Sales should be the easiest part of your business

Letter blocks that spell out the word "Easy."

Customers ask me all the time if I would ever go back to retail. Interesting question. I’ve been very candid with the fact that I love the hustle, I love the camaraderie and I love watching people achieve the success they didn’t think was inside them. It was a rush for me and I do miss moving the chess pieces around the floor. I was asked again recently and before I could answer, our conversation evolved to the different departments within the organization as to what was the most important driver to overall company success.

Since I’ve always been a front-of-the-house kind of guy, I was all ready to dig in and argue the finer points of compliance on the floor. I have a canned speech I call “salesmanship, salespeople and those that lead them” teed up and ready to be hit dead solid perfect when this retailer launched in to their old chestnut of “our salespeople don’t even yada yada yada.” I stopped dead in my tracks. It’s not often I have an epiphany, but I had one…and it was fantastic.

Sales should be the easiest part of our business. Let me write that down again so I make sure I spell everything correctly.


There…I said it. Anyone agree?

I doubt it because as long as I’ve been a rep on the road, I’ve heard all the complaints of slow traffic and shoppers not buying. Wah, wah, wah. If you hear something enough times, you might start to believe it. Just the same as if you hear something enough times, you may be tempted to believe it. This isn’t 2009 anymore. At the time of this writing, the stock market is way up, the housing market is way up and there are more Teslas and Maseratis on the road than ever. People are making money and they are spending it. People are engaged in what’s going on here and abroad; our society is participating again. So, if your sales are slow and you’re upset about all the reasons your business isn’t performing, let me offer an opinion that may move your complaint from sales to operations.

I live in Southern California in a market with lots of regional powerhouses, and Bob’s just came into the marketplace. Even without the online guys everyone hates to compete against, there are a lot of doors to walk through to shop for furniture. How to compete?

If you’re not concerned with your digital footprint, get up to snuff. You need customers and the way you get your door to swing has changed a lot in the past 10 years. Before you spend any time getting people in your building, be confident in what is going to happen to your customers when they get there. I’m talking about experience, baby. Is your team coached on the experience they offer the guest when they show up? If not, that’s the five-alarm fire you need to put out ASAP.

Anyone can welcome someone into a store and introduce themselves. Anyone can ask if the customer has been to their store in the past. What’s so bad about that? What’s so bad is that that’s what that customer has heard in the other 2.8 stores they visited before yours. Same ol’ same ol’.

[Don’t Let Low-Hanging Fruit Hold Back Your Sales]

We can talk about driving customers into your building or excellent deliveries or phenomenal fashions and styles in your store. A sale can’t be closed until it’s opened properly in a friendly, creative and confident manner. A shopper won’t buy unless they feel the dopamine surge that indicates they’ve finally found what they’ve been looking for at a store they want to buy from and a salesperson they like enough to turn their credit card over to.

Want to stop worrying about sales? It’s simple. Offer inspiration with the product, the manner in which you display it and the experience that is unbeatable in your market and you will surely succeed. Oh, and make sure the bathroom is spotless.

Go get ‘em!

Jonathan Schulman

Jonathan Schulman started in his father’s Los Angeles case goods factory, working the floor during college at Shelves and Cabinets in San Diego, and then owning his own stores that he later parlayed into a few Ashley Homestore locations. For several years, Jonathan was on the road as a furniture rep for the AICO family for his first eight years, then as a multi-line rep. Jonathan is the current President of IHFRA.

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