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Jim Green's blog

For Sales Associates #1

July 20, 2012

Some managers view retail sales associates as minor ingredients in the road to success, or worse ‘necessary evils'. Believe me...I've actually heard it said. The reality is, that at the very least they are the direct link between the company and the consumer; at the most the key element in success and growth for the company. In this series, I will identify some truths of which retail sales people should always keep sight. My hope is that managers will use these as catalysts for group discussions with their associates. I would love to hear back from readers that use this format for feedback.

NO ONE IS ‘JUST LOOKING'

How many times has each of us heard it, or said it? ‘No thanks, I'm just looking.' Years ago an old boss of mine liked to proclaim, ‘furniture stores are not museums'! I thought then that he was speaking metaphorically and saying that the furniture in the showroom was there to be sold not just looked at and appreciated for its aesthetic beauty. The larger meaning that relates to furniture sales associates is that nobody is really ‘just looking' when they say, ‘I'm just looking'; maybe not ‘nobody' but only a tiny percentage. Most folks with a few hours to kill will not spend the time in a furniture store. No...typically, people go to a furniture store for a reason. They are looking for merchandise for themselves. They may be looking for someone else. They may be there for design ideas. But they are there with a specific agenda and are definitely not just looking. It falls to the sales associate then, to discover the reason for their presence in the showroom if there is any hope for a sale. Managers might discuss various techniques and tactics to be used to uncover this vital information.