaries….12-18 weeks, 3-4 months, etc.  And everyone nods knowingly.  The same thing happens when a retail salesperson or designer quotes timeframe to a client.  And both of the ‘sellers’ believe that their ‘buyer’ clearly understands when things will happen and when they need to happen – but they don’t.  Because what they are missing are 2 critical components: Clarity and Commitment.

Clarity looks and sounds like this: “For us to make your installation/delivery deadline of September 25  (open Lead Time Lite and spin the wheel – which is 18 weeks from today as I write this) we need to place the order by Friday, June 6, which is 2 weeks from today.”

Commitment looks and sounds like this: “What do you need to do on your end to make that date happen?” (and wait for specific response and action). 

Then, “What can I do to support you in making that happen?” (and again, wait for specific response and action). 

Finally, “Let’s put these dates and actions on our calendars now so that we can keep in touch and keep on schedule.  Thank you so much for your partnership!”

Lead Time Lite.  Check it out.  It’s simple, free and priceless.

Now go sell something!

Love,

Jody

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An “A” Doesn’t Come Easy!

Evaluating B-A-D-A-S Questions to determine outcome – A=Ability to Buy
For home furnishings showroom sales professionals and sales leaders everywhere

 

This is a tough question to ask as a qualifying question. It’s not the same as ‘check or wire transfer?’ that you would ask as a closing question.   

Budget is about expectation of what it will cost.  Ability to buy is about what they are able to spend, as in cash or creditwhat-you-can-afford worthiness.  Both questions are about the money, but this one is about what they have to spend to get what they want.

So, how do you find this out as a qualifying question? I find it’s helpful to glove it with other services: “What we do here at X Gallery is……” and then itemize your services: design services, delivery and installation services, CAD services…and include financing services or terms of payment. Then ask if they would like to learn more about any of those.

At this time of year (March/April), retail customers are anticipating tax returns which may serve to fund the majority of the purchase…so they may not be able to buy until they receive their returns.  For designer end-users, this may be the same. Or it may be about access to funds or wire transfer fees. For trade showroom salespeople, it may be to understand how the designer purchases and puts deposits down (checks from clients that need to clear the account before they can purchase or if they have an ‘escrow’ account with the client from which to write deposits). In any case, it’s up to the seller to determine how they are going to finance the purchase, as it’s one of the BADAS questions that determine whether or not a sale can happen TODAY.

Or it may be a good idea to link the Budget and the Ability to Buy questions together to talk about all aspects of the money – expectation, available assets, financing, deposit amounts and timeframes, COD amounts, shipping and installation, product protection costs….all of it.

Because they believe that the sofa is worth $7500 doesn’t mean that they HAVE that to spend on the sofa.

I would love to hear how you address this. Or how you avoid it. Or how you manage it when it comes up if you haven’t brought it up. Or anything else you would like to share about this (or any of the other BADAS questions) that have helped you to determine if the buyer can buy NOW.

 

Now, go sell something!

Love, love, love,

Jody

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“I take full responsibility…..”

For anyone who deals with anyone else

Every time I hear this I cringe. My most current personal experience with this phrase was after something that was supposed to happen didn’t happen. It’s not really an apology. There is no “I’m so sorry for the inconvenience”. There is no palpable reaction from the salesperson that tsincere apologyells me that they know they blew it. There is no understanding of what it’s like on the other side – over here where I am as the customer waiting, wondering, and wanting to take action but not feeling ‘right’ to do that – and there is no indication of them wanting to understand and asking how to make it better.

This occurs to me as a new way of avoiding responsibility rather than taking it. And unless it’s accompanied by sincere ownership and understanding of what went wrong, with some options to correct the present and create a future that is different from the present and the past, it’s better to not even speak until those happen.

For now, just start with an authentic “I’m sorry”.

Thanks for listening.

Love, love, love,
Jody

Jody Seivert 300 dpi